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Tips for Building a Sustainable Home

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 43 seconds.

There are many benefits to implementing environmentally conscious principles at home. Sustainable consumption habits improve your health and overall wellbeing, as well as being good for the planet. Taking steps towards “going green” is simple, inexpensive, and attainable for most people regardless of where they live or what time of home they live in.

What exactly is a green home?

Sustainability means meeting your current consumption needs without having a negative impact on the needs of future generations. In home design, sustainability often refers to energy consumption and waste. A green home is designed to be well insulated, to rely on passive heating and cooling, and to use energy efficient lighting and heating technologies.

A high performance, eco-home may include integrated sustainable features like geothermal heating, wind power and solar panels, but there are smaller steps you can take towards creating an environmentally friendly home without any renovations.

Begin by simplifying.

Simplifying your life is the first step to going green at home. Simplification comes in three steps: minimizing, maximizing, and prioritizing. Minimizing means thinking hard about what is truly necessary for a healthy and happy existence, and cutting out the rest from your monthly consumption. Maximizing means getting the most our of the energy, household goods and resources that you do stock up on. And prioritizing involves making making decisions about where to best allocate your time and resources. Decide on what matters most to you, and focus on that!


Energy efficiency and insulation.

An efficient home uses the least amount of energy possible to heat, light and run appliances.

One way this can be achieved is to make the most of natural sunlight. If you’re building a home from scratch, orienting your windows south for maximum sunshine creates passive solar light and heating, which can reduce your needs to additional heating by 25%. If you’re working with a pre-built house, installing skylights or placing mirrors in your home to capture as much sunlight as possible will reduce your need for artificial lighting.

Efficient insulation is perhaps the best way to increase your home’s performance. Insulate your windows, walls and ceilings to prevent warmth from leaking out in the winter.  Install double glazed windows or thermal curtains (most homes in Montreal already come with these installed).

And lastly, replace your light bulbs for eco bulbs, and when the time comes to renew your appliances, swap those for high energy efficient appliances as well. Low-flush toilets can help reduce water wastage and cut utility bills, by using 1 and a half gallons of water per flush instead of 6.


Use House-plants for Air Purification

Houseplants are an effective and environmentally friendly alternative to air filtration systems. As a rule of thumb for air-purifying plants, you would need one 10 inch plant per every 100 square feet of home space for an efficient (and aesthetically pleasing- who doesn’t love houseplants?) purification system.

Plants that are renowned for their purification qualities are: aloe-vera, spider plant, daisies, chrysanthemums, dracaena, fig trees (ficus) and bamboo.


Stock your home with natural cleaners

When shopping for cleaning products, look for the Environmental Choice tick of approval. Source materials locally, to reduce the environmental impact of transporting them. If you’re extra adventurous, do some research into which products can easily be replaced by all natural, household alternatives. For example, baking soda is a natural alternative for scouring and deodorizing, white vinegar for grease and stain removal, and citrus is a strong disinfectant against household bacteria and mould.

Use reclaimed, recycled and local materials.

Whether for building, renovating or decorating, using reclaimed materials and locally purchased materials reduces the carbon footstep of your home. Luckily, Montreal is a haven for antique and thrift materials, so finding beautiful second hand accessories to furnish your home won’t be too much of a headache.


Landscape in a sustainable way.

If you’re comfortable with gardening and you have a bit of outdoor space, you backyard can help you build a more sustainable home and lifestyle. Composting is an easy way to add nutritional value to your soil- it helps enrich the plants or vegetables you’ll be growing on your patch of soil, as well as providing you with an easy way of recycling your vegetable waste. Adding edible plants to your landscape contributes towards a healthy lifestyle, and reduces the amount of resources normally needed to get groceries from the farms to your plate.

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All of the images in this post were sourced from Pinterest and are credited on our Pinterest board, The Great Indoors. 


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