How to Make a Home More Sustainable

Are you interested in reducing your carbon footprint? If so, you can start making the necessary changes within your own home. The fact is that everyone needs to take part in making the environment cleaner and safer. With the below information, you can accomplish this goal with ease.

  • Take Water Conservation Seriously – As you know, water is a critical, but also limited, resource. For that reason, it is important to focus on water conservation, especially in places like Costa Rica. By taking small steps, you can achieve big goals. For instance, after putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, turn the faucet off until it’s time to rinse, and limit your showers to no more than 10 or 15 minutes. You can also make upgrades to your home by installing a low-flow showerhead and toilet, repairing or replacing leaky pipes, and even running the dishwasher and laundry machine with full loads at night, rather than partial loads.
  • Use Natural Cleaning Products – Fortunately, finding natural or organic cleaning products is much easier than it used to be. The problem is that inorganic products are petrochemicals, meaning they are a type of petroleum that damages the environment. Therefore, look for natural cleaning products in stores, or you can order them online and even make your own. In addition to promoting a healthier planet, this decision will be safer for you, your family, and your adored pets.
  • Improve Energy Efficiency – Most of the electricity you use at home comes from fossil fuels. Typically, you use electricity as needed but you might be surprised to learn that this energy source is being wasted without you realizing it. To conserve energy, change out incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs for LEDs, which can save as much as 90 percent of otherwise expended energy. Unlike other lightbulbs, LEDs can last roughly 20 years. In addition, unplug electronic devices and appliances when not in use. Other considerations for conserving energy include making slight adjustments to the thermostat, replacing both air conditioning and furnace filters on a regular basis, washing clothes in cold water whenever possible, and turning off lights every time you leave a room or go outside of the home.
  • Choose Vegan Meals – Most people have the predisposition that vegan food tastes awful, but in reality, there are thousands of delicious recipes. The reason for eating vegan is that the animal agriculture industry emits a tremendous volume of greenhouse gases. The majority of these are methane, which come from the actual animals; however, C02 is also released associated with the deforestation process that is required to keep the animals alive. Another reason for choosing to eat vegan is that plant-based diets require less water and energy – even harvesting and manufacturing processes require less energy. If you are not too keen on changing your diet in its entirety, then switch out just one or two normal meals a week for vegan dishes. Remember, there are many nutritional benefits to a vegan diet.
  • Reduce Plastic Use – If you go to a grocery store that gives you the option of plastic or paper bags, always go with paper. Derived from natural gas, carbon, oil, and other hydrocarbons, plastic is horrible on the environment. In fact, whether in the form of plastic bags, bottles, eating utensils, milk jugs, automotive windshield wiper fluid containers, or something else, it takes centuries for plastic to degrade. For your part, switch to paper bags as mentioned, and also milk cartons, glass bottles, paper plates, and so on – or choose metal items when applicable since they can be recycled.
  • Start Recycling – Another change that you can make around your home has to do with recycling. All you need is one or two bins in which you place anything that can be recycled, be it glass, metal cans, cardboard, paper and more. Not only will this help clean up the beautiful lands of Costa Rica, but it will save the ocean and ocean life.
  • Choose Sustainable Landscaping – Although in Costa Rica your entire world consists of natural beauty, if you currently have or want to plant trees, shrubs, plants, flowers, or even a garden at your home, make sure that your choices are sustainable. In this case, purchase organic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers opposed to those made synthetically. For one thing, this will prevent the runoff from algal blooms that could end up in nearby water. When that happens, dead zones are created that make the water deadly for marine life. However, this also helps enrich the soil. Another option is to plant the right types of trees and shrubs in the best locations. Since this type of landscaping takes in and puts out C02, it also helps reduce your carbon footprint. Even shaded trees near your home would make the indoor temperature more comfortable, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for electric fans.

As you can see, there are many opportunities for making your Costa Rica home more sustainable. With a few simple changes, the environment, you and your family, and even your finances benefit. The overall goal is to be aware of what you purchase, conserve more energy, and reduce waste.

James Drews

James Drews

Vice President, Sales. Age 43 Prior to co-founding VESTA GROUP, James moved to Costa Rica in 1996 and began his real estate career here by co-founding Dominical Realty. In 2001, the company obtained a Coldwell Banker independent franchise, and three years later partnered with another Coldwell Banker franchise in Costa Rica to become Vesta Group, the Master-Franchise-holder for the entire country. As a member of the Global Association of Realtors and the U.S.-based National Association of Realtors, the Master Franchise has already grown to ten (10) offices throughout the country, with several more currently in process. James is married to a Costa Rican, and proud father of 3 daughters ages 7,10, and 20. James, is well respected among the local and foreign community, and carries high ethical standards, and a hard working family man that seeks to provide his customers with the best level of service possible. James goes out of his way to seek out new frontiers that are ahead of the wave, and specializes in rural and remote farmland, developing land and collecting legacy type of properties. Surfing big waves, fishing, hiking, and travel are favorite pastimes. Daily goal is a new discovery. Approaching 20 years of living in Costa Rica, James knows his territory well, and has much love for his new country and it's people, and will guide you well, and share his resources and local knowle​d​ge with you to make your new venture successful.​ ​