In a society that is now climate-conscious, we all should be doing everything we can as a community to find ways to make our lives more sustainable. We are all used to being environmentally conscious when it comes to recycling – here in Japan we are famous across the entire world for our recycling techniques!
However, there is always more to be done to help our planet. One of the things we can do is try to make our apartments more sustainable – in other words, create an eco-friendly home.
Whilst we might not be able to change the architectural design of our houses to make these eco-friendly homes, we can make small changes inside our apartments. When we are planning the interior space of our apartments, for example, we can keep the idea of ‘sustainable design in our minds to make sure we make environmentally friendly choices.
Whether it’s to do with using more sustainable materials, creating cleaner air with houseplants, incorporating natural light sources, or reducing waste with minimalism, there are many small changes we can make to begin turning our apartments into eco-friendly homes.
What is Sustainability?
To be sustainable means to be used without causing a negative effect in the future. For example, we now know that using coal and other fossil fuels is negatively affecting our planet and our climate – this means that these forms of fuel are unsustainable.
Green energy, or sustainable energy, however, has a positive or neutral effect on the environment. For example, we can use water power or solar power, and this is great for the environment because it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases!
Sustainable design is all about using these sustainable energy resources, like incorporating solar panels and using solar power. Creating an eco-friendly home means that the home will not have a negative impact on the climate.
Choose Environmentally Friendly Materials for an Eco-Friendly Home
A great way to begin with sustainable design is by using environmentally friendly, or ‘green’, materials. Bamboo is an eco-friendly material – and it looks traditional and stylish too. Because bamboo grows so quickly and is 100% biodegradable, it is considered a sustainable material.
Using bamboo-made products is much better for the planet than products made out of rare woods (trees take a long time to regrow!) and bamboo is especially better for the environment than plastic. If you want an eco-friendly home, then you should try to use more bamboo products. This is a cheap and easy way to get into sustainable design.
Other green materials are cork, recycled plastics, and recycled metals. Recycling and reusing is a great way to become more sustainable.
Sustainable Design – Reuse & Rescue
One of the biggest factors that make us unsustainable is to do with waste. Today, many people believe in always owning the ‘newest’ things – the newest TV, the newest laptop – and we have the same attitude when it comes to the design of our homes too.
Many people want new furniture. However, this means that a lot of furniture is thrown away and wasted. This is unsustainable. A big part of sustainable design is about reusing and even rescuing old things from being wasted. This includes furniture.
If you are furnishing your apartment and want to consider more of a sustainable design, why not consider rescuing and reusing older furniture? There are many vintage and 2nd-hand stores where you will be able to find old furniture. You might even be able to find things that your neighbors are throwing away.
Remember, just because other people don’t want something doesn’t mean it’s bad quality. Additionally, if you are concerned about hygiene, old furniture is easy to clean and sanitize. To keep clean, generally, avoid things made out of fabric – these can be more difficult to clean. Good luck hunting!
There is nothing like moving into an apartment and thinking: “Wow, look at all this space!” Without furniture, our apartments really do look ginormous. However, when we start moving all of our things in, that space soon becomes taken and suddenly we have no space at all.
Do you really need all of your things? Sometimes, less is more. And whilst we don’t advocate that you throw out all of your possessions – that would be unsustainable – think twice about buying new products. Maybe you don’t need them, maybe you’d prefer to have the space without them! There’s a good reason why minimalism is becoming more and more popular!
At the end of the day, if you are someone who throws many things away, perhaps limiting yourself on how many things you buy is a good way to reduce waste in the long run.
Start embracing minimalism and you will also be embracing sustainable design. Less is more. Less things, less waste. If you need more minimalist design tips, refer to our blog article here for more ideas.
Let Houseplants Clean Your Airspace
Bring the outdoors indoors. In dense cities with such heavy traffic, our airspace can get filled with nasty pollution. Houseplants are natural air filters. By taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen they are naturally recycling greenhouse gases and replacing them with clean oxygen – which we all need to breathe!
As a bonus, houseplants are a great way to liven up your interior spaces – and they’re sustainable. Our blog article on DIY herb gardens will give you a great way to decorate your home with plants that are also sustainable cooking ingredients!
Use Natural Light to Help Conserve Heat and Save on Energy Bills
If you want to be sustainable and save a little bit of money, then try to prioritize using natural light where you can. If you’re sitting in your apartment in the daytime with the shutters down and you have to turn on the lights to save yourself sitting in the dark – this isn’t necessary. Let the light in, open the shutters and make the most out of the natural light sources.
You should already be thinking about switching to eco-friendly light bulbs if you haven’t already installed these in your apartments. However, do try to use natural light as much as possible. And, as a bonus, it’s good for you! The natural light from sunlight is a good source of vitamin D. Not only will you be helping yourself by getting more daylight, but you’ll also be saving energy and will be helping the environment too.
Choosing ways to let the natural light into your living space be sure to positively brighten up your home! Refer to our blog article on Apartment Energy Saving Tips for more ways to conserve energy in your home.
Start Today – Help the Climate for Tomorrow
There is no time like the present to begin making your eco-home. Embrace sustainable design and begin helping the climate – if we all try, we will make a difference and we can make the world better for future generations. Make one change today and help the world for tomorrow.