Sustainable Living

Essentially, sustainable living involves living as lightly on the Earth as possible.

Someone who succeeds at living a sustainable lifestyle will use very few resources and will leave the environment as untouched as possible so that future generations will be able to enjoy the same high quality of life that people do today.

There are numerous ways to minimise your impacts on the environment and to live more sustainably. Look below for some ideas and suggestions .

Energy Saving Tips

Saving energy not only saves you money, it also helps the environment. There are many ways to save energy around the house that can be done without investing in major home appliances or undertaking renovations and they are also suitable for renters.

Many actions can be done at low or no cost, or through small changes in your behaviour. Below are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Switch off lights when you don't need them.
  • Use natural light where possible.
  • Switch off electrical appliances when not in use (standby power accounts for about 12% of the average home’s use).
  • Heat and cool only what you need.
  • Turn down the thermostat in winter and put on a jumper (turning it down by just 1ºC can save you up to 10% on your heating bill).
  • Use heavy, lined curtains (will keep heat in during winter and heat out during summer).
  • Seal up gaps and draughts (use a door snake or window seals to stop draughts).
  • Use pot lids when cooking.
  • Dry clothes on a line rather than in a clothes dryer.
  • Avoid using disposable batteries – use mains power wherever possible or rechargeable batteries.
  • Buy appliances that have high energy efficiency ratings to reduce ongoing running costs (look at and compare their energy consumption rather than just the number of stars).
  • Place refrigerators in a cool spot with good ventilation and check seals (allows fridges to work at the maximum efficiency).
  • Wash clothes in cold water and make sure you have a full load (reduces energy and water usage).

Changing your habits requires a few simple steps:

1. Start out small with easy-to-implement changes.

2. Decide as a household the habits you’re going to establish and ensure that everyone is on-board.

3. Set up reminders (e.g.: notes on the fridge, light switches, etc).

4. Do the habit consciously for a week, then two, then it should be established and your subconscious will keep doing it.

5. At the end of each energy billing period note the savings and reward yourselves.


Water Conservation

There are numerous ways to save water, and they all start with you. Below are just a few:

  • Reduce indoor water use by choosing water efficient showers, toilets, taps and appliances.
  • Minimise outdoor water use by choosing plants that are appropriate for local growing conditions and by including low water use areas in the garden design through the use of indigenous plants or low water use species.
  • Minimise paving of outdoor areas as this increases heat radiation and water run-off from the site.
  • Wash cars and bikes on the lawn to water grass at the same time.
  • Sweep paths and driveways instead of hosing them down.
  • Reuse water where possible to reduce the consumption of potable water for non-potable purposes.
  • Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before hitting the ground.
  • Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Use it to water house plants.
  • Learn how to use your water meter to check for leaks.
  • Turn the tap off while you brush your teeth. Simply wet your toothbrush before you begin and use a glass of water to rinse your mouth.


Water Conservation, did you know?

  • Less than 2% of the earth’s water supply is fresh water with only 1% of being available as drinking water.
  • Globally, in 2012 only 89% of people had access to water suitable for drinking. 1.8 billion people still used an unsafe drinking water source.
  • 97% of all the earth's water is salt water found in oceans and seas.
  • A person can survive about a month without food, but only 5 to 7 days without water.
  • Water makes up about 60% of weight in men and 55% of weight in women. Infants are about 70% to 80% water while the elderly are around 45%.
  • By adjusting your lawn mower height from a low setting to a high setting will provide taller grass which will shade the roots and hold soil moisture better than short grass.
  • Leaving lawn clippings on your grass will cool the ground and hold in moisture.
  • You can minimise evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter. Don’t water your lawn on windy days as most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  • A leaking tap can waste up to 2,000 litres of water a month. Fixing a leaking tap is an easy way to use less water.
  • In 2011 the Victorian government introduced uniform permanent water saving rules. These rules can be found via the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning webpage.



Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

An important part of being sustainable is to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Reduce the amount of material that you consume and avoid generating waste.

  • Use your own reusable mug when ordering a takeaway coffee. Contrary to popular belief, takeaway coffee cups are rarely recycled and only rarely composted.
  • Choose products with less or recyclable or reusable packaging.
  • Carry reusable shopping bags or boxes.
  • Say 'no' to unnecessary plastic bags and other packaging.

Reuse re-purpose unwanted items so that they can be used again.

  • Re-use plastic bags and all types of containers over and over again.
  • Buy products in reusable, refillable or recyclable packaging when shopping.
  • Donate unwanted clothing, furniture and white goods to charities.
  • Hold a garage sale.

Recycle  Don't throw items in the bin that can be recycled.

  • Recycling helps save limited natural resources.
  • Making products from recycled material often uses much less energy than producing the same product from raw materials.
  • Recycling reduces the amount of material dumped in landfill sites.