10 tips to make your home more sustainable
As many environmental activists say: there is no such thing as planet B. The human footprint on the environment is having undesirable consequences. The planet, as we understand it, is at the gates of the ICU. It is necessary and almost obligatory to consider a change of habits in order to achieve a more favourable environment.
Certainly, global action is needed. Emission reduction regulations have already been drafted for large industries and there is a clear commitment to recycling. Governments are already taking action to reduce emissions in the coming years.
In the same way, on a personal level, each one of us can contribute to caring for the planet. At Molins we also work to achieve sustainable architecture and interior design. This is the concept on which we like to focus our projects.
With this post we want to offer you 10 tips to make your home more sustainable. These are actions and interventions that always bring benefits to the inhabitants of the house and the environment.
A sustainable house is a complete home
Before going through these tips for a sustainable house, we would like to take a look at the concept. A sustainable house is a home that takes advantage of the natural conditions of its location to considerably reduce energy needs.
That is to say, first of all, we must always take advantage of what the environment offers us. We are talking about the orientation of the property, the hours of sunlight it receives or the type of natural ventilation it can have.
This passive bioclimatism can be complemented with active bioclimatism. This means opting for systems that can further increase the energy efficiency of the building.
By combining these two factors it is possible to achieve sustainable and ecological houses that respect the environment and reduce the carbon footprint.
1. Orientation of the house
The first tip is to apply common sense. The best orientation for the main façade of a building is south or south-west. That way, it receives the sun’s rays for a large part of the day. That means more natural light and more natural warmth. Afterwards, there are always ways to enhance this luminosity in the interior of the house.
In the same way, it is necessary to locate rooms such as offices or study areas in this orientation. Lighting is always necessary in these rooms and, if they receive natural light, energy consumption will be much lower.
2. Heating and air-conditioning systems
Having a good heating and air conditioning system is essential for a sustainable home. It is essential that it is efficient, that it adapts to the needs of the moment and that it optimises energy.
For this, the best option for a sustainable house is renewable energies. If possible, at Molins we recommend installing solar panels on the roof of the building. Solar energy is clean and although the panels involve an initial cost, they pay for themselves in 7 years. In addition, it is very common for the administration to grant aid and subsidies for their installation. Solar energy provides heating and hot water at a minimum cost.
In the last few years, geothermal energy has also become a clear favourite. This takes advantage of the heat produced by the planet to create pumps that distribute the heat throughout the house. Biomass boilers that use natural fuels such as pellets are also common.
3. Saving water in a sustainable house
Water is basic to human life. Unfortunately, episodes of drought are becoming more and more common, which is why it is necessary to save water in the home.
Some kind of tank can be installed in the home to collect rainwater. This water can be used for watering or for tasks where it is not necessary to make it drinkable, for example when using the washing machine.
On the other hand, it is advisable to install aerators on taps and dual flush cisterns. Also, whenever possible, it is advisable to use the water from the sink to flush the toilet. And of course, do not leave taps running unnecessarily and check that the taps do not leak. Finally, opt for a shower instead of a bathtub.
4. Optimum insulation
Another important issue is the insulation of the house. Keep in mind that 50% of the heat generated in a house “escapes” through the roof. This is a good reason to have an efficient insulation system. It is also a good idea to insulate walls and floors, especially if underfloor heating is to be installed.
The aim is to avoid heat or cold leaks. It is also a good idea to insulate pipes carrying hot or cold water. Building a sustainable house always involves erecting a watertight structure.
5. Doors and windows
In connection with the question of insulation, it is worthwhile to look at doors and windows. It goes without saying that they must function properly both when opening and closing. Always make sure that there are no air inlets that are detrimental to the indoor temperature.
On the other hand, double or triple glazing always benefits the indoor climate. It is a way of preventing the entry of cold or heat from the outside and it also acts as an acoustic insulator.
6. Sustainable furniture and textiles
Home furnishings can also contribute to the sustainability of your home. Our advice is to update pieces rather than buy new ones. Freshen up the look by applying paint, changing knobs or sticking on vinyl sheets.
If you decide to buy new furniture, consider those natural materials that have little impact on the environment. OSB is made from pressed wood chips and is ideal for interior cladding. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that prevents deforestation and is very hard-wearing. Sheep’s wool is a good insulator, biodegradable and recyclable. Cork is just the bark of the tree, so it avoids cutting down the cork oak. Finally, hemp does not need pesticides to grow and needs 50% less water to grow than cotton.
Try to make quality clothes for your home. That way, it will last for many years and be more sustainable. Natural fibres such as linen are very hard-wearing and highly decorative.
Intenta que la ropa de casa sea de calidad. De esa manera, te durará muchos años y será más sostenible. Las fibras naturales como el lino son muy resistentes y altamente decorativas.
7. Recycling of waste
Recycling is no longer an option and more and more families are opting for waste separation at home. Having spaces, containers or areas for segregation is becoming more and more common.
In a sustainable home, glass, packaging, paper, cardboard, cooking oil and batteries can be recycled. All municipalities have specific containers for each type of waste. On the other hand, you can always go to the green points to dispose of electronic equipment and ensure that it is disposed of properly.
With regard to organic waste, a plausible idea is to use it to make homemade compost and use it in plants or urban gardens.
8. Energy efficient lighting
With regard to lighting, we have recovered the idea of natural light coming from the correct orientation of the house. However, artificial lighting is also necessary in a sustainable house. In this case, you should always opt for LED technology.
This type of lamps, bulbs and fluorescent lamps consume up to 90% less energy than traditional ones. It is true that they are somewhat more expensive, but they pay for themselves in a very short time because they last much longer.
On the other hand, LED technology facilitates the construction of very decorative, light and very different style lamps.
9. Efficient household appliances
The white range of electrical appliances are essential in any home. However, it is advisable to opt for energy-efficient appliances. The refrigerator, washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher and microwave should all have the energy efficiency label relating to their consumption. It is clear that the choice for a sustainable home should be A++.
These appliances have very low or almost non-existent greenhouse gas emissions. They operate optimally for years and make a clear contribution to the environment.
10. Plants and green corners
The last trick to achieve a sustainable house is to turn to nature itself. We are referring to plants. Whenever possible, grow native varieties that will always adapt better to the environment.
It is also interesting to opt for plants that require little water for their growth. And any homemade compost you may have obtained can be used for fertiliser.
Finally, plants are decorative and always help to regulate the temperature inside the house. They bring freshness and renew the air quality.
Sustainable home, benefiting the planet and its inhabitants
The benefits of a sustainable house are undoubtedly numerous for the inhabitants and undeniable for the planet.
Energy consumption is lower and this results in a lower energy bill. Making the most of the resources offered by nature has multiple advantages on an economic and personal level. Finally, the ecological awareness that pushes us to develop sustainable actions ends up having a positive impact on our environment.
Respect for nature and the environment are part of the basis for a pleasant coexistence. And it is always advisable to think of all those who will come after us.
09 August 2023