Firstly, since the industrial revolution, societies have been driven to consume. In addition, our consumerist world exploded after the world wars and continued to expand to this day. Therefore, children are raised to do good in school. You know get a high paying job and live years of abundance. More noteworthy, material wealth has always been our standard of success. Now we are In with sustainable living.
Don’t you think it’s time for a change?
Cause there’s an emerging movement that aims to challenge our perception of a successful life. So that’s called minimalism. Minimalism, contrary to popular belief, is not a product of the 21st century. It’s consequently in the core of many cultures in Asia.
Thereby the Buddhist concept of Zen. It also therefore emphasizes on an individual’s consciousness of the self. As well as and more interestingly its relations with nature.
“Zen contends that physical nature and human nature must be sought. That’s also in an experiential dimension practically trans-descending,” according to a paper published by Stanford University. So minimalists are also upholding the Zen principle in various aspects of their life. In addition from their decision-making behaviors to their lifestyle choices.
Sustainable living: a complete lifestyle shift
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First of all, sustainable living is a way of life. One that involves reduced dependence on natural resources. It embodies the Zen principles of caring for nature and the ideals of minimalism. To live a sustainable life, you may need to make a significant shift in your mindset. “It is such a simple principle. Although and yet if it is extended to include all living beings (that’s an essential component of sustainable living). It thereby requires a complete shift in how we live our lives. Because we do unto others all day long. All through the clothes we buy and the energy we use. As well as the food we eat. Yes and even the toothpaste we brush our teeth with.
Therefore every choice we make impacts others. All from its creation, its distribution, its use and also its disposal. All thereby noted by GlobalStewards.org.
Sustainability in your living space can also be therefore done in simple ways. If you’re new to the concept, you can start with the easiest steps. Here are some home improvement tips for a sustainable living.
Explore passive design strategies
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Passive architecture, light day lighting is such an effective sustainable living technique to use energy efficient designs. All to reduce ecological footprints. It includes daylighting, natural ventilation and solar energy. Daylighting simply means using sunshine to illuminate your space. You can create external reflection letting sunlight reflect from the flooring of your home. Therefore including wide window sills, and light shelves. So internal reflection can be achieved allowing natural light to reflect from internal walls. In addition ceiling and high reflectance surfaces. You can also apply light-colored finishes and mount mirrors. All to reflect light around your home. However, avoid high levels of direct sunlight that can cause glare and increase the need for cooling.
Passive cooling strategies involve energy efficient designs to control heat gain in spaces. These designs include ventilation, windows insulation, and shading. Remember that the cooling strategies you can apply in your home is determined by your climate. If you live in a tropical region, you may need year-round shading.
Create indoor green spaces
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Studies suggest that living near green spaces is good for one’s mental and physical health. Greenery has a therapeutic impact that helps reduce stress levels. Living in a neighborhood with parks and open spaces encourage an active and fit lifestyle. You can reap the benefits of green spaces by creating one inside your home. If you’re living in a tight condo space, you can install a vertical garden in the patio, kitchen, and even in the living room. There’s a wealth of creative condo garden tips you can check on Pinterest and other social media sites.
Houseplants offer a number of benefits.
They can purify the air and cool down room temperature. They provide supply for fresh vegetables and herbs, and decorate a space. More interestingly the pothos plant can absorb toxins like formaldehyde from carpets and floor cleaning materials. The spider plant, which is usually displayed as hanging plants. Also they have air purifying qualities similar with dracaena and weeping fig. Other plants that can clean indoor air and have cooling effects include bamboo palm, boston fern, and aloe vera.
Go energy efficient with your appliances and gadgets
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Sustainable Living and being a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mean that you should let go of the comforts of technology. It’s just a matter of choosing the right furnishings and appliances. Go only for appliances with high energy-efficiency ratings. When shopping for electronic devices, choose Energy Star-labeled products. Since they can save up to 75% in power consumption. Cause then you can further cut down your energy consumption. Plus and more importantly save on costs by using an advanced power strip.
This reduces “vampire loads” or electricity wasted. You know when appliances and gadgets are plugged and then unused. Vampire loads commonly occur in computers, kitchen appliances, and home entertainment systems.
For your computer, here are 3 no nonsense tips to go energy efficient:
Use your computer on low-power mode. This can save energy, and allows your equipment to run cooler and last longer
Turn off the switch on the power strip or surge protector if the plugged equipment is not in use
Activate the power management feature on your computer. This will therefore automatically put your screen into sleep mode after a period of inactivity
Take advantage of government-sponsored programs
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The US Department of Energy (DOE) developed a national rating system. So in part Sustainable living has the Home Energy Score, that assesses the energy efficiency of a home based on the architectural design and heating, cooling, and hot water systems. The agency offers financial incentives and financing programs that attain a high Home Energy Score.
For solar energy systems, you can avail of a federal tax credit for 30% throughout 2019, 26% for 2020 and 22% for 2021. The taxpayer may claim the credit of qualified expenditures on an energy-saving system in a residential structure he owns in the United States. “Expenditures include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home,” according to the DOE.
In conclusion, sustainable living is a change in mindset and behavior. It involves simple, mundane decisions such as recycling plastic cups and major matters like shifting to a passive home design. Finally, you don’t need to rush in and change all your appliances tomorrow, but start in any way you can. Cause uncluttering your home can be your starting point.
Author: Emily Harper, Mother, Blogger and Owner of the Blog Security Design Hub