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Use these tips to help you live an environmentally friendly home life. Start small and it will soon become second nature.

More than anything, being environmentally friendly makes sense economically. It’s a great idea to call in a professional to run an energy audit on your home, but you can also start small.

One way to jump start a smarter home life is to switch off , turn off , buy less and reuse more. Ask yourself: “Do I need this? Could I borrow or hire it?” Essentially, be mindful of how you live. If you have children, it’s vital that they learn how to function in a world with finite resources, but you may find that they’re good teachers too. Just as we learned about the horrors of litter, they’re learning about sustainability.
Where to start? Don’t think that “it’s not worth the saving” – it is and, of course, many tiny savings add up to make a big difference.

Reduce your electricity and water usage simply by being more aware:

• Lights: turn off the lights when you leave a room; use outdoor (and even some indoor) motion-sensor lights; replace all bulbs (and, over time, fittings) with quality, long-lasting compact fluorescent lights.
• Indoor water: only shower for a few minutes; install low-flow shower heads; only use the washing machine and dishwasher with a full load; wash clothes in cold water whenever possible – as much as 85% of the energy used goes to heating the water; use the basin plug – don’t leave the tap running; reduce the number of times you flush the toilet.
• Outdoor water: cover the pool to prevent evaporation; recycle your grey water for use in the garden – this can be as simple as using a container in the shower to collect water or redirecting water from your shower or basin into a holding tank or your garden.
• Heating/cooling: change your geyser, air-conditioning and heating to a lower setting. If you do it over time, you won’t notice the difference.
• Electricity: unplug chargers and appliances when they’re not being used; switch off your computer overnight.
• Appliances: replace appliances with energy-rated alternatives.
• General: open curtains/ blinds to let in sunlight and minimise use of artificial light.

MORE GREEN TIPS:

• Skip the bottled water: install a water filter and use a glass, aluminium or reusable water bottle.
• Shop at a local market: the fruit, vegetables, dairy and eggs will usually be less expensive, often organically grown (even if it doesn’t shout about it on the label), will have travelled a shorter distance to get to you (less fuel equals less pollution) and you’ll be supporting a local business.
• Buy in bulk: you’ll shop less often, save money and use fewer containers.
• Cleaning products: this is often a sizable chunk of your household spending. If you have the time, make your own – if not, buy environmentally friendly options.
• Rainwater/grey water: tanks such as the varying sizes and creative shapes/colours available from, say, JoJo, make this a worthwhile investment when the rains come.
• Herb garden – plant it. It’s easy, it’s cheap and it’s wonderful!

Words: Anne Schauffer | Images: Supplied

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