CHOOSE HEALTHIER & SUSTAINABLE HOME CHOICES
25 ECO-FRIENDLY HOME IDEAS FOR LIVING IN YOUR GREENER SAFER HOUSE
One big lesson is that living in an eco-friendly home needs to be a priority. The Earth is a precious resource that keeps us all alive and nourished, but it is also something we take for granted. Many people believe that they cannot make a difference, and that simply is not the case. With small changes, big impacts are made. The best part is that you will reap rewards for doing so, such as saving money, living a better quality of life, and learning valuable skills that we are important. The fun part about making these changes is that you’ll see shifts in other areas of your life, too! So you aren’t just benefiting the Earth, but also other areas of you and your family’s lives.
25 Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Ideas
Start with the changes you can make, get comfortable with them, then ask yourself what else you can change.
1 // Swap single use items for better options
Paper towels for cloth napkins
Cotton pads/balls for cotton rounds
Plastic straws for stainless/metal straws
Water bottles for reusable bottles
Reusable Glass & Aluminum jars with lids instead of plastic containers
Use Baskets & Paper & Wood Boxes instead of plastic storage
Each of these swaps save you money & reduce the waste you send to the landfill
2 // More Your Spaces Energy Efficient
Swap out thin curtains for thicker, quilted or even room darkening curtains when warmth & darkness Orr cooling in hot weather is desired
Replace old glass windows with energy-efficient windows in cold & Hot climates. If there is no budget to replace things seal gaps and insulate windows during very cold and hot weather.
Replace air filters regularly
Be purposeful with laundry. Wash loads once in cold water & add vinegar to improve ph in water
Hang clothes to dry, instead of using your dryer. By hanging your clothes out to dry, you’re decreasing the use of your dryer, which pulls a lot of energy. Line drying your clothes also increase their lifespan, so you are really multiplying the savings with this eco-friendly idea. If you can’t dry your clothes outside, hang them in a well ventilated, sunny area inside to dry.
3 // Insulate your home
If your home isn’t insulated properly, you could be losing a lot of money and wasting a lot of energy. With proper insulation, the energy-efficiency of your home increases significantly. You save energy and money. This does come with an upfront investment, but it pays for itself rather quickly and costs much less than building new.
4 // Renew and mend before replacing
Mend clothes with holes or buttons missing
Repair broken pieces of furniture
Freshen something old and tired with a new coat of paint
Find a new use for something that no longer works in its current state
What if a simple fix is all it needs? What if a new coat of paint will give it a new purpose and life? For things that you cannot mend or repair, such as holy shirts that you do not want your husband going out in public wearing, cut them up into rags to use for cleaning or to rub stain on a piece of furniture.
5 // Swap conventional products for environmentally friendly products
Swap harmful cleaning products with non-toxic cleaners
Use vinegar and water for cleaning
Swap your laundry detergent for a plant-based one
Use wool dryer balls in lieu of dryer sheets
Use baking soda for the hard to clean jobs in lieu of harmful chemical products
Find furniture that uses natural fibers to limit your family’s contact with harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) Do some research, because there are a TON of products that seem all-natural that really are not.
6 // Unplug unused appliances and keep most on serge switches that can be turned off when appliances are not in use.
When you don’t need your appliances, they still need electricity. Besides maybe refrigerators and freezers, Turn them off or unplug them.
To ensure you are only pulling energy you need, use serge strips that can turn off when you don’t need the things plugged into it. Unplug anything you’re not using.
Whether you have a blow dryer, hair straightener, curling iron, etc., be sure they are unplugged when not in use. Not only can heating tools be dangerous to keep plugged in, they also pull a lot of energy. Other things like a room heater, diffuser, etc. that you may keep plugged in should be unplugged when not in use as well. They pull energy regardless if they are turned on or not.
Turn off lights when not in the bathroom and other rooms. This may seem like a no brainer, but I turning off the lights when you aren’t in there isn’t a habit develop this habit. Turning off lights when you leave rooms saves electricity in a major way, as well as extends the life of your lightbulbs, which is also another way to save money.
Get tankless hot water or heat pump heaters - Increase your home’s sustainability by installing a tankless hot water heater that provides unlimited hot water.I t only heats up water instantly when needed and doesn’t constantly keep water hot when you don’t need it. Plus, it is smaller, so it takes up far less space! A tankless hot water heater can reduce your water heating costs by up to 50%.
7 // Purchase things that are not packaged in plastic, when possible
When it comes to things like produce, opt for plastic-free packaging. Bring your reusable bags. 7 // Recycle and compost. Reducing the trash you send to the landfill is a great way to live more eco-friendly. There are so many things you can recycle and compost, like paper, cardboard, certain plastics, food scraps, etc.Be sure to check with your local recycling centers to see which plastics they collect and other materials you can recycle. For things like paper, cardboard, and food scraps, you can compost them yourself or provide them for a local farmer. COMPOST & make soil. We need it because our rich soils are disappearing. Organic materials do not decompose in a landfill, so reduce how much of it you’re sending to the landfill.
8// Cooking & Preserving & Storing Food-
Use a Pressure Cooker for faster cooking and canning- The shorter amount of time you spend cooking means less electricity being used, which saves you money and is better for the environment. This also means that you don’t heat your house up as much, so the air conditioner is running less, too!
Use a food dehydrator & smoker to dry and preserve your food - when plentiful food is available in season preserve your favors by drying, canning, smoking and pickling.
Have a plentiful pantry organized by categories in a dark room featuring all your favorite foods and drinks and emergency supplies. Especially you homemade preserves & dry goods. It is wise to work up to having at least 3 months of food in reserve in case emergencies might arise. Example List of Emergency Supplies: https://ezprepping.com/3-month-food-supply-guide-to-getting-started/
Store emergency water- Packages of bottled water, gallon jugs of water, or even 55-gallon drums of water (45 gallons of drinking water per adult for 3 months is recommended): See our Water Storage Calculator. Check out our article How to Store Large Amounts of Water: Long Term Water Storage
Helpful ideas to add to your 3 month food supply list: Starting with a 2 week food supply and working up to a full 3 month supply of foods and meals that you regularly eat brings a wonderful, relieving peace of mind. A kind of life insurance policy that will keep your family alive and happy.
Flour yeast, and baking powder
Pinto, Black, Garbonzo &r other types of Beans
Sugars (Sugar, Brown Sugar, Honey, Powdered Drink Mixes, beer, achohol, etc
Canned Fruit and Vegetables (These make great sides to regularly eaten meals)
Salt, Soya, Hot Sauces and favorite seasonings and spices
Peanut, sesame Butter, etc
Soup or broth
Pastas & Raman noodles
Butters & Oils, especially Olive
Pickles & Olives
Tomato sauce & diced canned tomatoes
Floor, yeast, and baking powder
Dehydrated carrots, corn, beans, peas and other favorite fruits & vegetables
Canned & smoked Meats (Tuna, Sardines, Chicken, Beef, etc.)
Canned Vegetables (Green beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, etc.)
Canned Fruit (Peaches, Apples, Pineapple, Pears, etc.)
Powdered & boxed milk
Snacks & other foods used (Granola bars, brownie mix, Whatever your family likes!)
Include non-food items in your 3 month food storage plan
Get a 3 month supply of NECESSITIES such as
Laundry & Dish soap
medications and pain killers,
Basic First Aid Kit,
a space heater and firewood
an alternative power source,
Extra Warm Clothing,
Portable Gas Stove and extra propane canisters,
Alternative / Emergency Power Sources
9 // Take shorter showers and less often.
According to a study done by Boston University, you can save 10 gallons of water just by shorting your shower time by 2 minutes! [source] That means you save water, electricity, and money! This is an easy change that you can do to have a more eco-friendly home. Other studies show its is not necessary and can be unhealthy to bathe every day or more.
10 // Shop secondhand
When you choose secondhand shopping over buying new, you are saving resources to make the items.
Textiles & Clothing
You save all of these resources when you choose a secondhand item.
This includes saving on the following resources:
You save all of these resources when you choose a secondhand item, because the resources have already been used.
11 // Shop locally
While this isn’t directly related to inside your home, it is better for a sustainable lifestyle. Supporting local businesses keeps money in the local community. Shopping locally also reduces the amount of resources needed to ship products to the store for you to purchase.
Who would you rather support?
local small business owner
Prefer a local small business owner. That isn’t to say don’t buy bananas from South America, but I do your best to source locally first.
12 // Choose recycled products over new
Going back to the point of purchasing secondhand products, you should also choose recycled products over new. Yes, recycled products do use resources to be recreated. However, it is far less than sourcing for new products.
13// Use natural beauty products
Beauty products are some of the most toxic things you can have in your home. Switching to natural beauty products needs to be higher up on your list, so that you aren’t poisoning your body or loosing your hair. Example: https://www.target.com/p/native-almond-38-shea-butter-strengthening-shampoo-16-5-fl-oz/-/A-80120270. https://www.byrdie.com/best-natural-shampoos-4586441
Your skin absorbs everything you put on it, so make sure you only use natural products that are actually healthy for your skin.
14 // Use natural cleaning products & personal care products
One of the best eco-friendly home swaps you can do is replace conventional cleaners with natural cleaning products. Conventional products are toxic for you to breathe and cleaning with them can do more harm to your health than good. Educate yourself on contents to avoid. Use vinegar and soda as much as possible. Use loofas and cotton wash cloths and natural bristle brushes whenever possible.
EXAMPLE PRODUCT SOURCE: https://proteazerowaste.com/collections/all-products
15 // Decorate with houseplants & open doors & windows during good weather -Depending on which houseplants you choose, you can purify the quality of air within your home. This means you are living healthier and have beautiful plants to care for and admire.
16 // Have an edible landscape
You can plant anything with available space, which means that the only resources needed to grow food is if you need to water the plant. Did you know that certain flowers are edible? Choose edible flowers like lavender, hibiscus, nasturtiums, pansies, or roses. How fun would it be to create an edible landscape that you can forage as you work in it like a vegetable garden? Enjoy a pretty vine plant? Cucumbers, peas, and pole beans are all great options. Where you can, grow food & change your lawn to an edible garden.
17 // Install solar panels, wind & other alternative independent energies
Want to go off the grid? Create your own energy with solar panels! This is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, because you pull energy from the sun versus the grid. Read this post by Energy Sage about the ten benefits of solar energy.
18 // Use natural air fresheners, soaps, shampoos & other skin care products
In an eco-friendly home, it is very important to use natural air fresheners. Conventional candles, and stove top simmer recipes are great, but aren’t the best for creating a greener house. Opt for essential oils to diffuse, coconut wax candles with essential oils, and DIY mason jar lamps [to replace stove top simmer recipes]. Aerosol sprays and conventional candles aren’t healthy. Artificial fragrances often contain harmful chemicals and companies are not required to state ingredients within the fragrance due to trademark secrets. By opting for an oil lamp, you still receive the benefits of a simmer recipe without using those resources.
19 // Opt for organic fabric bedding and all natural fibers in your home
When you choose organic fabric for your bedding and decor, you are giving your bedding and decor another use once it is no longer useful by reusing it in some capacity, then you can recycle or compost it. PLUS, it is much nicer to sleep and live in. Synthetic bedding can only be reused then tossed in the trash and taken to the landfill and often peel and age quickly.
20 // Choose a non-toxic mattress
Conventional mattresses are very toxic. They can contain petroleum-based foam and synthetic latex, chemical flame retardants, and vinyl. Instead, you should opt for a non-toxic mattress. Example: Brentwood Home mattress, specifically the Oceano Luxury Hybrid Mattress. The materials used in it include Checkout my favorite mattress by Brentwood Home now!:
CertiPUR-US® certified cooling, gel-infused memory foam
LOTS organic certified cotton and wool
sustainably-sourced plant-based Tencel fibers from eucalyptus trees.
It is made without chemical or synthetic fiber flame retardants.
21 // Install energy-efficient windows & doors
Similar to insulating your home, especially in extreme climates, windows keep your home running efficiently. If you have old, single pane windows, consider replacing them with double pane, energy-efficient windows to prevent inside air getting out and vice versa.
22 // Use VOC-free paint
VOC [Volatile Organic Compound] paint is toxic to breathe. It can cause several side effects including headaches and nausea. Opt for VOC-free paint. It is friendlier for the environment and your health.To dive deeper into why you should steer clear of VOC paint, read this article by the EPA.
23 // Buy recycled toilet paper or install a bidet
When shopping for recycled toilet paper is to also look for plastic-free wrapped toilet paper. Here is an option from Amazon that is popular and does ship plastic free.
24 // Get a Kindle and purchase digital books and read news online
Physical books use a lot of resources to create and store. By opting for ebooks, you can have a library full of books without using the resources physical books need to be created. Many are a fan of physical books, but we can also enjoy the minimalistic options a Kindle provides. If you read a lot of books, you can take advantage of Kindle Unlimited, which actually saves you money compared to purchasing each book in a physical format. Also there are many audio books when having time to read yourself is difficult.
25 // Add ART and personal things that bring meaning to your unique home
It’s FUN & REWARDING
Choosing a sustainable lifestyle is a commitment, but it doesn’t have to be a burden when you approach it one change at a time. To successfully create an eco-friendly home, you have to be diligent and intentional. The good news is that you get to start with simple swaps and can choose how to navigate a greener house from there. In the end you have a much more delightful and healthy space. It isn’t about doing all the things at once to create an eco-friendly home, but rather doing what you can and continuing to implement changes when you’re ready. Created your space to live more simply and sustainably and consciously. It’s more SATISFYING & MEANINGFUL