As awareness of protecting the environment grows, homeowners and businesses alike are starting to adopt energy saving design elements into homes, offices and factories. Energy efficient interiors don’t just reduce the carbon footprint we leave on the environment but has a far more direct benefit – cash savings! Get in touch with an Interior design company in Johor Bahru to learn how you can build a home that will not only save you money on utility bills, but also save the environment of this shining jewel of the Milky Way from premature climate change!
1. Properly insulate your home.
Insulating your home does one very important thing: it keeps your home from being too heavily influenced by external temperature by keeping heat out or cool air in. Not only will you not need to turn on the air-conditioning longer but it also keeps the cooled air inside from warming up as quickly.
Insulation materials come in many forms, including fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibres, natural fibres and foam board, like polystyrene and polyurethane. Here’s a complete list of insulation materials.
2. Build windows that retard heat transfer.
Outfit your home with windows panes that don’t transfer heat so well. Instead of metal windows frames and panels, go for wooden or even vinyl instead. You can also opt for glass panes that contain multiple layers of argon gas filled in between, which is a super insulator.
If you don’t mind blocking out some of the sunlight, tinted glass is another good option. You can always tint the windows at the back your home only, which is better than nothing (or the bedrooms where the filtered light will help you sleep better, too).
A third option is to install blinds. While it’s yet another household accessory that will get dirty over time and can be a chore to clean, blinds let you let the light in and keep it out when you want.
Find the best mix of LED, incandescent and even fluorescent lighting to give your home that special touch. Get in touch with Kitchen Library, the best interior design company in Johor Bahru.
3. Get home appliances that save energy and water.
You can’t blame the engineers for not designing more energy efficient appliances before, but they do now. When shopping for new home appliances look for ones that are labelled as energy efficient, the “Energy Star” certification being one of the most universal.
For water heaters, look for models that are low-flow and heat the water only when you need it. Also as a general rule, get taps, faucets, washing machines, toilets and showerheads that are low flow and see your water bill shrink accordingly.
New energy and water efficient appliances aren’t even more expensive than non-efficient ones, so you don’t even have to worry about an increased initial cost.
4. Don’t use more water or energy than you need.
Adopt habits that prevent unnecessary waste of water and electricity:
- Remember to turn off electrical appliances such as lights, fans and air conditioners when they are not in use.
- Don’t leave faucets and showers running when not in use, even if you’re stepping away for a little while.
- When you wash clothes, try to always do a full load. Whether your washing machine has a water control mode, always be sure to maximize each wash.
- When doing the dishes, don’t blast the faucet. Use a low flow and, when possible, stopper the sink and let a few soapy dishes soak while you rinse.
- If you’re planning a long trip, be sure to unplug all electrical appliances from the wall socket. A small amount of current will flow even when turned off. For appliances that need to be left on at all times like the refrigerator, set it to 4° C. Freezers should be kept at 0° C.
5. Use LED lighting.
LED lights are brighter and far more energy efficient than even fluorescent lighting. You should definitely not rely solely on incandescent lighting as they are even less power efficient compared to fluorescent lights.
LED lights, like incandescent lights, light up immediately when the switch is flipped unlike fluorescents that flicker for a couple of seconds as the electric current energizes the mercury vapour within the tube, which then produces UV light that in turn makes the phosphor coating inside to glow.
6. Invest in solar panels.
As solar panels become more affordable, investing in one is now a viable option. Solar panels generate sufficient energy, at a rate of 10 watts/square foot, with an energy conversion efficiency of 12%. As of April 2016, it costs roughly RM35 per watt, so it’s still very expensive, and it could take up to 28 years for the solar panels to finally pay itself off.
However, in the long run you (or your children’s children) will be saving not only money but also reducing the amount of carbon dioxide contributing to greenhouse gases. Until engineers and scientists find a way to absorb/breakdown carbon dioxide emissions cheaply and on a massive scale, going green is the best option now.
7. Plant trees.
Trees not only provide shade, but also absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and suck up heat from the sun. Trees are the earth’s natural air conditioning, which not only cools the surrounding air but also improves its overall quality. The greenery it provides has other health benefits, too. Yes, evergreens shed leaves all year round, but it’s good exercise to get out and rake the leaves every now and then, right? Oh yes, and if possible get a fruit tree – the reasons are obvious.
8. Build a rainwater collection system.
Rainwater isn’t clean enough to drink or bath with, but it can be used to water plants and for washing. Set up a water collection system to collect rainwater, which can be as simple as lining buckets and pails underneath a gutter outlet, or a more elaborate design which collects, filters and stores rainwater. You can build a full water collection system easily using parts purchased from your local hardware store, with the only the filters being a more specialized item.
Picture via Modular Rainwater Harvesting.