10 Ways To Make Your Home More Sustainable Now
If you’re looking to dip your toes into sustainable design but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. We asked top experts in Canada — Goodee‘s Byron and Dexter Peart, Meg Graham and Andre D’Elia, co-principals of buzzy architecture firm Superkül and designer Kelly Anderson, who coaches homeowners on the art of de-cluttering and decorating — on how you can minimize your environmental footprint at home. With their eco-chic tips in mind, you can transform your space into a sanctuary that Mother Earth herself would approve of — keep reading to get inspired!
Develop A Green Thumb
Not only does bringing plants indoors create a lush, restorative feel, it also purifies the surrounding atmosphere. “Plants act as a natural air filter,” says Byron.
Shop For Second Life Items
“Gradually replenish home products and materials with sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives by looking for items that are made with recycled or upcycled materials,” says Byron. In curator Pamela Meredith’s home, carved knife shapes were inspired from driftwood found on Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Invest In Timeless Pieces
“Be mindful of the longevity of a product when purchasing new furniture or accents,” says Dexter. “Investing in timeless, quality items will ensure they stand the test of time.”
Upgrade To High-Performance Windows
“Sealing any air leaks around windows will increase the air tightness of your home and reduce heat and cooling loss, which means you can lower the thermostat in the winter and don’t have to run the air conditioner as hard in the summer,” says Meg.
Pick Renewable Building Materials
“Renewable materials and materials with lower embodied carbon have a smaller environmental footprint,” says Meg. “Choose wood over steel or concrete where you can — the extraction, manufacturing and transportation of wood products emits less carbon dioxide.”
Save Energy At Home
“You can save significant amounts of energy and money by using a programmable thermostat to reduce energy use in off-hours, overnight and when you are away,” says Andre. “There’s also the easy stuff: switching to LED lights, and using blinds or curtains to reduce heat gain in the summer.”
Repurpose Pieces You Already Own
“Often times we have beautiful options for furnishing and decorating in our home already – we just aren’t using them creatively,” says Kelly. “For example, you could use baskets, quilts, your kids’ art or even round placemats as unique wall art. A dining hutch could be painted and turned into beautiful storage for linens in a hallway or bathroom and an old dining chair or stool painted a fun color could work as a bedside table for kids or guest room.”
Shop Vintage When You Can
“Buying vintage and antique furniture means you aren’t consuming new goods and it also means you aren’t bringing new toxic chemicals from plastics and man-made fabrics into your home,” she says. “Make it a habit to look for used pieces first.”
Decorate Using Nature
“Birch branches leaning in a corner, a wood stump stool from a local maker, and even interesting rocks on a tray are naturally beautiful and become conversation pieces,” says Kelly. “Pick up things from vacations like shells and sea glass, and display them in jars on a shelf or use salvaged driftwood to add texture and warmth to a wall.”
Opt For Eco-Friendly Flooring & Countertops
“When the time comes to upgrade or switch out design elements like countertops, look for composite or bio-glass counters made with recycled glass or paper,” says Kelly. “Cork is a sustainable option for flooring, as is recycled hardwood and linoleum, which is biodegradable and made from rapidly renewable materials.”