We’ve all seen those lifestyle TV programmes where design geeks create jaw-dropping eco-palaces from scratch, using an “innovative mix of natural products and space-age technology”. Unlimited budgets and design expertise aside, there are a number of less drastic changes that we mere mortals can make in order create a greener home and a safer future.
Carbon Dioxide levels are rising in the Capital, but we can take a leaf out nature’s book by using vegetation as our first line of defence. Plants are natural air purifiers in that they breathe in CO2 and breathe out oxygen – the exact opposite of us human beings. Indoor winter gardens have become a sought-after feature in many new developments and the calming effect of some well-placed greenery is scientifically proven to be a beneficial mood booster. Planting vegetables is also a handy way of reducing meat consumption and lowering the carbon footprint caused by the transportation of farm animals.
Low energy. high performance.
The less energy we use to heat our homes, the less negative impact we have on the environment. Double-glazing technology has revolutionised the way that we keep our living spaces warm and efficient insulation allows us to keep the thermostat at reasonable levels. Thermal window shades perform a useful year-round function in that they conserve heat during the winter months while reflecting sun rays in the summer. This allows savings to be made on both heating and air conditioning. Utility companies have plenty of information on their websites that explain their policies and processes, so it’s a good idea to compare and contrast different suppliers as to how serious they are about renewable energy and other green issues.
Chemical clear out.
If you take a quick look at the utility cupboard of the average London home, you’ll come across plenty of household cleaning products that aren’t exactly environmentally-friendly. The main supermarket brands are known to contain many chemicals that as well as being non-biodegradable, may also be hazardous to long-term health. A few years ago, homeowners would have had to choose between these and a narrow choice of pricier eco-friendly options, but there has been a recent explosion in the green cleaning sector, leading to more variety and better brands. Nowadays, green household items go beyond washing up liquid and include surface cleaners made from orange peel extract and vinegar-based floor cleaner.
Plastic (not so) fantastic.
The threat that plastic poses to wildlife has caused us all to look at how much needless packaging we encourage with our shopping habits. Apart from the obvious culprits like bags, straws and disposable cups, we can also find sustainable alternatives when choosing bedding, furniture, tableware or clothing. Many retailers are offering innovative ranges that work well without compromising on looks or usability.
Close to home
In London, there is now less need for far flung shopping expeditions. Local farmers markets have become a regular fixture in many areas and they invariably feature organic produce from local sources. Many food delivery companies have drastically cut down on packaging and operate low-emission vehicles. Bulk refills are available for high-usage staples like washing up liquid, shampoo and drinking water.
The regeneration boom in the Capital has radically changed commuter patterns and many Londoners are able to walk or cycle to work. The central location of new developments like Nine Elms and London Dock allow residents to fight climate change and maintain fitness all in one go!
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About the Author
Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents. With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 19 prominently located branches and 11 international offices.