FAMILY FEATURES — When you're on a quest to create a home environment that promotes wellness, it can be difficult to know where to begin. One easy solution is to look for small changes that improve your personal well-being while also promoting a better environment overall.
Consider these sustainable projects and changes for a healthier, happier household.
Rethink window treatments. Windows can affect a home in numerous ways, both good and bad. On the upside, ambient light is a natural mood-boosting alternative to energy-hungry fixtures. Windows add character, and the right window treatments can play an essential role in a decorative scheme. In the winter, windows can also be natural conveyors of the sun's heat, reducing your reliance on energy.
You may also be surprised to learn that the window treatments you choose to help manage light and climate can play a big role in your home's health and sustainability. Drapes can be difficult to clean, which means they can trap dirt, dust and other allergens that tarnish air quality. Many blinds use synthetic materials, making them less than ideal earth-conscious options. Your best bet is bamboo or wood treatments that are certified as eco-friendly and easy to keep clean.
Lessen the laundry load. Reducing the amount of laundry you do not only saves time but is also better for the environment. Washing clothes accounts for 15 to 40 percent of the water consumption for an average family of four, according to Home Water Works, and the annual energy consumption of typical electric clothes dryers often equals the cost of running a new energy-efficient refrigerator, clothes washer and dishwasher combined.
An alternative like a heated towel rack uses less energy than a standard dryer (about the same amount of electricity as a few light bulbs). Not only does an option like an Amba heated towel rack save energy and time by reducing the frequency of washing towels, it keeps them dry and free of mold and mildew between washes. Plus, wrapping up in a warm towel can help reduce joint stiffness and muscle spasms, according to research by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. With 150 affordable mounted and free-standing models made from 100 percent recyclable, marine-grade stainless steel, and custom color options available, it can be easy to add a stylish accent to bathrooms, laundry rooms or mudrooms.
Reduce household chemicals. It may seem that the stronger, the better is the best approach when it comes to fighting dirt and germs, but in fact, there are many negative health and environmental impacts from harsh cleaners. Opt instead for more natural formulas that deliver the same clean with fewer synthetic ingredients.
Aside from cleaners, there are likely numerous other sources of potentially risky chemicals throughout your home, including furniture, clothing and bedding that require dry cleaning. Products containing chemical dyes and synthetic materials are not only potential irritants, they often also carry the weight of lesser earth-friendly production practices. Linens made from natural materials may help you avoid unnecessary exposure to chemicals, and you can readily find options that help alleviate concerns about allergens and allow you to support sustainable manufacturing practices.