MAINTAINING A HOME
7 ways to make your home more eco-friendly
20 August 2021
Think it’s not easy being green? You may be surprised! There are simple steps you can take to lessen your individual impact on the climate, and create a more environmentally friendly home.
1. Tackle water wastage
Water is a precious resource. Unfortunately, its availability is increasingly unpredictable, so being conscious of your usage can make a big environmental impact.
Some simple ways you can tackle your water usage include:
- fixing leaky taps (those small drops can really add up!)
- only using your washing machine and dishwasher for full loads
- using a timer to keep your showers under 5 minutes, and
- installing low flow shower heads and taps.
2. Track your energy use with a smart meter
Smart meters digitally measure a household’s energy use and report it back to the relevant electricity provider. It’s usually more accurate, and there’s no need for a meter reader to visit your property. Plus, smart meters can help you understand your behaviour around energy use, potentially empowering you to cut down on consumption.
If you have a smart meter already, you won’t automatically have access to the information. You’ll need to invest in an in-home display, or speak to your electricity provider about how to get your data, as it differs between each retailer.
3. Set up a composting system
The rubbish in our landfill systems is so heavily compacted that it takes an incredibly long time for food waste to break down. This produces excess methane gas, which is emitted in a way that’s harmful to the environment.
One way to help cut down on landfill waste is by creating your own composting system. Food breaks down much quicker in a dedicated composting environment, and makes for a great addition to your garden!
If you don’t have a backyard, or enough space for a composting system, consider:
- talking to your building’s body corporation about the possibility of setting up a communal space
- pairing up with a friend, neighbour or family member who lives nearby and has more space for composting, or
- using ShareWaste, a free online tool that allows you to search and contact registered users who live near you and have compost systems they’re willing to let you add to.
4. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
Another bright idea for making your home more eco-friendly is to switch your light bulbs with energy-efficient ones. With just a quick visit to the local hardware store, this relatively low-cost fix can have a huge impact on your energy usage.
5. Invest in reusable alternatives to single-use plastics
Single-use plastics (such as straws, takeaway containers, and plastic bags) are often used once, but can take up to 1,000 years to break down. Often, they can’t even be recycled — for example, coffee cups are made from mixed materials, meaning they should go in landfill.
Investing in reusable alternatives can help you cut down on your contribution to plastic pollution. Just some of the ways you can do this include:
- storing leftovers in reusable containers or with bees wax wraps, rather than using disposable cling wrap
- replacing single-use plastic straws with washable ones made from metal, bamboo, glass, or other materials
- making your own cleaning products (using ingredients you often already have, like baking soda and vinegar), rather than buying ones stored in plastic bottles, and
- replacing that cupboard full of plastic bags with a collection of reusable bags you can take with you when shopping.
6. Install solar panels
The sun is a much more sustainable source of energy than traditional methods like coal and gas. Switching to solar also usually reduces your electricity bill. So, while solar panels might seem expensive initially, they can pay for themselves over time.
7. Buy secondhand
While buying brand new furniture or products for your home can be fun, mass production and consumption isn’t great for the environment. Buying secondhand reduces the need for companies to create new products, and means the original owner can rehome a purchase without having to send it to landfill.
Plus, you might be surprised at the quality of secondhand purchases, and how cost-friendly it can be compared to buying something brand new.
Insuring your eco-friendly home
Most insurers will include things like solar panels and compost systems as ‘contents’, meaning they’ll cover them under the appropriate insurance policy. Suncorp, for example, covers these items under both our Contents Only and Home and Contents policies.
Plus, if you have Suncorp Home and Contents Insurance and your home is being rebuilt after a claim, we may cover the costs of adding environmental improvements that weren’t there before. That includes solar panels, rainwater tanks, and compost equipment.
Conditions do apply, so be sure to read the Home and Contents PDS (you’ll find the relevant info on page 31).
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Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.