We asked eco-living and energy-saving experts h-earth to share their top tips for living more sustainably at home.
People worry that trying to live more sustainably means spending more and sacrificing on convenience, but on our own journey, we've found quite the opposite—with so many unexpected benefits and ‘good feels’ to boot! The more we invest in living our most sustainable lives, the more we will influence what options are out there and the easier it will become...
Recycling doesn’t work! Buying less is the number one way to remove toxic landfill from our land and oceans. This doesn’t mean going without, but fast fashion is almost never sustainable. If you can afford to invest in longer term items that's great and will effectively decrease your carbon footprint, but upcycling where possible will also make a huge difference.This is one of the reasons we love Asquith's eco-friendly activewear. Made in small batches, made from plants and made to last. Although they are celebrating their 20th birthday this year, they are the future of fashion.
Let retailers know you value sustainability. Bring containers to local shops and your coffee place; buy loose produce and champion places that offer this--even fresh fish can go from counter into a reusable silicone bag. Purchase from brands that have minimal or eco-friendly packaging.
Get rid of digital clutter: stored emails and unwanted photos raise your carbon footprint by a surprising amount. In a year, an average person in the developed world adds 136kg of CO2 to their carbon footprint from the emails they send and receive. This is equivalent to an extra 320km driven in a car.
A wonderful world of great products multi-task on the environmental front. From walnut-husk dish scrubbers to dissolvable sheets of laundry soap, reusable cotton swabs and glass-bottle milk delivery, you’ll often reduce environmental pollutants, toxins in your home and your body and at the same time you’ll be quids-in because they are longer lasting. Top tip: make a list of all plastic-based or packaged products and as you run out, replace with something more sustainable--be willing to experiment to find your fave saves.
Our homes are responsible for 25% of the UK’s carbon footprint. Here are some things you can do at home to make a difference.
Replace all your light bulbs with LED: they come in every colour warm to cool, and every type of bulb shape. Top brands last 20 years and pay back in a year or so— have a look online for the best selection for you.
Replacing nearly-new appliances is not eco (the carbon used to make it and transport it should be counted too) but there are some to consider. Fridges use the most energy of any appliance. Dryers are energy-hungry too. More expensive eco-models (look for A+ ratings) can both save around fifteen hundred pounds over their lifetime including initial purchase over cheaper models (but dry clothes outside if possible!). Gas stoves are a major contributor to childhood asthma and use dirty fuel; induction stoves cool down instantly, boil water faster, are extremely energy efficient and take seconds to clean.
We’re just getting out of heating season, but now is a great time to get into good habits. Can you lower your temperature setting by 1 degree C? Or stop heating an hour or so earlier in the evening—you may not notice the change. Most people set heating to all-day on weekends but don’t always need to—you can over-ride the setting in any case if you have a smart meter or programmer, and save up to 20% off your bill with small changes.
Before you consider “big spends” on wall insulation and double-glazing, top up loft insulation if it is 15 cm or less (25 cm-27.5 cm is ideal) including your loft hatch. Draught-proof windows and doors (we suggest to do this professionally). Our studies show that these two cheap and simple fixes provide outsized benefits at a tiny fraction of the cost of bigger upgrades.
If you have the budget to go further, now is the time—VAT-free home energy measures, some grants and higher bills all point the way, but get expert advice. Each home is unique and what works really well for one won’t necessarily benefit another. Check Trustmark for a recommended Retrofit Coordinator to give unbiased advice and ensure you don’t spend more than you need to.
H-Earth is a small, London based, group of domestic energy experts with over 20 years experience working within sustainability. Offering retrofit advice, assessments and coordination. Creating cost-effective, step-by-step retrofit plans tailored to and around the life and home investment goals of our customers.