Financial Fitness: Green Your Home on a Budget
By Jessie Taylor
As homeowners battle rising energy costs and increasing power outages, many turn to energy solutions such as generators and inverters. While these may keep the lights running, they still come with a cost to the environment. Renewable energy, such as solar heating, may be more attractive for those seeking a greener solution to meet their home’s energy needs. But unfortunately, these alternatives can come with a price tag beyond the average homeowner’s budget. However, there are affordable options that every family can implement to make their home greener.
Here are five ways to green your home on a budget:
1.Reduce Your Energy Consumption
There are several ways to reduce your energy consumption with minimal cost. This includes tricks such as fitting a timer or adding insulation to your geyser. You can also replace outdoor lighting with solar lights to reduce the energy you use and replace indoor light bulbs with energy-saving ones. If you have some budget, consider making a few strategic changes to your home, such as installing infrared heaters, which can save up to 50% on energy costs, or connecting a solar heat pump to your geyser.
2. Refit Your Home
If you plan to renovate your home, it is the ideal time to include some greener choices. Consider using eco-friendly flooring like bamboo, which is becoming the go-to alternative for wooden floors. Also, consider improving your home’s insulation to reduce the amount you spend on heating your home in winter and cooling it in summer. One way to insulate your home is to include eco-friendly cellulose-fibre ceiling insulation. When repainting your home, change to low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints. VOC are some of the most harmful chemicals found in paint. Changing to low-VOC paint will reduce the number of contaminants in the ozone layer, groundwater and landfills, and it also has less toxic emissions and less impact on air quality.
3. Become Water Wise
South Africa is a water scarce country and every drop of water you can save at home counts. Fortunately, there are a few affordable ways to save water in your home. You may consider a solution for your toilet that only allows flushing when the toilet handle is held down, which is easy to add to your existing cistern. You could also invest in water-efficient shower heads in your bathrooms.
If you have a budget, you could also invest in a greywater system or rain tank. Rainwater tanks are an excellent alternative for watering gardens, and with the inclusion of a cleaning device, they could even be used to supply water to your swimming pool or taps. Greywater systems can divert water from your bath, shower or basin for irrigation. These systems could reduce your water bill by a third.
4. Reduce Your Waste
There are affordable ways to reduce your impact on the planet by reducing the amount of waste your home generates. The most effortless change is using environmentally friendly detergents, dishwashing liquid and washing powder. You can also reduce your waste through recycling. Numerous companies will collect and sort your recyclable waste, but you can also sort them yourself and drop them at your local municipal depot. Food waste is another area where you can easily make affordable changes. Consider starting a worm farm at home to generate compost for your garden. Not only will your plants thank you, but you will also be part of diverting a fifth of all the waste that goes into landfill sites.
5. Green Gardening
Gardens are an area that can significantly make your home more environmentally friendly. A garden helps purify the air, reduce noise pollution, and cool your home in summer. You can set aside space for a vegetable garden, which will help reduce your food bill at the end of the month. In addition, using indigenous plants reduces your water usage and provides a home for indigenous insects and birds. If you’ve got some funds set aside, consider investing in a natural pond to ensure your garden has a vibrant ecosystem of dragonflies, toads and other wildlife. Some great solar options of filters and aerators will ensure you don’t increase your electricity bill.
Sources: IOL | Private Property | Reman