Creating sustainable homes is much easier said than done, but don’t worry there are a lot of easy ways to make your home more sustainable. Every homeowner must aspire for a life of sustainability, saving the environment not just for now but also for future generations as well. Good thing, BRIA Homes tirelessly promotes sustainable lifestyles in each of its numerous communities nationwide. For instance, BRIA Homes’ robust presence in Mindanao, a region known for its bountiful natural resources, has pushed homeowners to foster environmental awareness at all times.
They said that the younger generations are becoming more aware and more proactive in addressing global environmental issues. Well, it is true as it was found in a study that Generation Z and Millennials are the generations who are most likely to buy things based on values and principles such as personal, social, and environmental. The younger generations are emerging as the sustainability generations because of their willingness to change their behaviors in order to become more healthy and sustainable in their everyday life. And that behavior starts at home.
What is Sustainability and Why is it Important?
Before we delve deeper into the different ways to make your home more sustainable, let us discuss first what is sustainability. Sustainability simply means meeting our own needs with consideration in mind and without compromising the needs of the future generations to come. It pushes people to think of other ways how to do daily things in a safer way and continuously over time. Sustainability improves not only the quality of our lives but also protects our ecosystem and preserves natural resources for future generations yet unborn. As a society, we can all progress while caring for the environment. Let’s not be selfish and reckless in living our present lives so as to not deprive the future generation of the safe and beautiful environment that we are currently living. As of today, sadly, our way of living is unsustainable. Hence, it is everyone’s duty to find out how to sustain a way of living that is not detrimental to the environment over an undetermined period of time.
We only have one planet with its beautiful gifts of wonders but the problem is that we are abusing it as if there are two, three, or five Earths instead of just one. It was reported that July 29, 2021, was the day on which humanity has consumed all the resources the planet is capable of producing in a year, or what is known as Earth Overshoot Day. When we generate more waste and emissions, it results in the rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, increases in global warming, and greater exposure to the worst effects of climate change. After all, the environment is an exhaustible resource. Therefore, it is important to use the environment and its resources mindfully and rationally and protect it for the good of the Earth, our environment, humanity, & all living things. We must act now before it’s too late.
Ways to Make Your Home More Sustainable
The good news is, that almost everyone is becoming more aware of how to contribute to sustaining the resources left on Earth. Hence, sustainability has emerged to be one of the more important considerations for consumers when buying goods and as a consequence, a lot of people are starting to shift towards not only supporting sustainable brands and goods but also living more sustainable lifestyles.
As to homeowners, this may mean creating a more sustainable home. Whether starting to build a home from scratch, upgrading an existing home, or just simply looking for some quick solutions, homeowners have a wide variety of opportunities to make their homes more sustainable and environmentally friendly, gaining lower costs in the long run as well. Further, sustainable homes use low-impact yet high-performance materials. They’re efficient in terms of manufacturing, and installation. Since high-quality materials break less and last longer, they waste less. A sustainable home is an efficient home that is built to conserve resources, optimize energy and water use, and that will last longer using high-quality materials. The simplest way to have a positive impact on the environment is by making your home more energy and water-efficient. In creating sustainable homes, you must consider every detail of your building materials and methods, decorating choices, heat, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, home appliances, use of smart systems, and most importantly your habits when it comes to conservation, regular maintenance, and green cleaning.
Below are some of the top ways to make your home more sustainable, no matter what stage of the process your home is in.
1. Utilize energy-efficient solutions
Create sustainable homes by utilizing renewable energy or energy-efficient solutions first through home appliances.
- Shift to energy-efficient light bulbs
Energy-efficient light bulbs have been existing for a good number of years already, however, it’s only in the last few years that more people have really started to become more aware of their effectiveness and how they can save money around the home.
Take advantage of the innovations in technology. At present, one of the fastest developing lighting technologies available in the market is the light-emitting diode or commonly known as LED. A little bit more pricey but guaranteed that will save your money in the long run, as they are considered the most efficient lights on the market. You don’t need to replace your light bulbs as regular, old-fashioned light bulbs did. Further, LED lights can bring up to 40 percent savings in energy costs. A combination of photocells or light sensors with passive design features like daylighting help reduces energy use.
- Utilize the Sun
It is a well-known fact and for a good reason, that solar energy is one of the most popular forms of renewable energy. Solar panels are easy to install and provide significant long-term savings on energy. Although, it can be a bit pricey if you have a budget you must definitely go for it. The estimated cost of a solar panel system in the Philippines would be around ₱80,000 and will be enough for a small home that consumes 224kWh of electricity per month. More so, the cost of solar has dropped significantly by 89% in the last 10 years and they are continuously going down for more people to afford it and get started with solar.
- Invest in eco-friendly appliances
Aside from installing a solar panel, investing in eco-friendly, energy-efficient appliances could really make a huge difference in your energy consumption, since appliances are considered the top energy consumers at home. Shifting to a more eco-friendly appliance could contribute to a sustainable home and provide energy savings in the process. Starting with appliances that use the most energy like refrigerators, dishwashers, and laundry machines can make a significant difference.
Modern air conditioning unit now includes inverter types that consume less energy. Though it’s more expensive than non-inverter types, nevertheless, its cost-saving measures are really effective. Furthermore, appliances in the market have now what they call ‘energy guide labels.’ Through these labels, you can compare the efficiency or the energy use of different brands and similar models of energy-efficient appliances.
2. Create a Sustainable Home thru Building or Retrofitting
Those who are just building their dream home from scratch or in the process of renovating an existing home, have the widest opportunities to create a sustainable home. There are a lot of ways to incorporate sustainability into the foundation of the home from the ground up.
- Utilize recycled building materials
There are many available options if you want to use recycled building materials. When building sustainable homes, you can consider using materials such as recycled glass, reclaimed wood or brick, and the like. You could also opt for locally sourced, recyclable building materials that can alleviate the environmental burden. Recycled building materials offer solutions that can reduce the environmental impact which was created by traditional building materials.
You can control your waste in construction if you will work it out from the very beginning of the project. You can do this by communicating to the architect and contractor that you want to reduce waste in the construction. For instance, your architect can prevent waste by designing dimensions of building components precisely and strictly to limit any waste, such as in reinforcing bars, roofing materials, ceiling panels, and other components. If the measurements will not be followed, it could result in excessive waste of materials.
Further, just a pro-tip when decorating, opt for water-based paints that contain natural pigments, as most paints used at home are oil-based and not as eco-friendly as they purport to be. Plus water-based paints offer a nicer odor and color, which are more aesthetically pleasing.
- Installation of living walls or a living roof
Incorporating living elements into the design is one of the most aesthetically pleasing ways to create sustainable homes. A living roof or wall, or what is commonly known as a green roof/wall, incorporates a water-retention layer on walls, as a unique feature that allows for plants like grasses to grow on the surface. When the plants grow thick, they will act as natural insulators for the home, making your walls or roofs energy-efficient and eco-friendly, plus they are stunning to look at.
- Buy recycled furniture
There are a lot of thrift shops for furniture in the Philippines. You don’t have to buy always from big brand furniture stores just to buy the latest or generally just to be in! Besides, if you don’t want to buy recycled furniture, you could always opt to buy from any locally sourced furniture shop, thereby reducing the cost of importing costs from big brand stores and thus helping our own products to boost. Plus transportation will be cut down, which will eventually help to reduce emissions, and you’ll be supporting your local community also, so it’s a win-win.
3. Creating Sustainable Homes through Your Everyday Choices
Joining the movement for sustainability, need not always involve grand gestures or drastic changes overnight. Sometimes it’s the little things, utilizing whatever you can at your own disposal is the best way how you can contribute to this change. By starting in your own comfort zone, there are plenty of ways to make your home more sustainable. While sweeping changes can have major impacts, creating a sustainable home involves little things as well.
- Plant a garden
Of course, if you want to make a positive change in the environment, start in your own backyard. A garden does not only benefit the environment, but it can also benefit your personal health as well. By doing this, you are practicing sustainable food production, where you can just grow and pick your fresh fruits or vegetables in your own backyard. Plus without noticing it, you are also practicing healthy eating habits! So bringing out that plantito/plantita side of yours could really benefit not only your mental health but as well as the environment.
Vertical gardens or green roofs could also be done just as has been mentioned earlier in this article. Green roofs act as natural heat insulation when the plants naturally climb up. Also, they could be used for healthy urban farming, so aside from cooling the house and beautifying the landscape, you can have a fresh farm-to-table setup for your healthy eating habits.
- Compost your food waste
Now that you have your own garden, you could also incorporate a new habit of composting your food waste and kitchen scraps. You can buy a compost bin at any home/DIY store and some of them offer to place it in their kitchens free of charge. A good sustainable solution for homes is the integration of a compost bin. Some benefits of composting are it reduces waste, improves soil health, and conserves water. It is a very simple practice that anyone can achieve. By simply gathering your leftover into the compost and leaving them there, over time it will then turn into useful compost that can be used for your garden.
Incorporate also a recycle bin at your home, thus, making you more conscious about recycling glass bottles, jars, paper, and other items that should be recycled.