As the New Year approaches, it’s good to get ahead on what trends will be up and coming. Today, we’re looking at some of the ways you can contribute to your home's sustainability in 2022. While these ideas might not be new to this space, we predict they will rise in popularity, affordability, and accessibility in the typical American household. However, it’s always important to note that there are several ways to be sustainable at home, no matter what your budget may be.
Vertical gardens have been emerging in restaurants and office spaces for the past few years as a way to increase greenery in these public spaces. Designers and sustainability experts are now beginning to realize that these features can also be incorporated into the household in a way that benefits homeowners. One of these benefits is allowing homeowners to grow their food, despite the time of the year. Unlike typical gardens, vertical gardens can either be a permanent indoor fixture or can be moved indoors as the weather turns before the winter.
Allowing homeowners to be responsible for some of their food consumption reduces overall carbon emissions associated with transporting food and traveling to and from the supermarket. Some types of greenery can reduce carbon emissions even if it’s just within the household. Finally, these gardens are aesthetically pleasing and add a level of elevation to any space, large or small. This could be a great talking point for any frequent entertainer. Vertical gardens can be as small as a windowsill or take up an entire wall and can include plants for food or aesthetic purposes. This versatility is why we feel these vertical gardens will take off in 2022.
Each year, emerging technologies become more and more sustainable – take energy-efficient appliances for example. Since coming onto the market, they have only become more efficient at using less energy and have helped significantly lower the energy bills of the households that use them. By 2022, under the emergence of new eco-friendly technologies, we will see smart thermostats and light bulbs. Not only do these technologies give you the autonomy to power your devices whether you’re in your home or not, but they also offer some amazing sustainability benefits. For instance, if you’re away from your home for an extended period, you can make sure your heat or air conditioning is turned off, then switch it on as you return home, saving your energy usage for your trip. Updated light bulbs allow you to automate your home to your lifestyle, including wake up and relaxation times. These light bulbs also have reduced heat emissions and use the more sustainable LED method of lighting.
Additionally, the use of new window technologies that keep the cold air out and the hot air in will continue to see increased usage in people's homes. Those along with new smart appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers with touch screen panels and improved energy efficiencies will be more popular in the upcoming year.
As concerns for climate change and the associated changing weather patterns grow, some places experiencing these side effects may start to implement more sophisticated and sustainable water systems like rain barrels. Climate change is a major threat to a community’s clean water supply. These barrels, like many of the other technologies, have simple and advanced models which could be implemented in the home. Some simple models include a safe way to store rainwater so it’s not exposed to the elements and won’t attract bugs. These can be used to water plants or in a serious emergency boiled and used for other purposes. More sophisticated models have functions where they can be connected to a home’s incoming water supply where it’s then filtered and heated. These barrels could be a solution if you live in a place like California where droughts are frequent. This type of reserved water, whether the advanced filtered and heated kind or just a rain reservoir, can relieve some of the stress when there are limits on how much of your area’s water supply you can use.
Financing Your Home Sustainability
Some of these projects will take little effort or money, but others might require the work of professionals and a larger portion of your savings. When looking to implement one of these projects, search for experts in your area who come highly recommended. Prioritize your budget and be honest about your financial constraints. If you’ve been waiting a few years to make sustainable changes to your home, maybe you have savings allocated toward these projects. If these are upgrades you’re making to your forever home, consider using a 401(k) or retirement fund to finance the project. If those aren’t good options for you try leveraging your home equity. A home equity loan when used for home improvement projects is tax deductible and can be a great option to increase your home’s value.
No matter how big or small your actions to make your home more sustainable, your community and your environment will thank you. Try to avoid putting too much pressure on yourself to make these changes overnight and don’t let yourself be responsible for the weight of your climate anxiety. Making these changes is important, but supplementing them with other climate-oriented actions will help you remember to keep it all in perspective. Try writing an email to your congresspersons to advocate for them to pass climate-oriented legislation, and monetarily support companies that make clear efforts to reduce their emissions rather than greenwashing their products.
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