Live Sustainably at Home – According to LiLu
These days, everywhere you look, you see the word “sustainable”. It’s used to sell everything from metal straws and plastic-free shampoo bars to bigger things like electric cars and solar panels. With all the buzz about sustainability, it can be hard, as a consumer, to sift through all the mire and form a clear understanding of sustainable living, while also shifting your spending to sustainable products. Having worked on projects that center sustainability as a client’s value, we know a thing or two about how to truly live sustainably in the context of your home. So, whether you’re buying a new home, building one, or simply revamping the one you’ve known and loved, feel free to use this as a guide to living sustainably at home.
Living More Sustainably is an intention more of our clients are working toward. It is one of our work categories in our portfolio for that reason!
Right Size Your Home
One majorly relevant aspect of reducing your carbon foot is space. Most families in the US have homes with lots of unused space. If you’re incorporating sustainability into your lifestyle and buying or designing a new home, choosing a home with fewer formal spaces that are used infrequently can increase efficiency, both of your day-to-day activities and of heating and electricity, which use up energy. A study by Jeanne Arnold and her team looked at how 32 families lived in their homes and how they really used the amount of space in their homes. What they found was surprising. This image from the study shows that only about half the space in a typical main floor is used by a family of four. So, correctly sizing your home is a key component of living sustainably at home. Click here to get the book about this interesting experiment.
Choose Local, Durable, Renewable Materials
Often, the environmental points a product racks up are determined by the materials used to make it, as well as where those materials come from. To prioritize sustainability when designing or updating any part of your home, keep in mind to choose products made from local, durable, and renewable materials as much as possible. Unfortunately, flying goods from one country to the next isn’t exactly a win for our planet, as planes are one of the least carbon-friendly forms of transportation. So, locally made goods are always a great option for living sustainably at home while supporting local makers in your community. Durability is important because part of living sustainably is using things for as long as you can. Instead of buying cheaper products that are less durable and bound to break and end up in a landfill sooner than later, you are wise to buy products that you trust will last you a long time.
Choose a Walkable Neighborhood
Especially if you are trying to incorporate living sustainably at home into the decision to buy or build a new home, location is everything! Depending on the area you live in, choosing a walkable neighborhood can reduce your carbon footprint by a lot. If you are able, choose a location that ensures you can walk or bike to the places you go most often. Not only will you reduce that carbon footprint and help in our collective mission to save the planet, but you might find that you enjoy the exercise and seeing new parts of a neighborhood you may not notice from your car.
Select Energy Efficient Appliances
Another aspect of making the choice to live sustainably at home is appliances. One of the biggest ways to up your sustainable game is to reduce your water, energy, and food waste – and the right appliances can help you do that. For example, refrigerators that keep your food fresh and allow you to easily see the food you already have are key to reducing food waste. A range with sous vide and induction option built in save energy and help you to cook your food perfectly, reducing food waste even more! In addition, induction ranges can heat a stockpot much faster than a gas cooktop (they’re fully electric) which is wonderful for your personal efficiency and energy efficiency! Signature Kitchen Appliances offer so many options for living sustainably at home with their forward-thinking appliances. For example, their upcoming refrigerator drawer with 6 modes (including pantry, fridge, bar, seafood, meat, or a freezer) reduces the number of appliances you actually need, saving energy and space!
Consider Solar or Other Alternative Energy Sources
Having solar panels as part of your home is likely to become commonplace in 2020’s. To stay steadfast on the trends, consider incorporating solar panels to your home sooner than later. Solar is a renewable energy source, meaning that it does not release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere like non-renewable energy sources do. Not only that, but solar panels rely on no one but the sun to generate electricity for your home. So, while adding an impressive number of solar panels to your roof may seem risky at first, it will save you a lot of money in the long run, while helping to save the planet. Other renewable energy sources, such as hydro-power or wind power, can also help you live sustainably at home.
Take a look at the interior of this Live Sustainably Home by LiLu Interiors here.
Using Energy Efficient Lighting
On that note, choosing energy-efficient lighting options can be a relatively simple, but important way to help you live sustainably at home. LED lights are one of the most popular energy-efficient light options on the market right now. If you are considering LED lighting in your home, make sure to pay attention to the Kelvin temperature of the light source. 2700K is the most similar to an incandescent light. We recommend going no further than 3000K to avoid having too bright, unnatural looking lights. Stay below this limit and you won’t even notice a difference!
Incorporate a Garden into Your Yard
I don’t know about you, but I experienced some serious garden-envy scrolling through garden feeds on Instagram last summer. But gardening is more than just an aesthetically pleasing and relaxing hobby, it’s also great for the environment! As we mentioned, buying locally made products is incredibly important for living sustainably at home. But buying locally grown food is great, too. With a robust vegetable garden in your yard, you’ll have the most local local produce a person can find: the produce that is grown by you, yourself. So, if you have some time on your hands, start planning a summer garden! You might find it gratifying, relaxing, and that it is the envy of all your neighbors (and Instagram followers).
Composting Can Be Easy to Adapt
To maintain your gorgeous garden, you might want to get your hands on some compost. If you’re wondering where you would possibly find compost, you’ll be glad to know that you can make your own (and that doing so can help you live sustainably at home even more). Composting can be easy to adapt into your lifestyle. Many cities have composting programs, and the high (and low) tech we have access to today can make composting and living sustainably at home even easier. If you’re interested in composting, check out some of the amazing compost containers on the market that can fit perfectly within your home and address your composting concerns.
Reuse, Repurpose, Reupholster
One of the key strategies you can use to live sustainably at home is to reuse, repurpose, or reupholster furniture you already have. We've written about this here if you'd like to learn more.
If you'd like to see an entire living room where we reused, reupholstered, and added 0nly a few new elements for a more sustainable approach to revamping a room. Click here to find out more!
As we ease into this new decade, more and more people are embracing sustainable lifestyles. We hope you can use this blog as a guide to incorporating living sustainably at home.
19 February, 2021 at 11:14 am
Love this post and great tips!!!
20 February, 2021 at 8:13 am
Lisa – great, comprehensive post. We really try to take a sustainable approach to our projects and you have added some new ideas to our arsenal. Thanks!
20 February, 2021 at 9:11 am
This is such an excellent post, Lisa. One of your very best. I love how you’ve given such a great range of tips, that can be implemented easily, in some cases, right away. Thank you for this.
20 February, 2021 at 9:41 am
So many thoughtful tips, and a great post.
20 February, 2021 at 9:53 am
What a terrific topic! Thanks for the ideas.
20 February, 2021 at 1:46 pm
These are such great tips!! I miss living in a walkable neighborhood!
20 February, 2021 at 3:16 pm
Such excellent advice, Lisa! This is such an important subject and you have offered so many achievable ways to address it!
21 February, 2021 at 11:31 am
What a brilliant post Lisa, and I love that it shows that there are many ways of introducing sustainable living into our homes, not just recycling or using solar energy! Great post filled with lots of advice!
21 February, 2021 at 11:45 am
This is such a great post, Lisa. I love that you break down where individuals and families can make smart choices for their families and our world.
I just recently watched a demonstration on Tesla’s solar roof system. I will be revisiting your blog as we design a new build in CO!
21 February, 2021 at 1:42 pm
I love this article so much and how you explain with beautiful graphics as well what sustainable really means so people really “get it”.