In the modern world, many people are looking beyond the addition of luxury items to their homes and are considering the wider environmental impact of their lifestyles. This quest for environmental sustainability does not depend on just one or two large changes to domestic life but can consist of a number of small changes that are easy and inexpensive to implement, as well as beneficial to the wider world.
Ideas for environmentally friendly changes in the home
There are undeniably large projects that can be undertaken in a home which would considerably contribute to domestic sustainability. One of the bigger trends in recent years has been towards the installation of domestic solar panels, which some claims suggest can repay their own cost in terms of reductions in electricity bills over a relatively short time span. Other substantial ideas include ways to reduce the amount of energy wasted, as in the installation of effective insulation to conserve heat.
Changes to domestic routines can also make environmentally friendly improvements. More and more local authorities provide the opportunity to recycle materials such as paper, cardboard, glass and metal, for example. Meanwhile, organic material from the kitchen can quite easily be fed into a composting process in the garden. Other simple ideas for saving electricity, and thereby lowering both the costs and the environmental load, include changing to energy-efficient light bulbs, not boiling a full kettle of water if only one cup is required, turning off the tap when brushing teeth, and making sure that phone rechargers are unplugged when not in use. Water used indoors, such as for bathing and washing up, can be reused in the garden.
The importance of buying responsibly
Being environmentally aware in terms of buying items for the home does not mean reducing standards. For electrical goods, the energy efficiency rating gives a good indication of the environmental load. Moreover, when buying larger items such as furniture, many attractive pieces can be found that both meet the expected standards of high quality and incorporate environmentally friendly aspects of interior design ideas. The environmental effects of furniture can be attributed to any point in its life-cycle, from the sourcing of materials to the processes used in construction to whether the parts can be recycled when they are no longer needed. An environmentally responsible buyer will consider all these aspects when choosing a product.
Environmentally aware furniture manufacturers
A number of furniture manufacturers make the buying decision easier for customers through their own environmentally-aware processes and programmes. Ercol is an example of a furniture manufacturer that sources wood from naturally regenerative forests; this pursues an ethical and environmentally friendly policy in finding and using raw materials. During the construction of Ercol furniture, the wood is waxed by hand and the variations in the wood patterns that naturally occur are used in the design of attractive pieces. In addition, Ercol brings customers the opportunity to reupholster furniture, meaning that when a chair seat becomes worn, for instance, the whole article does not need to be thrown out but can be given a new lease of life with fresh upholstery.