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How to be More Eco Friendly at Home

Eco apartment london doclands

At Ecofox we’re always looking for simple ways to be more eco-conscious in our daily lives; you don’t have to take big steps to help make a difference, there are a lot of small things that you can do at home to make your life greener, that are so simple you won’t even notice, and can even save you money! Recently my partner and I moved into a new apartment which was a great opportunity to try and implement some more eco-friendly practices into our daily lives; over the next month we set about sanding, painting, re-doing the
floors, and finally the fun part – decorating!

Philips smart home bulbs.

Smart Home
One of the first things I always do when I move into a new home is replace the light bulbs with LEDs. There are so many reasons to switch to LED bulbs but for me the cost savings are one of the most attractive reasons to make the switch. Not only do they consume vastly less electricity compared to traditional bulbs – up to 95% less – they last 10 to 15 times longer so there is a double saving!

This time I decided to up the game and go for the smart home experience! First on the list of course, were the Phillips Hue smart lights – LED lights that you can dim and change the colour of, all from your smartphone. I’ve searched endlessly for a more affordable version of these but to be honest there are no others that compare with the quality and functionality. Standard LED bulbs use between 2 Watts and 17 Watts, and these use around 5.4 Watts, so they are certainly among the most energy efficient. A dimmer switch is also a small way that you can lower your energy consumption, so this is a great way of adding this function to your lights without having to wire in a new switch on the wall, since you can do it all with your smartphone.

Next, I wanted to be able to better manage our heating. Storage heaters are no longer regarded with the same favour as years gone by, and having radiators installed would have been expensive and impractical. Thankfully there are some fantastic electric radiators on the market with settings that allow you to only have the heaters on when you really need them.

Eco plug timer fitting

Ours unfortunately couldn’t be fully turned off, they could only be put in a “low” state, but I got around this with some Wi-Fi smart plugs from Teckin. Using an app on my phone I can set schedules for the morning and evening and have the heaters off during the day/night when they aren’t needed. Not only does this save on energy, you can always have warm underwear in the morning!

The really great thing is, these plugs allow you to make virtually any device a “smart device”, giving you far greater control over your energy usage! The app that manages the plugs also has a feature that allows you to properly track your power consumption, which can help you make decisions on how best to conserve energy.

Fairtrade crochet wool throw

Eco Décor
Of course, having so many amazing products literally a wall away from my desk, I’m constantly making use of my staff discount! These days being eco-conscious is of concern to a much wider proportion of the population and brands are beginning to recognise this, creating eco-friendly products with a modern touch, not just the “hippy” sort of products traditionally associated with the eco movement.

Sustainable fair trade crochet cushion

Eco products could be ethically sourced, locally sourced, made from sustainable materials, handmade… the list goes on! Some of my favourite items that I’ve gotten from Ecofox are a crochet throw, and the matching cushions – I love that they add a warm rustic feel to an otherwise quite modern room. This is a simple change that you can make in your day to day lives – almost everything you can buy, right down to cleaning and hygiene products, have an eco-counterpart. In most cases there is very little difference in price, and it’s a great feeling knowing you’re doing some
good for the earth so really, it’s a no brainer!

One thing that did take me quite some time to decide on was a bin – I wanted something with separate compartments for recycling, of a reasonable capacity, and I wanted it to look good, a strange wish I know, and one that proved quite tough to realise at a reasonable price. Thankfully I got lucky and picked up the Joseph Joseph Totem 60 in TK Maxx for €87, less than half the RRP.

Eco bio degradable wheelie bin bag

 

Recycling is something that’s at the core of the eco movement and is by far the easiest practice to take up on a daily basis! Most refuse collection companies will offer general, recycling, and compost bins – while the general and compost bins are charged per weight (albeit the compost is a lot cheaper than general), the recycling bin is free, and you don’t even have to sort into multiple bins, so really it makes perfect sense to recycle more, doing your bit to save the environment and save money at the same time! And don’t forget too to use degradable bin bags – another really small change you can make but a really simple way to reduce your usage of harmful plastics.

After all that, it’s really the little things that make a house a home, and one thing we’ve both been able to agree are a must have in the home are candles! This is something that you can almost always source locally, there are loads of people all across the country who make amazing candles, and these are usually very reasonably priced. Most handmade candles will be scented with essential oils rather than chemicals which is better for the environment, and also smells amazing!

Irish made eco soy candles

Choosing to purchase from local suppliers rather than from larger stores for smaller items like these, as well as some food produce, is a great way to help lower you carbon footprint as the goods do not have to travel as far to reach you! For most of our small decorations I have tried where possible to shop close to home – there might not be quite as much choice as is available online but the products are of a higher quality, are often more sustainable, and by shopping local you are also boosting the economy in your community which as a small business is something we can
really appreciate!

These are just a few of the things that we’ve done at home to be a bit eco-friendlier. They’re not big changes but making the switch to greener products, and being more conscious of energy consumption, are really easy ways that we can all do our bit to aid the environment. We’d love to hear some of the things that you’ve done to make your lives greener. Have your say in the comments section below!

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