Every little step makes a big difference when it comes to living sustainably on our planet. Biking to work reduces carbon emissions, recycling keeps our landfills from growing and reusing rainwater keeps your garden green while saving you more than a few cents. Your carbon footprint — or your impact on the environment — measures the greenhouse gases that you are responsible for emitting. Whether your footprint is gorilla-sized or somewhat daintier, turning your home into a paragon of eco-friendly living can be somewhat of a puzzle. Do you splurge on solar panels or retrofit your old drafty cottage? Deciding where to begin is often hard but here are a few tips from homify to kickstart your journey.
From tiny backyard bungalows to Lego-like container homes, the small home movement seeks to counter the urge to live in unnecessarily large homes. It takes less energy to build a small home, heating and cooling costs are lower and it is thus cheaper to run. Modular homes are one example of tiny, eco-friendly living spaces. This quaint home built by the Wee House Company not only exceeds UK regulatory standards for energy efficiency but is perfectly priced for the first-time home buyer. Check out this container home project in France.
If you have the means to design and build your own home, think “passive house.” The term passive house (Passivhaus in German) refers to a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, in order to shrink its ecological footprint. Set amongst ancient oaks in Nuremberg Erlenstegen, this Bauhaus-style villa has a photovoltaic system that produces more energy than is consumed.
This Scottish house also adheres to
Passihaus design principals and uses solar as well as biomass energy to keep the cold out. A solar switch diverts extra electricity to heat a 500 litre water store. The pellet stove provides any additional heat that may be required in winter. Tyvek reflective membranes help keep heat in the building. Having a home that's energy efficient goes a long way towards shrinking your carbon footprint.
Thinking about a green home
Green roofs are not just pretty places for pollinators to frolic but actually contribute to reducing carbon in our atmosphere. According to a U.S. study, if a city the size of Detroit, Michigan, with around a million inhabitants, were to switch to green roofs, it would remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as taking 10,000 mid-sized SUVs and trucks off the road for a year. Instead of planting your whole roof, why not start small by greening the roof of your garage or bike shed like the picture below?
Reducing your impact on the environment means recycling and reusing. You can start by installing a rain barrel to harvest water for your veggie patch or get creative indoors. Turn pallets into rustic armchairs or find a carpenter to build you a storage unit out of recycled, reclaimed and saved timber, just like the one below by Sustainable Kitchens.
Shopping close to home is not only good for your local economy but gentle on the environment. Visit farmer's markets and store who support local artists and artisans when you are planning your next decorating projects. You'll come away with a few unique items to grace your home and the comfort of knowing they haven't traveled miles to reach you.