27 ways to be more sustainable around the house
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No-brainer ways to simply and cheaply improve your environmental footprint of your home, cut your bills and save power for eco-friendly living. Give them a go today!
In your kitchen
- Never wash up under a running tap. If you have a dishwasher, use it as often as possible, as it only uses 15 litres (four gallons) of water per cycle, whereas washing up by hand uses that same amount every two minutes! As long as you have at least eight dishes, you will save more water, energy and time than washing up by hand.
- Fit blinds to your kitchen windows. They’ll keep draughts at bay - and energy bills down.
- Serve food direct from pan to plates. Cutting out on the serving dishes will also cut down on washing up and on water and energy use.
- Defrost your freezer before ice deposits build up - if it's not a self-defrosting model - to keep it functioning efficiently.
When you’re cooking
- Don’t waste a hot oven. Think about consolidating your cooking - if you’re making a roast dinner, roast vegetables in the oven while you cook the meat - they retain their nutrients better and you're saving energy by not boiling them separately. Or cook jacket potatoes at the same time as baking a cake - they heat up quickly in the microwave when you're ready to eat them.
- Plan meals in advance. Cook larger quantities of freezable food such as pasta sauce, soups and stews, and divide it into portion-sized bags to freeze and then defrost for another time. Decide what’s for dinner in the morning and take anything you need out of the freezer before getting on with the rest of the day. Allowing food to defrost at room temperature rather than sticking it in the microwave doesn’t require any electricity. Having meals ready during the week will save you on time and energy!
- Boil only the quantity of water you need. Don’t overfill the kettle and always use the smallest pan you can when boiling. You’ll save a lot of water and energy. Remember to always cover pots with a lid too.
In your laundry
- Empty the fluff filter regularly. This will improve the efficiency of washing machines and tumble dryers.
- Dry clothes and sheets outside. A tumble dryer is very energy hungry so air drying will keep down your electricity bills - and add a scent of freshness to your clean laundry.
In your hallway
- Use a draught excluder. Place it against external doors to keep out chills.
- Make sure your letterbox closes securely. This will help to keep the heat in and the cold out.
- Install a thick curtain behind the front door. Hang it from a rail above the door to exclude draughts and immediately warm up your home - particularly if you live in an older property.
- Close doors to rooms you're not using. This helps to retain heat in the parts of your home where you spend most time.
In your lounge
- Heat it as you need it. Turn off radiators completely, or set them low if your living room isn't used daily, and avoid using power-hungry electric fans. In a heatwave, keep curtains, blinds and windows closed during the heat of the day, only opening them to let in the cooler night air.
- Watch out for energy vampires! These are devices that continue to use electricity even when turned off or once charging is complete. Look for indicator lights, clocks or even if the device (such as a mobile, laptop or TV) feels warm. Simply install a power strip and turn it off/on as needed.
- Switch to LED light bulbs throughout your home. They use at least 75% less energy and last 25x longer.
- Make use of blankets and throws and cover floorboards with rugs. They’re not just there to make the room look good, they will keep you warm when it’s chilly and you want to avoid turning up the thermostat. Bare boards look great, but can be nippy. Keep your feet toasty by laying rugs in high traffic areas if you’re not a fan of slippers!
In your bedrooms
- Invest in higher-tog duvets and cosy nightwear. A warm duvet and snuggly PJs will mean that you don’t need to leave the heating on high all through the night.
- Avoid using the hair dryer. Wash your hair earlier in the evening so there's time for it to dry naturally. If you can’t, then removing the directional nozzle means more of your hair will dry more quickly, reducing the amount of power you use.
- Switch off gadgets at bedtime. It's easy to leave them on all night, consuming power unnecessarily.
In your bathroom
- Choose a shower rather than a bath. In addition, installing a low-flow shower head will save even more water - and heat - every time you wash
- Make sure all recyclable packaging goes in the 'green bin'. It's easy to forget, but lots of bathroom packaging is recyclable. You can hang a bag for your empties behind the door, place packaging outside the door to remind you to bin it, or get a basket or second bin for your bathroom.
- Turn off the tap. Keeping the water running when brushing your teeth can use an extra 15 litres of water every time you brush.
- Collect the water you don’t use. Waiting for hot water for a bath or wash? Collect the cooler water as it comes out of the tap and use it to water your house plants or fill up a humidifier.