In a global survey published on March 31 this year by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 67 percent of respondents identified climate change and loss of biodiversity as the most urgent problems in the next ten years. Respondents expressed concern over the increase in natural disasters, extreme weather, adverse effects on oceans, decreasing biodiversity, and risks of conflict and violence over shrinking natural resources. They recommended investing in eco-friendly solutions, educating people on sustainability, developing trust in science, and fostering international cooperation.
Every household around the world can do its share to help save the planet. There are innovations in technology designed to lower the carbon footprint of homes and families.
Building a Green House
If you are constructing or renovating a home, you must choose to build an environmentally friendly structure using sustainable and non-toxic materials and processes. Scaling down the size of your house will also proportionally lower all costs related to it, including energy costs and carbon footprint.
It is best to use natural materials available near the construction site to lower the energy footprint of transporting these. Alternatively, you can avail of prefabricated homes that are ecologically friendly. Even if transported from afar, they make up for it by being quickly assembled, using fewer resources.
Because of the frequency of natural disasters, the building must be durable and resilient to avoid the waste of resources when having to rebuild. There are new prefabricated homes that are fire-resistant and can survive strong winds.
The home must be energy-efficient, with a design that takes advantage of natural light to reduce the need for lighting during the day. Cross ventilation, sunshades, wing walls, super-insulation for walls, and energy-efficient doors and windows will keep out the cold in winter and keep out the heat in summer, reducing the use of heating equipment and air conditioners. Solar panels or tiles on the roof and other areas of the house paired with solar batteries can lower consumption from the energy grid and ensure available power for the household during outages.
Recycle rainwater and condensation by setting up a catchment system. Connect this to a separate water supply for flushing the toilet, watering the garden, and cleaning the driveway.
In a smaller house, having multi-use furniture and equipment cuts down on the use of resources. You can have a bed that turns into a sofa with storage underneath. Your working desk can fold out into a dining table. You do not need a separate television set if your computer monitor can also function as a smart TV. There are table lamps that double as Wi-Fi speakers. An energy-efficient multicooker does almost all types of cooking you will need, such as frying, stewing, steaming, boiling, baking, and slow cooking.
When buying appliances, choose those that use the least energy. Whenever possible, replace gas-powered equipment and appliances with electric-powered ones to be able to use solar power. Use solar-powered outdoor lights that automatically turn on when it starts to get dark at night.
Use motion-sensitive indoor lights that automatically turn off when there is no one in the room. Use surge-protected power outlets with an app that monitors the power consumption of each appliance and that can shut down those that are using too much power while in standby mode. Install a smart thermostat that you can program to automatically adjust the temperature in your home.
Use low-flow toilets and water-saving faucets and showerheads. Replace your lawn and ornamental garden with a vegetable, fruit, and herb garden so that water used on it produces food for the table.
As soon as you can afford it, replace your diesel or petrol car with an electric or hybrid car. In the meantime, use a bicycle when you can or walk if you are not going far. When it is safe to do so, use public transportation for long distances.
If you have a pet at home, choose beds, collars, leashes, toys, and poop bags or litter made from recycled and non-toxic biodegradable materials. Pet cleaning products must also be non-toxic and biodegradable.
If you lose your pet, consider an aquamation service that produces no emissions, harmful gasses, or mercury and saves 90 percent of energy compared to cremation. Instead of flames, it uses water and alkaline hydrolysis. You will still receive your pet’s ashes that you can keep in an urn to cherish.
In addition to technological innovations, there are many simple ways you and your family can live green every day. Live by the words reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Reduce your consumption to decrease the impact on the planet’s limited resources. Eliminate all single-use plastics from your lifestyle. Reuse whatever you have. Switch to household items that last a lifetime. Recycle what you need to dispose of. If you cannot do the recycling yourself, bring the items to a recycling center.
By making your home life more eco-friendly, you are contributing to a more sustainable and safer future for your children and the next generations. This is a legacy that is much more valuable than any inheritance you can leave them.