9 Facets That Determine Whether Your Home Is Eco-Friendly or Not

House with lots of plants outside - 9 ways to measure the health of your home

In this day and age, as the health of our planet becomes a growing concern, we need to open our eyes to the things around us and question whether they’re healthy or not. To keep our bodies healthy, many of us strive to consume healthy food and drinks. Similarly, to keep the Earth healthy, we must strive to engage in eco-friendly ways of living life.

For each of us, this should start in the place where we spend most of our time: the home. If you’re not sure if your home is healthy—according to the principles of “green” living—here are nine attributes you can examine in order to determine whether it’s really eco-friendly or not.

Energy efficiency

“How energy efficient is my home?” This is the first question you should ask yourself when you’re assessing whether you have a healthy home or not.

To maximize energy efficiency, you should be using lighting fixtures and bulbs that are known for making use of less energy than the alternatives. For example, compact fluorescent bulbs use less electricity than regular incandescent bulbs, and they also last longer. By opting to use these, you’ll not only be working towards a healthy environment, but you’ll also be saving on your electricity costs.

Air quality

Improving the air quality of your home is another way to make it more healthy. Healthy air inside the home will not only improve your breathing, but also go a long way towards making your dwelling a “green home.”

So how can you achieve this? Start by using paint that doesn’t contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are made up of a large number of harmful chemicals that are present in the paint. Their particles get released into the air, irritating the mucous membranes and skin of the people who are exposed to them, and they can cause serious health problems.

Not only are VOCs bad for your health, but they’re bad for the environment, too, since they’re able to make the air we breathe toxic. It’s important that you choose VOC-free paints for your home in order to keep its air free of toxic chemicals.

Furniture can also release pollutants into the air of your home. Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) is present in most of the mass-produced furniture that we have in our homes. MDF uses urea formaldehyde in the resin, which is a human carcinogen that evaporates into the air and has been known to cause serious health problems like nasal cancer and leukemia. Therefore, you should aim to purchase furniture that’s free of MDF whenever possible.

Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that’s sometimes present in soil and can easily enter your home through various cracks in the foundation. It’s not only an air pollutant, but also a widespread cause of lung cancer. If you haven’t already, it’s a great idea to get your home checked for radon so you can make sure you’re safe from its dangerous effects.

Plants (indoors and out!)

The number of plants you have inside your home and surrounding it is also a major determinant of the home’s health. Indoor plants, in particular, are extremely important when it comes to enhancing the air quality.

Plants work as natural air filters, absorbing many air pollutants and releasing oxygen, which is imperative to human life. For that reason, you should try to seed as many plants as you can around the exterior of your home and invest in small indoor plants for the interior.

Cigarette smoke

If you want to keep indoor air pollution in check, then it’s also important to ban smoking from your home. As many of us know, cigarettes contain lots of toxic chemicals that are harmful to humans. These chemicals stay in the air long after a person has finished smoking, and are breathed in by everyone in the house.

It’s best to veto smoking in your house altogether, instead of limiting it to a designated area, so that even secondhand smoke doesn’t end up polluting your indoor air.

Sunshine

Sunshine coming into home through curtains - 9 ways to determine whether your home is eco-friendly or not

The cheapest and most natural way of warming or heating a house is letting the sunshine inside. This natural source of light and heat is right outside your doors and windows all day, but most people choose to use indoor forms of heating to keep their homes warm. This not only adds to a homeowner’s electricity bill, but also consumes a lot of energy.

Why consume electricity when there’s a natural source of warmth—which also helps kill bacteria and can generate a feeling of refreshment throughout the home—available outside?

Waste management

How you manage your waste is another factor that will determine whether you have a green and healthy home, or if you need to make some improvements.

For healthy waste management, you should start by separating your waste into dry waste and kitchen waste, so that each of these types can be prepared for recycling. You can use your kitchen waste to make compost, which you’ll be able to use as fertilizer for your plants. The dry waste can either be reused or added to the appropriate bin for recycling.

Appliances

To conserve energy, try to use your appliances only when they’re needed. For example, don’t leave the lights on in rooms that are unoccupied. Each time you leave a room, you should switch off the lights, and consider this a general rule for your home.

When it comes to hot water usage, replacing your standard water heater with a solar water heater will be helpful, if you’re able to do so. There are eco-friendly and solar-powered substitutes for many appliances that are commonly used today, so you should try to obtain as many of these as possible.

Another important thing to consider when using appliances is the practice of setting their temperatures correctly. There’s no point in making heating and cooling appliances work harder than is necessary, so you should always set each appliance’s temperature at a point at which it won’t be consuming extra energy.

Water usage

Water is an important natural resource that’s currently at risk of depletion. Consequently, when using water in your home, you must ensure that you’re using it wisely instead of wasting it. You should also use biodegradable soaps, as this will enable you to reuse the water that’s been used for washing utensils, hands and clothes to water your garden and plants.

Also, it’s best to water your plants early in the morning or late in the evening, because the water won’t evaporate as quickly as it would in the middle of the day, so your lawn will be able to make the most of the drink that you’ve given it.

The earth is in desperate need of sensitivity

Environmentally friendly living should always start right at home. This will not only benefit the environment, but it’ll also benefit your health. If your home is healthy to live in, there’s a good chance that you’ll be healthy, and so will planet Earth.

How much the Earth is in desperate need of sensitivity can’t be emphasized enough, so with every action you take, it’s a fantastic idea to explore whether it can be done in a more environmentally friendly way.

Find out more about eco-friendly homes by reading 3 Eco-Friendly Materials For The Exterior Of Your Home»

Martin Freeman is the Co-founder and Managing Director of PropertECO, a company that offers a wide range of services that focus on making buildings stable, environmentally friendly and compliant with safety standards.

image 1: Pixabay; image 2: Pixabay

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