Sustainability starts at home. This is simple but true in more ways than one. We can all make a real impact with a few simple adjustments and minimal inconvenience. Moreover, the example we set at home shapes our children’s attitude towards the planet and its finite resources. Here are some key areas where we can make a difference from inside our own residences:
Get serious about water
Many people equate sustainability with changing our energy consumption habits. But being truly sustainable requires a holistic approach, so you’ll need to get serious about saving water. A good first step is fixing leaks. After that, there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make to save water. For example, you avoiding running the tap continuously brushing your teeth or shave. It’s also a good idea to install a low-flow shower-head – these have been shown to save over 100,000 litres of water annually for a family of four.
Install a smart meter
Smart meters in Dubai are primarily used to control and measure usage of water and electricity. They allow you to see where consumption is occurring and at what time, enabling you to understand where you can make changes. Moreover, you can also use smart meters to set automatic rules such as turning water heaters off during peak times.
Smart meters are a must for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint and decrease their energy bills.
Energy efficient light bulbs
One of the most effective changes we can make is investing in the right lightbulbs. Efficient LED bulbs are excellent alternatives to older, incandescent and CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs have been around for a long time, but it really has taken a significant amount of time for many people to come around to the idea. Ultimately, though, it really makes a lot of sense to make the switch. Not only do energy efficient bulbs use less electricity, they also last longer, which means you don’t have to spend as much money replacing them.
Install solar panels
Solar panels are an essential feature for any eco-friendly villa. Providing you with clean electricity, they also offer a cost saving over a period of time. It should be noted that solar panels are a long-term investment, with an upfront cost that may take up to 20 years to recoup. However, there is a strong trend towards homes with solar panels and installing them may increase the demand for, and therefore value of, your property. This trend is evidenced by the creation of Dubai Sustainability City, where all homes are built incorporating solar panels.
In reality, using Solar energy should not just be seen as a cost saving exercise, it is also an opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable planet.
Embrace natural cleaning products
Using harmful chemicals to clean is very bad for the environment. When they are washed away, they end up in the water supply. A large amount of energy is then required to convert this waste water into water that can be reused. But the good news is that in most cases you really don’t need to use such harsh products. For most day-to-day cleaning tasks, natural products like vinegar, citric acid from citrus fruits, tea tree oil and bicarbonate of soda can be used to great effect.
Air Conditioning units are one of the largest energy drains in Dubai homes. Given that external temperatures can hit over 50 degrees in summer, it is clear that air conditioning units are essential. However, you can minimise this drain without sacrificing comfort by making sure that your home is well insulated.
Adequately insulating helps maintain the room temperature without overworking your AC. There are plenty of places that can and should be insulated including within the walls and in the roof. Windows with double glazing are a good place to start. Also, consider covering any exposed hardwood floors in southwest area rugs. Area rugs are a cost-effective and stylish way to help insulate your home and prevent air from slipping out through the cracks in your floors.
Create your own compost
Don’t waste your kitchen scraps and leftover food – turn them into compost. You would be surprised how much of the food that you currently throw away can be recycled and turned into compost. Simply place a compost bin in your garden and fill it with any food waste.
It’s a good idea to try to buy recycled products whenever you can. This can include everything from toilet tissue to kitchen roll. Whenever you notice that there is a recycled option available to buy, it’s worth purchasing it. Not only can you buy recycled paper, but you can also buy recycled technology like mobiles, gaming consoles etc.
There are several simple sustainability hacks in the kitchen. One important example is avoiding opening oven door during cooking unless absolutely necessary. Even if the oven is only open for a short time it will then need to use a significant amount of energy heating back up.
Another big problem is the coffee pods waste. They could be contributing to a global environmental disaster, with billions of aluminium and plastic capsules ending up in landfills each year. Preparing your coffee with a conventional drip coffee maker is a better option.