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How to be more sustainable around the home this winter

By Michael Walkden

3 WAYS TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE AROUND THE HOME THIS WINTER

Do you feel the chill in the air? That means that winter is right around the corner. It’s time for woolly jumpers, beanies and plenty of hot drinks, but this is also the season when many people forget about their home’s sustainability! Here are three simple ways to keep your green living dream going, even in the winter months.

1) INSULATE YOUR WATER HEATER

As the weather gets colder, you might find yourself spending longer in the shower in the morning, not wanting to abandon this steamy haven of warmth. However, you might find that extra time is getting you into hot water environmentally! Keeping your water toasty accounts for more than a fifth of the total carbon emissions from a home, according to a 2010 paper from the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

There is a way you can reduce your impact though. Wrapping your water heater in an insulating foam layer (if you haven’t already) can reduce the amount of energy used on keeping your showers warm, and keep your utility costs down too!

2) SWITCH TO NATURAL CLEANERS

Cleaning your house is plenty of work already, so you might be skipping your cleaning products out when it comes to your environmental considerations. However, there are a number of things in these products that are damaging the environment. Products that use palm oil, for example, could be contributing to deforestation in order for manufacturers to get their hand on this extremely common cleaning agent. Maybe it’s time to make a switch to more sustainable, natural cleaners.

However, the great thing about natural cleaners is that you can often make them yourself! The oil from the quintessential eucalyptus tree, for example, not only has a great smell but has antibacterial properties too! One easy recipe is to mix eucalyptus oil with washing-up liquid and water – the proportions are up to you!

3) DON’T RELY ON THE THERMOSTAT

According to the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and Arts, heating and cooling take up about 40 per cent of a household’s energy use. In winter, you may find yourself tempted to turn that thermostat up a couple of notches to beat back the cold, but that will only exacerbate your carbon emissions!

There are a few simple ways to keep the heat maintained without using more energy. Being selective in which rooms you heat, buying thicker curtains and drapes, or just simply throwing on another jumper. Try any (or all) of these before deciding to crank up the more costly means of heating your real estate!

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