A sustainable way of life can be a very simple one, often involving doing less rather than splashing out on the latest new-fangled thing or fast fashion trend.
But when our homes are already ‘plugged in’ to older energy networks, some eco-friendly gadgets can come in handy.
The appliances we use, energy choices we make, and how we handle our waste: the impact of our actions all adds up.
And while it might feel like small fry compared to the decisions made by firms and governments, making positive environmental decisions in our daily lives can spur us on to bigger actions too.
If you’re looking for some inspiration to ‘green’ your home with affordable tweaks, check out this list from UK home maintenance company Rightio.
6. Solar kettle
A standard electric kettle uses 0.225 kw/h to boil a full two litres of water, according to Rightio’s calculations. That sets you back about €35 a year. Of course there are little ways to cut down on cost and energy use, like boiling only the amount of water you need or using a stovetop kettle. But an even more sustainable solution is at hand: a solar kettle.
Solar energy is easily available, and the kettle works to its optimal efficiency when the sun is shining right upon it. Even on an overcast January day it can produce warm water, and keep it warm with only a little bit of sun.
It’s ideal not only for a bright kitchen but also for taking on a camping trip.
5. Egloo candle-powered room heater
The biggest contributor to our energy use at home is our heating system. So what if there were a way to minimise that energy use without getting chilly?
The Egloo room heater is made from two Italian terracotta domes that resemble an igloo, hence its name. It is heated with four tea light candles placed on a metal stand in-between the domes. Once heated, it draws air in which causes warmth to be radiated into the room.
Despite its small size, it’s estimated that the Egloo can heat a 20m² room by up to three degrees for five hours for just 7.56 pence (9 cents). While they’re a little pricey at around €100, these cute-looking objects are a triple threat: they can also be used as a diffuser and humidifier.
4. Lemon-powered clock
Granted, a clock isn’t the biggest guzzler of energy around the house. But you can go fully off-grid with a ticker powered by lemons. Strange as it sounds, when the citric acid in the lemon is combined with the copper and zinc in this clock, a current is produced that is strong enough to power the clock for a week.
Just remember to reset the time once you change the lemons.
3. H2O shower radio
Did you know that listening to music and singing in the shower can be sustainable and fun? The H2O shower radio is powered by water pressure from the shower. You can also listen to it while brushing your teeth as excess energy is stored in its internal battery. When you turn it on again, it will automatically tune to the last station you were jamming out to.
2. Smart thermostat
On a more practical note, smart thermostats are available in the UK and many other European countries. These work by connecting to your Wi-Fi to learn your light and heating preferences, throughout your daily schedule.
It uses this information to optimise your energy and electricity use, ensuring you’re not firing on all cylinders when no one's home. It might be a useful thing to consider if you’re migrating back to the office after working from home.
1. LED smart bulbs
It’s a well-known fact that LED bulbs are much more efficient than incandescent ones. They can reduce your energy costs by up to 20 per cent. But the newest addition to eco-friendly lighting – an LED smart bulb – is a real game-changer, according to Rightio.
LED smart bulbs come with a perk: they can connect to your phone through Bluetooth so that you can take full control of their operation. This means that you can turn lights off in unoccupied rooms or change their colour to suit your mood.