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How to Design an Environmentally-Friendly Home

A list of to-dos to reduce your carbon footprint at home.

You avoid plastic straws, recycle all you can, and even bring your tingkat when you take away your food to be more eco-friendly. But now that you’re spending so much time indoors, are you keeping up these efforts at home?

Tampines North Drive 1 by Aestherior
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If you aren’t, try taking small steps first – start by making eco-friendly changes to your home then work your way up towards a zero-waste lifestyle!

1. Pick ceiling fans over standing fans to cool an area

Fans are the way to go if you want to keep your home cool without relying on air conditioning. But, between the standing and ceiling fan, which should you pick? While a standing fan does offer some perks like mobility (read: can be moved from room to room), the ceiling fan does a better job at circulating air in your home.

Tampines North Drive 1 by Authors • Interior & Styling
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Does the room still feel warm? Install window treatments such as solar films or day curtains help to keep the heat out. Otherwise, consider putting in a room partition to make the space that needs to be cooled smaller.

2. Consider the placement of your lights and furnishings carefully

Light colours tend to reflect heat better – if you want to keep a room cool or brighten up the space without help from artificial lighting in the day, pick out lighter shades for your walls and large furnishings.

Choose day curtains or blinds that let you control how much light enters a room. They provide the privacy you want but still allow plenty of natural light into your space.

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View this project by Space Atelier | Keep your pathways and windows clear of large furniture to maximise airflow for natural ventilation.

Instead of keeping the entire room illuminated, you can swap out your fancy light fixtures for lamps, task lights (i.e. lighting directed at your work area) or install a light dimmer to save even more on your electricity bill.

Clementi Avenue 3 by The Roomakers
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View this project by The Roomakers | Placing your desk next to a light source, like a window helps cut down your energy usage too.

In general, you should position your TV and computer screens perpendicular to windows to minimise the glare from the sun is. This way, you’re less likely to increase screen brightness, which helps you cut down on electricity consumption.

Tampines Street 61 by Lemonfridge Studio
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The placement of your refrigerator is also important – aside from keeping it away from heat sources, the surrounding space should also be free of obstruction to ensure good ventilation for better cooling efficiency and lower energy consumption.

Sumang Walk by KDOT
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3. Switch off power at the sockets to stop standby power consumption

Position your sockets to make sure that they are visible and accessible! Most appliances continue to use electricity after they are turned off, which is why you should always switch them off at the power sockets to avoid unnecessary standby power consumption.

Chai Chee Road by Archive Design
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4. Start a compost bin to recycle your food waste

Instead of chucking your leftovers into the bin, you can turn them into compost. Composting helps reduce your environmental footprint, since your food waste does not need to be incinerated. Plus, the recycled biomass made from food waste is chock full of nutrients, which you can ‘feed’ to the plants in your home/local community garden to help them grow better.

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There are two main methods of composting that are suitable for high-rise flats: Bokashi composting and vermicomposting. The former is an anaerobic process that relies on bacteria to break down the scraps in a Bokashi bin while the latter relies on worms or black soldier fly (BSF) larvae.

5. Start a recycling corner

It’s easy to recycle! Set up a box in a corner at home to store your recyclables. Once it’s full, you can simply drop them into the co-mingled blue recycling bins without needing to sort them according to material type. Find out more about what can or cannot be recycled here.

You can also recycle your bottles at the Reverse Vending Machines for rewards!

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6. Choose energy-efficient appliances

Remember to choose your appliances wisely to keep your utility bills low – look for models with more ticks on the energy label. These energy-efficient models can help you save at least $200 per year!

The Climate-Friendly Households Programme

As part of continued efforts to build a sustainable nation, NEA and PUB have collaborated to bring you the Climate-Friendly Households Programme. Starting from November 2020, 1- to 3-room HDB households will be given vouchers that can be used to purchase energy efficient appliances:

  • $150 voucher for refrigerators that are rated three-ticks and above
  • $50 voucher for water-efficient shower fittings
  • $25 voucher for LED lights

You can register for your vouchers at www.go.gov.sg/register-cfhp-vouchers.

These vouchers expire in Dec 2023, so you can hold onto them and replace your appliances only when you need to!

Work towards a greener home and save the environment!

This article was brought to you in collaboration with the National Environment Agency, the leading organisation responsible for ensuring a clean and green environment, and the sustainable development of Singapore.

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