Sustainable living doesn’t have to mean going without luxury and convenience.

The everyday choices we make all have an impact on our planet and there are plenty of small changes you can make to live a less wasteful lifestyle.

Starting with your home, here are some simple steps that can help you protect the environment. You could even save money on household bills too.

Insulate your house

An important part of creating a more sustainable homelife is to reduce your family’s energy use by wasting less energy.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to do this. One of the most effective is to improve your home’s insulation, to help reduce heat loss and cut your carbon emissions. Better insulation can also help to keep your energy bills low.

There are many simple and cheap ways to insulate your home. For example, fitting your hot water cylinder with an insulating jacket could save you £20 a year in heating costs and 150kg of carbon dioxide emissions [1].

Grow some of your own food

Home grown food always seems to taste so much better – or maybe that’s just the flavour of pride, having produced your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Saving on packaging and transport, it’s another important step towards sustainable living. 

If you don’t have a large garden you can grow salad crops in window boxes, pots or growing bags. 

If you’re new to gardening, you can start with some of the easiest vegetables to grow

For anything you can’t grow yourself, try and buy it from local producers to reduce emissions.

Switch to natural cleaning products 

There are plenty of non-toxic alternatives to the harsh chemicals people normally use to clean their homes. They can be just as effective, too [2]

Popular brands include Ecover, Method and Bio-D. If you don’t know which one is right for you, be sure to check online reviews to find the best products. 

Use less water

Though you might not think this is a problem for the rainy UK, the water supply here and elsewhere is coming under increasing strain [3].

So, one way you can play your part is to use less water. This is mostly about getting into good habits. Here are just a few of the ways you can cut back on water use at home [4]:

  1. Turn off the tap when you clean your teeth. A running tap uses up to nine litres of water a minute.
  2. Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or your dishwasher. 
  3. If possible, take a shower instead of a bath. A five-minute shower uses about half as much water as a bath.
  4. Use a watering can in the garden instead of a sprinkler or hose. 
  5. Fit a water butt to collect rainwater off your roof and use it to water your plants.

Make the most of smart technology 

You can use smart home technology as a tool to help you create a more sustainable home.

Smart systems, including smart lightbulbs and heating systems, can make it easier to control settings for the rooms you’re using. You can often change settings remotely, too, which means you can turn appliances off if you left them on when you went out.

Breathe new life into old furniture

An important part of sustainable living is to repair or improve things rather than chucking them out and buying something new. 

A great example is old furniture. Using few resources - such as adding a lick of paint - you can upcycle and repurpose used bits of furniture and freshen up your home in the process.

Shop second-hand

If you need a new microwave or a pair of shoes, does it really need to be brand new?

There plenty of second-hand shops and online stores, such as charity shops and Facebook Marketplace, where you could find exactly what you need. Re-using goods helps save production resources and you could find a bargain.

Turn down your heating

On cold days, whacking up the heating seems like the easiest way to keep warm. 

But don’t set the heating higher than you really need to. Wearing more layers and using draught excluders can help you knock a couple of degrees off the thermostat. And each degree makes a big difference. Turning down central heating by just 1 degree can save 320kg in carbon dioxide emissions each year, according to the Energy Saving Trust [5].

If you spend a lot of time at home, finding ways to keep your heating lower can really help reduce your energy bills

Go paperless

Try to reduce the amount of paper you use by telling your bank or utility providers that you’re happy to receive correspondences electronically and don’t want them to send you letters in the post. This could also save you a bit of money.

Don't waste food

Plan your meals ahead, including batch cooking at the weekends, and try to shop smart to help reduce food waste. 

If you do have leftovers, then don’t throw them away. Save them for the next day or freeze them. If you don’t want to keep anything, you can always use it to create compost for your garden.

These small steps are only a start and there are plenty of ways that you can create a more sustainable home, without having to miss out on the things you enjoy.

For tips on how to stay happy and safe in your home, go to Solved.