Create an eco-friendly home

GO NATURAL: Earth-friendly flooring doesn’t mean bland and boring. PHOTO: Shutterstock

Whether you’re building from the ground up or enhancing an existing home, I have some ideas you may want to consider to ensure an environmentally friendly home is the end result.

Sustainable materials

You might not want to go as far as converting a Boeing 727 or a railway carriage into a home, but if you can adopt a reuse-recycle practice and source materials locally, your home – and the environment – will be better off for it. Whether using recycled materials in large or small areas, it can mean huge savings and emphasise features of your home.

Outdoor elements

Design your roof to take advantage of the elements by planting a rooftop garden. Functional and aesthetically appealing, not only does this help to insulate your home during colder months, but it also reduces storm water, purifies the air and increases the life and performance of a roof.

Star quality

Pull the plug on inefficient appliances including whiteware, home electronics, heating and lighting. Items, such as fridges, which are more than 10-15 years old can inflate running costs and are likely to be more harmful to the environment. Thanks to the energy-rating labels found on most products, it’s easy to be smart about energy efficiency. Look out for Energy Star-qualified appliances to know you’re contributing to a cleaner environment.

Off the grid

With a consistent, clean and free stream of energy from the sun, solar panels are a worthwhile option if you want to generate your electricity, reduce your power bill and protect the environment. Commonly installed on roofs, solar panels have many advantages including no nasty emissions or greenhouse gases, no noise pollution and easy maintenance. Consider making the switch for long-term benefits.

Small but effective

Continue eco-friendly elements throughout your home in any small way you can, including swapping standard light bulbs for LED lighting. If you’re building, make sure you plan effective lighting solutions from the beginning. Talk to lighting experts who understand lighting system trends and who will ensure you choose quality LED products that will emphasise features of your interior, such as timber and fabrics, and reduce glare. If you’re prone to leaving the lights on in the house, opt for motion-sensor lights to reduce wasted energy.

Natural flooring

With all of the foot traffic that takes place in a home, flooring needs to be tough enough to take a good few knocks, spills and dirt, but earth-friendly flooring doesn’t mean bland and boring. There are many durable flooring options, which have both underfoot comfort and style qualities, as well as the ability to beautify your space. Think smooth pebble tiles, terrazzo and concrete, linoleum, bamboo, cork, reclaimed wood and glass.

Clean burning

Combine heat and beauty by embracing biofuel fires, an attractive compliment to your indoor or outdoor space. A clean alternative to log and gas fires, a biofuel fire doesn’t produce smoke, ash or embers and nor require a flue or chimney. Quality and stylish designs means you can easily match a product to accommodate your lifestyle and living quarters.