We’ve all heard the phrase “going green” - but what does it mean, exactly? And how can you go about taking on the challenge?
At first glance, sustainability might seem like a lofty goal. With institutions around the world working to define the term and set goals for the future, the average person might see it as something far too big and complex for them to get involved in. But when it all comes down to it, helping the environment isn’t rocket science, and with the wealth of resources on the Internet at our disposal, it’s now easier than ever to join the international efforts towards building a sustainable future.
Here at Mosa, we believe “going green” is more than just a trendy catchphrase - it’s a lifestyle. That’s why we’re doing our part to help the environment through upcycling glass waste, reinventing thousands of bottles that would otherwise be thrown out into chic, eco-friendly home decor that puts a unique spin on the term “sustainability.” But of course, becoming sustainable doesn’t always mean bringing out the big guns! If you’d like to join us in making an impact, you can kickstart your journey towards truly going green by working your way up from the small things, and the comfort of your own household is a great place to begin.
Worry not. We’re here to help you take your first step down that path. So whether you’re a new homeowner eager to learn or a veteran looking to green-ify your house, here are 10 proven, fail-safe, and surprisingly easy ways you can do your part to make your home more sustainable for your family - and for a greener future.
Switch to LED Light Bulbs
Did you know that traditional incandescent light bulbs actually lose over 90% of the energy funneled into them in the form of heat? Not only does this make them extremely inefficient on paper, it also leads to disastrously high energy bills and a sizable carbon footprint. Although lighting only accounts for about 4% of Canadians’ annual energy use, taking measures to save on that energy will still help you budget better while lightening the load on the environment.
There’s a reason why LED light bulbs are so popular these days: they use upwards of 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs while also being brighter, and they can last up to 25 times as long too. When lighting is such an essential part of everyday household energy, there’s really no reason to not make the switch - what’s better than saving on your bills while saving the earth?
Look for Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Your favourite cleaning products may be your lifesavers in the face of stubborn dirt and grease, but they can actually pose a huge risk to the environment. The harmful chemicals used in most of them are hazardous to local ecosystems, not to mention that their packaging is often non-recyclable and creates mountains of waste in landfills.
That’s why it’s important to shop smart, especially when it involves something you do as often as cleaning. Eco-friendly products aren’t only gentler and more effective - they’re also chemical-free, plant-based, and designed specially in packaging that minimizes plastic waste, so that you can keep your house spick, span, and sustainable.
Opt for Low-Flow Faucets and Toilets
Water is one of the basic building blocks of human life, so it’s no surprise how much of it we use every day. According to statistics, Canadian homeowners waste over 580 billion litres of water every year in their bathrooms, kitchens, and living spaces. Most of this is due to the appliances we use - standard toilets and showers can often be inefficient when it comes to saving on water, leading to our usage skyrocketing at alarming rates.
That’s where low-flow, water-efficient models come in. These appliances are designed to conserve water and can save as much as 60% more of it over standard ones! For this reason, replacing your faucets, showerheads, and toilets with low-flow versions is an amazing step that everyone should consider when it comes to going green.
Don’t Skimp on Insulation
Insulation - the materials used in the walls and ceilings of our houses - is often overlooked in conversations about conserving energy, but the truth is that it’s one of the most important things to consider when upgrading a home to be more sustainable. That’s because a home that isn’t well-insulated is one more vulnerable to both cold and hot weather, meaning that its residents will inevitably spend more on heating and cooling systems, which use up boatloads of energy.
Effective insulation can prevent that by restricting air flow so that less energy is needed! It’s both cost-efficient and eco-friendly, which means it’s an amazing way to create a sustainable home. If you do decide to insulate, make sure to choose the right material: cotton and wool are great low-cost, effective options.
Practice Effective Waste Management
Every household produces trash - it’s only natural. But when that trash isn’t managed or disposed of properly, it can lead to disastrous consequences for the environment, ranging from polluting bodies of water to transporting harmful chemicals that negatively affect local wildlife.
That’s why effective waste management is so crucial to a sustainable home. You (and your household) can do your part to reduce waste by choosing products with sustainable, reusable packaging like paper, buying reusable items instead of single-use ones, and of course, always remembering to recycle (or even better, upcycle) properly.
Choose Energy-Efficient Appliances
Energy-efficient appliances fall into the same category as low-flow toilets and faucets when it comes to saving on bills! They aren’t limited to the bigger things like refrigerators and dishwashers, either - even the microwaves and kettles you use every day have energy-efficient versions that can help you drastically reduce electricity usage (while reducing your monthly spendings as well).
Don’t know how to look for them? The ENERGY STAR certification symbol - only awarded to the very best energy-saving products in Canada - can help you make the right choice.
Always Donate or Sell Used Clothing and Furniture
Can’t bear to throw out your favourite cardigan even when you’ve outgrown it? Or maybe you don’t need your tiny school desk anymore after graduating? Consider donating or selling! Organizations like Goodwill, online sites like Kijiji or Depop, or even local thrift stores in your neighbourhood are great places where you can give away your used items to people in need of them.
As long as they’re in relatively good condition, you can give your well-loved clothes or furniture a second life by handing them over to someone else. This prevents them from ending up in a landfill as excessive waste and also offers your old belongings a new (and sustainable) home.
Challenge Yourself to Grow Your Own Food
Growing your own fruits and vegetables in your backyard may seem like a difficult task at first glance, but the benefits are more than worth it! Gardening isn’t only a fulfilling pastime - it’s also one of the most sustainable activities you can choose to do, since it creates more green space, supports the local ecosystem, and helps minimize waste from packaging in one fell swoop, not to mention reducing the carbon emissions caused through transporting commercially sold products to and from the grocery store.
It’s also a hobby with a wealth of benefits for yourself as well - growing your own food is often cheaper and healthier, since you control the types of fertilizers and pesticides you use. If you’re interested but unsure where to start, there are tons of helpful, beginner-friendly guides you can find that are just a Google search away.
A sustainable, energy-efficient home can seem like a distant dream if you don’t know how to begin, but with these 8 simple methods, you can take your first step towards that goal with confidence and anticipation. Remember: “going green” isn’t only a decision that helps you save on bills and feel good about yourself. It’s an active choice that allows you to reap countless benefits and contribute to making a worthwhile environmental impact. It’s a lifestyle - one where you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’re making the right choice for yourself, your family, and for our Earth.