Sustainable living. Going Green. Reducing our carbon footprint . These ideas have been bandied about much of the past decade.
Current science and worldwide climate events have shown over and over that these ideas are not merely trends to be tossed aside. Because sustainability is the principle of reaching current needs without depleting future generations of their needs, sustainable living is indeed the best way to plan for a better future.
Making changes in your own home is the smart way to start living sustainably.
Designing landscapes that can provide a beautiful, sustainable outdoor environment is easily attainable keeping a few rules in mind.
The most important is research what plants and trees are native to your climate. Using native plants reduces the need for additional watering and possibly added fertilizer.
Herb gardens, fruit trees and vegetable beds add to sustainable living by providing fresh and healthy food right outside your door. The food often tastes better too.
For flat roof homes, a rooftop garden is a marvelous way to add delicious homegrown vegetable to your meals and also significantly cool down the interior of your home. Rooftop gardens have been shown to reduce a building’s energy use by 30%.
Cultivating shade trees in a sustainable living design is an energy reducer and a good landscape solution. Planted nearby a home, a shade tree can help the house remain cooler. Cooler homes in turn decrease the need for air-conditioning which leads to using less energy which leads to less greenhouse gases. And, trees provide the amazing job of absorbing Co2 to help clean the atmosphere.
Creating a sustainable indoor space must start with reducing energy. Using compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) is the easiest way to start. These bulbs use much less power and they last longer. A win-win situation.
It may seem like a small act, but turning off
appliances, chargers, and all electronics when not in use prevents what is called phantom loads — sucking energy even in the off position.
A simple creative design option to increasing sustainability is taking a look at windows. Are the windows drafty with cracks? Are they double paned? Are they tinted? Are window treatments energy efficient?
Examine window frames for cracks that let heat out and cool air in. Double paned windows can drastically reduce winter heating bills by providing insulation. With summer heat, tinting windows lowers heat absorption. Thick energy efficient curtains help keep the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
A huge stride to becoming sustainable is going solar. Photo voltaic (PV) systems are the queen bee of saving energy and living life more sustainably. Photo voltaic systems simply use sunlight to produce an electric charge providing the ultimate in sustainable energy.
Installing a PV system is still a big investment in most communities. However recent technologies and tax credits have significantly lowered costs creating affordable PV systems in many sunny climes.
Making big changes or taking small steps, sustainable living is cost efficient and achievable.