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10 easy ways to live a more sustainable life at home

Here are simple ways to help you be more sustainable and save money in the long run.

Text by Vanitha Pavapathi

#1 Go au naturel

sustainable life Freepik
Image source: Freepik

Harsh chemicals are detrimental to the environment and your skin. Opt for the many eco-friendly options available or make your own with staples such as vinegar, rubbing alcohol, baking soda and dish soap.

#2 Light it right

sustainable life IKEA
TRÅDFRI series from IKEA

If you’re still using compact fluorescent light, it’s time to migrate to LED light as it consumes less energy, has a longer lifetime, improved physical robustness and faster switching. But that doesn’t mean you can leave all the lights on. If you’re not using it, just turn it off.

#3 Get good ventilation

sustainable life Rockin Spaces
Project by Rockin Spaces

Singapore is blessed with sunshine all year round. So, draw your blinds and curtains, and use as much natural light as possible before switching on your lights as a more sustainable practice. Also, minimise your carbon footprint by turning on the air conditioner less frequently. Open all windows and internal doors, turn on the fans, and give your house some good air circulation. The reason why your house feels warm is most likely because you didn’t encourage enough cross ventilation.

#4 Choose a quick cleanse

sustainable life IKEA
Project by IN-EXPAT x UPSTRS_

A PUB study on water consumption has shown that showering constitutes the highest water usage in a household. So how long should a shower take? As a general rule of thumb, five minutes is sufficient and not more than ten minutes. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting precious water and drying out your skin in the process. Better yet, invest in a water-efficient showerhead.

#5 Break the habit

sustainable life Black Canvas
Project by Blank Canvas Architects

Is it necessary to change the bed sheets every few days, use new towels every day and launder lightly soiled clothes? Our over emphasis on hygiene has reduced our natural immune system resistance to diseases, which require exposure to bacteria to develop. Not to mention, the tremendous amounts of water usage. It’s okay to wash less but when you do, it’s better to tackle one large load instead of washing a small load of laundry or dishes everyday.

#6 Use rainwater

sustainable life Whispering Smith
Project by Whispering Smith

No matter how small your outdoor space may be, it’s still possible to collect rainwater using some buckets that you have lying around the house. The rainwater can be used to water your houseplants, which is better than tap water as it’s not chlorinated. If you live in a landed property, it’s wise to build a rainwater harvesting system, so you can use the free water for irrigation, car wash, toilet flushing and even laundry.

#7 Choose energy efficient appliances

sustainable life Fisher & Paykel
CoolDrawer™ Multi-temperature Refrigerator from Fisher & Paykel

Replace your old, outdated electrical appliances with ones that have high ‘Energy Star’ rating, which help save energy without compromising on performance. This simple action will help you save hundreds of dollars on electricity over the years, and is the sustainable way to go.

#8 Keep houseplants

sustainable life MONOCOT
Project by MONOCOT

More is more when it comes to houseplants. They absorb harmful pollutants and help purify the air. The most popular include areca palm, sansiviera, Boston fern and peace lily. So put them in every room if you like. Not to mention, they instantly beautify a space.

#9 Take a temperature dip

sustainable life Pipkorn Kilpatrick
Project by Pipkorn Kilpatrick

With the hot and humid weather in Singapore, it’s absolutely okay to take cold baths and showers, and still not fall sick. But if you really need to take a hot one, consider lowering the temperature to 32°C from the usual 36°C. The little bit of dip in temperature can save significant energy in the long run. The same can be said for laundry – room temperature water is sufficient to clean clothes unless they are heavily soiled.

#10 Downsize

sustainable life wee studio apartment
Project by wee studio

This may come across as controversial but if you truly want to adopt a more sustainable way of life, live in a right sized house, if not a smaller one. If there are only two of you, a five-room flat might seem excessive. Downsizing equates to spending less on lighting, furniture, furnishing and maintenance. The path to being debt-free is also more attainable, which is why the minimalist lifestyle and tiny house movement have been gaining traction.

This article first appeared in Lookbox Living issue 62, also available as a free digital magazine for download here


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