Climate change is an issue that is becoming increasingly well known. It is discussed excessively at global, national, state and local levels as well as peer to peer. The general public are realising the effect that 'we' are having on our environment and are starting to take action to minimalise our impact on a day to day level. Whilst world leaders are meeting with each other planning changes on a large scale, we at home can do our part in assisting this effort ensuring that generations to come can live comfortably.
The three main areas in the home that we can look at are water, waste and energy. By understanding and implementing the small changes that can be made within each of these sources you can feel proud that you are making a difference.
Water is unique in that it can be used over and over again. Unfortunately in Australia only 1% of water is reused. Here are some tips for reducing and reusing water in your home:
Select water efficient appliances and fittings for the bathroom, laundry, kitchen and garden.
Install rainwater tanks next to your house or garage to collect roof run-off for use in your garden, toilet, laundry (check with your local council about regulations).
Wash your car on the lawn using buckets.
Use drip or soaker hoses on your garden instead of sprinklers and never water in the middle of the day. You need double the amount of water for the same result.
Governments throughout Australia are encouraging communities to go green. Give your local council a call and ask about financial offers or rebates that may apply for converting to a more environmentally friendly appliance or system.
New water and energy efficient dishwashers actually use less water than doing the dishes yourself.
Install a water efficient showerhead with an approved water rating. By having these in place you can save around 1,000 litres of water per week.
Install a dual flush toilet. Most modern toilets have this feature now. You will be saving half the amount of water you flush away.
Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off (no more than 4 minutes).
Most people are good with cleaning their teeth and turn the water off when brushing. This is important as a running tap wastes approximately 16 litres of water per minute.
Invest in a front loading washing machine with an AAA rating.
Try and only wash your clothes when you have a full load ready using cold water.
Connect a hose to your washing machine that can pump the water out to your garden.
Find and fix all leaking taps and toilets.
Waste, just like water can be used more than once. So before you throw anything away, think twice about what else could be done with it. The following are some general tips for better utilising waste products:
Recycle. Most councils provide bins for the recycling of plastic (bottles with symbol 1, 2, 3 or R), glass, paper and green waste.
Compost food scraps and green waste in a compost bin or worm farm.
Contact your local council about what you can do with green materials. Some councils offer to take them away for you.
Use both sides of paper for writing and printing.
Use where possible recycled paper.
Use food storage containers with lids instead of using foil or plastic wrap.
Recycle mobile phones, batteries, ink cartridges. Check out www.recyclingnearyou.com.au to find out what else you can recycle.
Conserving energy is not only great for the environment but it's also great for you. By reducing the amount of energy you use around the home you will see substantial changes to your bills. Here are some handy tips:
Sign up to buy green power from your electricity company.
Buy energy efficient whitegoods.
Install insulation in your home. It will require you to use less heating and cooling appliances in the colder and hotter months.
Install energy efficient light bulbs.
If you have a heater or air conditioning turned on, close all blinds and curtains to keep the heat/cool air in the room.
If it is cold resort first to warmer clothing rather than going straight to the switch.
Turn off all appliances that aren't being used.
Install solar panels to power some or all of your electricity needs.
Install skylights in the ceiling to reduce the amount of artificial light.
Use public transport as much as possible. If you need to get some milk from the corner store why not leave the car at home and either walk or ride a bike.
Here are a few other ways in which you can be more environmentally conscious:
Buy local products
Buy organic food
Take your own grocery bag to the supermarket
Plant native flowers and shrubs
Use biodegradable nappies
Reuse wrapping paper and packaging
Send digital cards