A greener home
There’s more to being a green superhero than buying a few light bulbs and a water-efficient shower head – although that helps. Here are 10 simple ways to reduce your household’s effect on the environment, reduce your waste and energy emissions, as well as saving yourself some money.
1. Bright spark
Install energy-efficient fluorescent light globes in all rooms. You will save $50 on each one over the life of the globe. Of course you’ll save even more power and money by switching appliances off (not on standby) and not leaving lights on when you don’t need them.
2. Shower power
There are several ways to achieve water savings, especially in the shower: install a water-saving shower head; catch the cold water at the beginning of the shower in a bucket to water your plants; and choose a “shower song” of no more than three minutes.
3. Green power
Switch your energy supplier to one that uses renewable resources such as solar and wind power to generate electricity instead of fossil fuels such as coal. But, programs vary in their efficiency, so check them out at www.greenelectricitywatch.org.au.
4. Green clean
Remove toxins from your home by using simple soap (in liquid, flake, powder or bar form) and bicarbonate of soda to clean, scour and deodorise instead of a myriad of ammonia-based products. Vinegar is excellent for cutting through kitchen grease and bathroom mould; and use phosphate-free detergents for laundry.
5. Garden friendly
Circumvent strict garden watering rules with a garden irrigation system that uses grey water from your washing machine and bathroom. You can also find gravity-fed solutions for small and large gardens that are simple, odour-free and environmentally friendly.
6. Computer energy
Screen savers do not save energy, so use screen sleep and hard-drive sleep modes to reduce energy consumption and protect your screen.
7. Shop smart
Avoid unnecessary waste by purchasing fresh produce where possible and saying “no” to over-packaged goods. Try to make sure most packaging is recyclable.
8. Go solar
Reduce your energy bills further by installing solar panels. Solar provider Solahart says you can reduce your water heating energy consumption by 50-90 percent and this could qualify you for government rebates.
9. Pet protection
Many councils have a 24-hour confinement policy for domestic cats to protect the local native fauna. Install a protective barrier to keep your moggy out of trouble such as the Cat Flash-In. This is an angled metal guard installed on top of your fencing to prevent your cat escaping.
10. Recycle, recycle
The message is still here after all these years. But remember to put the right thing in the right bin, and not everything can be recycled – such as drinking glasses.
Some websites to investigate for ideas: www.greenelectricitywatch.org.au, www.acfonline.org.au, www.goodenvironmentalchoice.org.au, www.catflashin.com.au, and www.solahart.com.au.