Many homeowners would agree that aside from spending on pieces that can beautify and improve the home, a large chunk of our hard-earned cash goes to monthly bills that cover rent and utilities. With the rising costs of water and electricity, we’re always on the lookout for ways to save on these necessities. From turning off appliances that are not in use to maximizing natural light, there are ways and habits you can easily apply and practice at home.
To help and guide you on your journey towards smarter living and a better space, interior designer Michelle Dumlao-Pastoral shares these must-dos:
1. Choose good design with a purpose.
Familiarize yourself with decorative elements that are indispensable. According to Michelle, horizontal wood panels, louvers, or awnings may look like they are just parts of your home's exterior, but they serve a function. "They are placed to help deflect heat from the sun while adding more drama [to your space], given the light and shadows they [seem to] add," she explains.
2. Invest in light sensors.
These advanced must-haves automatically power lighting fixtures on and off based on motion. It assures you that no energy is wasted -- especially if you're one who's likely to forget to click the switch. Tip: Aside from lighting fixtures, remember to unplug appliances when you are not using them. "Leaving them plugged in costs money and wastes energy. Appliances like the computer and the TV consume power when left on standby mode," the designer says.
While you can always have a landscape garden if your space allows, it can be challenging and expensive to maintain one. As an alternative, Michelle suggests having a rain garden instead. It is built lower than ground level, using the catch basin system for rain water to help maintain the plants. "It is also usually located near the gutter—for more efficiency in collecting rain water for your [greens and blooms]," she says. Tip: If you live in a small unit, you may want to consider having a hydroponic garden. It allows you to grow plants and vegetables in a controlled environment using less water and space.
4. Check for items for repair and work on them ASAP.
Replacing broken toilet tank fittings can help you save on water. "Broken toilet tank fittings consume water non-stop even if the flush button isn't pressed," Michelle says.
5. Clean your appliances regularly.
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Doing regular maintenance can keep your investment pieces in tip-top condition so you can use them for a long time. "Appliances like the aircon, the dryer, and the vacuum should be periodically cleaned to maintain its efficiency," the designer says. Tip: If you're in the process of replacing appliances or sourcing for new ones to complete your first home, research and look for those that use inverter technology. This feature is said to reduce power consumption. There are also washing machines out in the market that consume less water.