Going greener



From solar power to where—and from whom—we buy our fruit and vegetables, more and more residents are doing what they can to live more sustainably at home.

The sustainability movement has been around since the 1950s, gaining huge traction in the last few years due to an increased awareness of environmental issues like climate change and carbon footprints. In an ideal world, more of us would probably like to live off-the-grid, however, for many, it is simply not viable right now. 

The good news is, we don’t need to live off the grid to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. More and more households are choosing to reduce their waste and be more wary of their consumption of resources, and, merged with a growing interest in the healthy home, sustainability is becoming one of the biggest lifestyle trends of the decade. We’re all pretty familiar with the simple things we can do to reduce consumption and wastage: turning lights off, recycling our rubbish, composting, sourcing local produce from farmer’s markets, growing our own veggie and herb gardens, using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, installing solar panels, the list is endless.

If you’re building or renovating a home, incorporating one or two sustainable features into the build is a given these days. US-based group, Elemental Green, are one of those companies dedicated to making sustainable homes the norm, not just in the US, but around the world. We take a look at some of the trends they’ve predicted will filter into more homes in the next few years…

Home Automation

Smart home systems (eg security, climate control, lighting) may be customised to react to different environmental factors including temperature, humidity, time, season and motion, and can also be linked to 'talk' to and respond to each other to conserve energy. If your out of the house or 'away', link to your home through your smart phone to remotely control temperature, switch the lights on and off,  fire up your sprinkler system, open and close the blinds and so on, before you return.

Using Reclaimed and Repurposed Materials

Reclaimed and repurposed materials have been used for a while now, the only thing that really changes is how creatively the materials are used. From timber floors, cabinetry and salvaged doors to DIY-ing a second-hand piece of furniture, reclaimed and repurposed materials add uniqueness and character to your home and you’ll be rescuing a tiny piece of history.

Bringing the outdoors in

More and more interior designers are turning to nature for inspiration so we’re seeing the use of natural textiles and materials in furniture, furnishings and finishes, and nature-inspired colour palettes. Greenery and indoor plants have always been popular (especially in the last couple of years), not only for their aesthetic value, but how these contribute to cleaner, healthier air quality.

Healthy homes

Green buildings also have a huge impact on mental and physical health, and wellbeing. Improved air quality, eco-friendly materials and natural lighting have all proven to have a positive impact on our happiness, health and productivity. Ventilation systems that provide a steady flow of fresh air eliminate irritants and pollutants. 

Daylight harvesting

Maximising natural light through window and skylight design can offset and reduce the amount of electric light used by a home. Natural light improves productivity, efficiency and wellbeing, and maintains aesthetic appeal. Motorised blinds and lighting control systems, especially those that can be connected to a smart phone, can help control the way you use and conserve light and heat. 

Sustainable landscaping

Drought-tolerant native gardens conserve water, fertiliser and pesticides and are nice and low-maintenance for those gardeners who tend to kill every plant they touch. 

For more green home inspiration, read the excellent article over at Elemental Green.

sustain-home-01Upcycled door crafted from early 1900s cypress siding, timber from a 100-year-old barn and wrought iron fencing
Via Attic Mag
sustain-home-02Skylight design via Decoist

sustain-home-03Native and drought tolerant garden via Inside Out
sustain-home_05The popular Mother-in-law’s tongue is visually stunning and improves indoor air quality. 
Via Postris