How to Design an Eco-Friendly Apartment
Your home should be a safe place where you can relax and unwind, feeling absolutely protected from the outside world. But, how safe are our apartments, really? The truth is, an average apartment contains hundreds of pollutants and toxic chemicals that are harmful both to humans and the environment. Additionally, there are various items that do tremendous harm to nature during their production and transport process. So, if you want to live in a greener and healthier environment, here’s what you can do.
Choose eco-friendly materials
Sure, hardwood is beautiful, but it also carries a variety of environmental issues with it. Wood harvesting is getting out of hand, and a lot of chemicals are being used in wood coating and sealing processes. On the other hand, materials like bamboo, cork, glass and concrete are much more sustainable and eco-friendly, and they look quite stylish.
Opt for natural textiles
Textiles we put in our home can be quite harmful—they can be hazardous to our health and air quality. For instance, a new area rug made of artificial materials can off-gas for weeks and release chemicals into your indoor air (you might recognize that familiar new-things smell in your home). The best thing you can do is invest in items that are made of organic, natural materials. Textiles that are dyed with natural dyes and have no extra finish are probably the greenest option.
Your carpet isn’t the only thing that off-gases. Most wall paints can also release gasses that are harmful for both people and the environment. Traditional paints contain VOCs that can cause nausea, headaches, respiratory problems and severe irritation. Luckily, today, there are low- or zero-VOC paints that are much greener and healthier.
Reduce energy waste
A very cheap, fast and eco-friendly way to stop energy waste caused by drafts is to improve your window treatments. Some studies show that having neutrally-colored drapes with white plastic backing can save more than 30% cooling and heating losses. These window treatments will block cold draft and keep hot air from escaping during winter. On the other hand, they will shade your interior from sun and keep your home cool in the summer. This will both save you money and reduce energy consumption (and make your home look stylish). You can also invest in Energy Star appliances, replace traditional bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs and maybe even check out some smart thermostats. All of these items will allow you to save energy, money and the planet.
Every year, the supply of fresh water is decreasing due to droughts and water pollution, so water conservation is more important than ever before. However, we still waste almost 50% of all water in the household! For instance, one of the most common and easy to handle plumbing issues in Australia is leaky taps and toilets. These leaks can add up to around 10,000 gallons of wasted water a year, yet many people choose to ignore them! So don’t be irresponsible and make sure to find someone as experienced as a good plumber from Melbourne who will stop all the leaks and prevent this tremendous water waste. Another thing you can do is invest in aerators that regulate water pressure and buy low-flow showerhead and toilet. There are also Energy Star washing machines and dishwashers that save both electricity and water. They have an amazing modern design and will be a great addition to any green apartment.
Decorate with plants
Many studies show the beneficial effect of indoor plants. They make people feel happier, less stressed, more focused and motivated. But, probably the biggest advantage of keeping greenery indoors is its ability to filter the air. Some plants have an amazing power to filter out toxins, absorb chemicals, soak up heavy metals and replenish the air with oxygen. So, don’t hesitate to add plants to your home and make it truly green and healthy. Some indoor plants, like herbs, can also double as food—a win-win situation! Additionally, plants are highly decorative. For instance, green walls or vertical gardens can act as an amazing design statement.
These are just some of the easiest and most effective ways to green up your apartment and create an eco-friendly environment for you and your family. Plus, you’ll help our Mother Earth and ensure a green and healthy future for your kids, grand-kids and all other generations who are yet to step on this beautiful planet.