The September 2019 bushfires in Australia have sparked a huge increase in global debates about climate change. Scientific concerns around rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and the fact that Australia’s temperature continues to increase (we set two new temperature records this year) are making us all think; what am I doing to fight against climate change?
You can help the environment by making small adjustments every day, and you can rethink how you give your home a makeover. Professional architects and interior designers are becoming aware of their effects on the earth, with the overall industry contributing to 36% of global energy use and 39% of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
When you’re giving your house a makeover, how can you be eco-conscious as well as stylish?
1. Be part of the sharing economy
The modern economy sees us sharing things with complete strangers - from our houses to our cars to our furniture. While it makes sense to buy primary items for your home from well-respected, trusted brands that guarantee lasting quality, you can pick up some pieces from online marketplaces and get crafty.
The most sustainable homes mix the old with the new, so head online and learn how to upcycle and recycle some bits you find. It could be as simple as sourcing a preloved chest of drawers, and giving them vintage-style handles and a lick of paint for a new retro aesthetic.
2. Use natural decorations
It’s estimated that adding just one plant to your living space could improve the air quality by 25%. Not only are they good for us and the atmosphere, but plants look beautiful around the home, helping us to feel more positive and relaxed.
Grow your own with a greenhouse, or pick up fallen branches, stones or pebbles to accent your home. Just make sure you’re legally allowed to take them, first!
3. Make your home more energy-efficient
You can save money on bills and reduce your carbon footprint by boosting your home’s energy efficiency when renovating. In Australia, north-facing windows give us maximum access to natural lighting, meaning you won’t need to switch on your artificial lights as often.
Opt for sustainable insulation in the walls to reduce artificial heating and cooling, and choose sensor-light systems which only activate when you’re in the room - especially if some members of your family tend to forget to switch off the light!
4. Choose furniture made from natural materials
Luckily for us, natural wood such as oak and timber creates timeless pieces of furniture and is especially on-trend at the moment. Look for sustainable wood to ensure you’re sitting and eating on something more eco-friendly, and if your furniture isn’t exactly good for the environment, sell it onto a new home instead of throwing it out or sending it to a landfill.
5. Avoid volatile organic compounds
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in household products, such as cleaning supplies, air freshener, paint and carpet. They can emit extra chemicals into your interior environment and have even been linked to some health issues, such as headaches and throat irritation.
When painting, look for water-based paint or tins that read “low VOC” or something similar. The same goes for other products or furniture used in the home.