COVID has forced us to think about sustainability. COVID forced a million people to work remotely, and, at the height of the pandemic, people around the globe spent 27% more time at home while working, socializing, and relaxing.
Public opinion around the climate crisis has also shifted recently. The majority of adult Americans now believe that global warming is real and caused by human activities. Most citizens want to see their local and national governments do more to address global warming.
However, if you’re a homeowner, you can make sustainability your focus beyond a few switches.
Recent developments in tech can help you incorporate eco-friendly gadgets into your daily life, and a sustainable remodel might be just what your home needs to look great and help in the fight against climate change.
Upgrades and Gadgets
Most gadgets demand a constant energy supply and can cause a severe spike in your CO2 emissions. Even minor improvements like garden sprinklers and hardwood floors can be unsustainable if you don’t take care when choosing materials and your irrigation system.
Fortunately, plenty of eco-friendly gadgets are on the market to help you step up your commitment to sustainability at home. Opting for more eco-friendly devices doesn’t mean you must turn your back on AC units or read by candlelight.
Some of the best eco-friendly gadgets work seamlessly with your current lifestyle to tweak your energy usage and reduce your footprint. For example, appliances like the Nest thermostat automatically adapt your AC and heating based on your daily routine to save you money on your energy bill and reduce your energy usage.
Similarly, a simple, smart plug can help you track your usage and identify “energy vampires” like inefficient appliances or faulty power chargers. Over time, you can use the data you collect from smart plugs to plan more significant upgrades and remodels, aiding you in running a more sustainable household.
Redesigns Based on Sustainability
Filling your home with eco-friendly gadgets is an excellent way to reduce CO2 usage and lower energy bills. However, piecemealing your way toward a sustainable home isn’t as effective as an eco-friendly remodel. Minimalist, eco-friendly remodels are currently on-trend, and you can find plenty of inspiration online to bolster your plans.
If you’re considering a remodel, you’re probably familiar with the supply chain issues that occurred during the COVID pandemic and continue wreaking havoc on tradesmen and contractors. With hang-ups and inflated prices, it’s tempting to go with the cheapest, fastest supplier you can find.
However, you must resist the urge to deal with the cheapest suppliers. Instead, research and find out more about your potential supplier’s carbon footprint.
During your research, you’ll likely discover that most cheap suppliers have been holding excess stock during the pandemic due to poor planning and environmental disregard. As a consumer, you can reduce the environmental impact of excess stock by sidestepping these firms and opting for companies that calculate their turnover ratio and willingly share their carbon costs.
If you are struggling to find a supplier that meets your sustainability standards, it may be time to get creative and opt for innovative eco-friendly materials like self-healing cement, light-emitting concrete, or pollution-absorbing bricks. These materials, invented to better suit our post-COVID world, are uncommon and can be a little pricey, but they’re sure to pay off in the long run and help reduce your overall footprint.
Food and Produce
Food emissions account for around 30% of the world’s overall carbon footprint. The food industry also uses massive land and water, while 133 billion pounds of food go to waste yearly.
You can circumvent some of the food industry’s unsustainable practices by growing your own produce at home. This might sound like a daunting challenge at first, but you don’t need to ultimately convert your garden into an allotment to start growing your produce.
Start small and choose fruits that are relatively easy to grow. Amongst your shortlist should be tomatoes, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. These fruits are easy to grow and suit most climates in the US. Your actual crop isn’t essential in your first year of growing — you’re just trying to build momentum and get to grips with the basics of growing crops at home.
Unfortunately, few of us can afford the time or effort to go entirely off the grid. However, you can celebrate the efforts of sustainability by choosing to buy more of your produce from farmer markets, as small-scale farmers tend to have a lower carbon footprint and opt for organic, sustainable practices.
Entering a post-COVID world is a daunting challenge for everyone — homeowners included. But you can do your bit in the fight against climate change by utilizing tech upgrades like Nest thermostats or light-emitting concrete, which reduce your heating and electricity usage. If tech isn’t your thing, you can still reduce your home’s carbon footprint by growing your product or buying from local farmers who are just as committed to sustainability as you are.