Despite it seeming like you can’t be both environmentally responsible and have a beautiful living space, this is not at all true! Here are six ways you can improve the look and feel of your home, but also take care of the planet, as we only have one.
1. Shop Vintage
Vintage shopping is not just for clothes – there are some amazing vintage furniture stores popping up all over the place, both bricks and mortar, and online. Buying vintage, upcycled and pre-loved furniture and homewares makes sure you’re not adding to your carbon footprint and possibly nabbing a great deal at the same time. ‘A new (made in China) chest of drawers has a carbon footprint 16 times higher than the antique equivalent, according to research commissioned by the International Antiques and Collectors Fairs (IACF).’ https://www.gorringes.co.uk/news/environmental-benefits-buying-antiques-vs-modern-furniture
Some of our favourite vintage picks are: En Gold (Melbourne), Saucd (Brisbane) and Curated Spaces (Online).
Photo Credit: Curated Spaces https://www.curatedspaces.com.au/collections/vintage-furniture/products/fossil-plinth-glass-top-table
We here at Semper love indoor and outdoor plants and their benefits are endless. As most wall paints, rubbers, laminates, plastics and computer parts break down over time, they will release compounds into the environment and the air we breathe. The good news is that any easy and effective way to improve indoor air quality is with plants! They absorb harmful toxins by breaking the down into gentle byproducts for later use, as well as absorbing CO2 and adding more oxygen.
It’s always a good idea to make sure to check your allergies and asthma so you don’t get any reaction, but we’ve chosen some low-impact plants that do very well indoors for you to consider. Some of our favourite (and low maintenance for all the brown thumbed people out there) indoor plants for improving air quality are: Snake Plant, Pothos, Rubber Plant, Peace Lily and Philodendron.
3. Low-flow shower head
Unfortunately, water is a very precious resource these days and we all need to do what we can to conserve it. Older shower heads can use up to 25 litres per minute, which is a lot of water, and really adds to hot water and electricity costs. With the right shower head, you can lower this to 5 litres per minute and not affect the quality of your shower, which is a win for everyone. If you used your shower for 10 minutes a day, this saving is 18,250 litres per year – not to mention the money savings on your bill!
At Semper, we always strive to find beautiful tapware that is also environmentally friendly and many tapware companies are now moving towards eco-friendly technology. For example, Brodware’s Broclean water management technology uses constant flow controls that are not affected by pressure. A final thing to note is ensuring that all of your water products are WELS compliant (https://www.waterrating.gov.au/enforce/our-approach).
(Check out the ah-mazing new Nanobar mixer from Brodware below !!)
Photo Credit: Brodware https://brodware.com/product-category/contemporary/nanobar/
4. Lighting using LED
Proper lighting can really improve the look, feel and enjoyment of spaces in your home. There are thousands of ways to light a space and just as many ways to make your lighting choices more sustainable.
Here’s a list of some easy ways to light your space in a sustainable way:
· Switch your bulbs to LEDs. Seems like a no-brainer, but switching to LED bulbs from incandescent bulbs can save energy and you money on your power bills. Also, LED bulbs last, on average, 25 times longer which saves you money, time and changes!
· Tasking lighting and lamps in tactical locations, like having reading lights near your bed so you don’t need to light the entire room which will save you power.
· Installing dimmers – dimmers control the energy output and wattage of your lights which saves power, extends their lives and makes for great mood lighting!
You can also purchase from sustainable vendors. Many local vendors will provide sustainable options and buying from them also helps support small business. One of our favourites are Marz Design: they not only use gorgeous timbers and natural products but they are also members of the One Tree Planted program. With every purchase a tree is planted.
(See below for their Bright Beads Table Sphere that we are COMPLETELY obsessed with!)
Photo Credit: Marz Designs https://marzdesigns.com/product/lighting/bright-beads/bright-beads-table-sphere-2/
5. Windows and sky lights
When it comes to introducing eco-friendly practices into your daily routine and implementing eco-friendly solutions across your household, double glazed windows make for some of the most cost-effective additions with long-term eco-friendly benefits. In simple terms, double glazed windows help keep
warmth in during winter and out during summer, meaning you don’t have to rely as heavily on gas and electricity temperature controls to keep your home comfortable. This alone can save 700kg of carbon gas emissions per house per year, which is great for everyone!
Another way is to install skylights and solar tubes (if possible) in your home. This allows natural light to flow throughout your home, which we at Semper think looks and feels better, and means you don’t need to rely on artificial lighting as much during daylight hours.
Photo Credit: Kennedy Nolan http://www.kennedynolan.com.au/
6. Choose a designer and builder who shares your views and values
Choosing local trades cuts down on carbon emissions as there is less travel involved – not to mention the benefits it provides for the local economy. Also, another way to ensure your builder is eco-friendly is to check if they are a ‘Greensmart Professional’ (this is an accreditation builders can undergo to hone their green building or design skills, maintain professional development obligations, and promote their services as being sustainable and environmentally aware).
By choosing a designer that is environmentally conscious you’ll ensure your project has the least impact possible. A good designer will make sure all your needs are met while also making sure to make the best choices for our planet and its sustainability. At Semper we constantly strive to make sure we are using the most ethical and environmentally conscious methods and products in all our work. If you are looking to renovation or build your home or business with an eco-friendly designer please get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.