These days most architects create commercial buildings with plants at the heart of the design to ensure the building is creating a healthy environment internally as well as externally, as plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Now that we spend more time in our homes we should question how we can create a healthier indoor space, which will not only benefit you and your family, it will help maintain the ecological balance outside.
Indoor air pollution is primarily caused by the toxins released due to the harmful chemicals used for the production of certain furniture, heating, air conditioning and even paints. Therefore selecting products that emit low emissions like ‘Low or no VOC’ (volatile organic compound) paints, use of natural fabrics and with the addition of indoor plants your home environment will be a healthier one.
Next time you are looking to buy a piece of furniture try and buy second hand furniture as the VOCs on new furniture don’t stop emitting until after a few years. Not only should you be swapping your household cleaning products for a more eco-friendly option, you should swap your chemical sprays for solid or liquid cleaning products. As sprays get into the air, which means you can breathe them in more easily and therefore more harmful.
Try and avoid synthetic fragrances in the home and paraffin wax candles made from petroleum waste instead use candles made from natural waxes such as beeswax and soy. More than one million of us have a wood-burning stove in our homes. Yet studies have suggested that using it once exposes a family to more air pollutants than standing at a traffic-clogged roundabout during rush hour! If you must have an open fire try and use smokeless fuels.
Buildings are one of the major contributors of greenhouse gases that result in climate change. Not only during its construction stage, but the amount of energy consumed for the heating, lighting and electrical activity once built.
You can reduce your energy consumption by simply keeping your heating low, even a couple of degrees lower than your usual number could save you money. If the house gets a bit too chilly for you, close your curtains to retain heat or invest in thermal curtains for winter. Also, installing a smart thermostat and/or radiator thermostats both work by only heating the rooms you are using. Changing your bulbs to LED, turn off appliances properly when not in use, wash clothes at lower temperatures are all great ways reduce your energy consumption.
There are other ways to make your home more energy efficient and reduce its carbon emissions, however these take a little more financial investment. Properly insulating your loft and any cavity walls can help keep the heat in your home and could save you hundreds of pounds each year. Investing in a new boiler may be pricey but it can make the biggest difference to your home, as heating accounts for roughly 55% of your energy bills. When investing in new kitchen appliances always choose an A+ efficiency rating as it uses roughly 40% less energy than a B rated appliance. Reduce your water consumption by installing energy efficient shower heads and taps, they work by reducing the amount of water used. They do this by mixing the water with air or lowering the flow rate of the water. Also consider installing dual flush toilet systems to reduce water consumption.
Installing double-glazed or even triple glazed windows will allow you to lower the thermostat in your home and consequently, your bills. Installing solar panels on your roof allows you to generate your own power instead of paying for it.