By Adrian Johansen
If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that home truly is where the heart is. And as the fall flu season looms and the COVID threat persists, it looks as if we’re going to be spending a lot of time at home, at least for the foreseeable future.
But after months of lockdown, you and your family are probably going more than a little stir crazy. You’ve read every book. Watched every movie. Tackled everything on your to-do list. Probably more than once.
So, before the winter cold sets in, why not take this time to transform your home into more than just a sanctuary from the virus? Why not turn it into an earth-friendly haven? Depending on how ambitious and how handy you are, there are all sorts of DIY home improvements you can do today to turn your house into an environmentally sustainable fortress of solitude.
If you’re down with sustainability but you don’t know quite where to begin, we recommend starting with baby steps. Just a few simple changes can lessen the toll your home might be taking on Mother Earth — and it’ll likely save you more than a little in household energy costs!
The easiest thing is simply to plant a hanging garden or install a water barrel outside your home. Your hanging garden is an ideal way to cultivate your own organic fruits and vegetables, which you can not only use to feed your own family but also to support your community food bank, homeless shelter, and other charities.
Likewise, installing a water barrel outside of your house to collect rainwater is reducing, reusing, and recycling at its very finest. You can use the water you collect to keep your lawn and garden hydrated and, in the process, cut your utility bills by as much as 30%.
Another quick and easy trick for DIY sustainability is to swap out your standard cleaning supplies with natural alternatives and give your house a thorough going over with these earth-friendly cleaners. Chances are, you’ll be shocked at the difference you feel when you’re no longer inhaling potentially dangerous chemical odors or using skin-damaging liquid cleansers. These gentle and sweet-smelling concoctions pack a lot of power to leave your floors gleaming, your surfaces and fixtures deliciously fresh.
Wrap It Up
One of the most significant sources of energy waste is when your home, and especially your basement, isn’t properly insulated. So if you want to reduce your energy consumption, spending the weekend insulating your basement is not a bad idea. When you do this, you’re going to find and seal up gaps, fissures, and leaks that are letting heat out and, potentially, letting water in.
If you decide to go all in and insulate the floors and ceilings as well, you’re going to be reducing energy waste and creating a geothermal barrel to aid in heating the whole house. Best of all, you may well be boosting your living space as well, because your once cold, damp, and drafty basement will become a comfortable space for a guest room, a mother-in-law suite, or something else just as inviting!
If you’re really invested in making your home a sanctuary of sustainability, you can up your game without breaking the bank. Consider swapping out your old energy sucking appliances with new energy-efficient ones. Not only will you save money on your energy bills, but you might even qualify for tax credits — just for doing something that’s good for your wallet and for Mother Nature!
And while you’re giving your home a refresh, keep repurposing at the front of your mind. Consider donating anything that’s still useful but you just don’t want anymore rather than sending it off to the landfill.
Then swap out your donated items for pieces that have a history of their own. Visit yard sales and salvage yards to give old pieces new life in your home. This is not only going to add character and flare to your space, but you’ll also be transforming potential trash into homey treasure.
Let’s face it, we’re all spending a lot more time at home than we ever imagined we would or could. But that also means that this time is an incredible opportunity, one that might never come along again. Now is the ideal chance for you and your family to invest in projects that are truly worthwhile, and there are few projects more important or more rewarding than turning your house into a home that not only nurtures your family, but also nurtures and sustains the environment you will bequeath to future generations.
Adrian Johansen strives to prioritize sustainability and ethics in all she does.To that end, she writes in multiple fields, applying and promoting sustainable methods and ideals as much as possible. You can find more of her writing here.