Although most of us don’t quite achieve the goal of spending ⅓ of our lives sleeping, most of us spend more time in the bedroom than in any other room of the house, even if much of it is spent unconscious.
Our bedrooms have a long history. According to National Geographic, the oldest known “bed” in the world was discovered in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, dating back a whopping 77,000 years. Although that bed was made of sustainable leaves and grasses, our beds and bedrooms have changed quite a bit over the millennia, and not always for the better. Unfortunately, many of the items we use in our bedrooms can be major producers of waste and inefficiency, even as we sleep peacefully. Here are seven sustainable swaps to make your bedroom more comfortable and eco-friendly.
1. LED Lights
Switching out incandescent light bulbs for sustainable LED alternatives isn’t just good for the planet — it’s great for your wallet as well. LED light bulbs use about 50 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent, fluorescent and halogen options. They also last longer than other alternatives and don’t generate heat, making them the ideal choice if you’re trying to keep your bedroom cooler in the summer months. Their cool operation makes them a safer choice, especially in children’s bedrooms, where a lamp may be left on throughout the night.
LED lights are also fun and incredibly versatile! They’re smaller than other lighting options, have almost endless color options, and are available in dimmable light strips, making them ideal for creative, sophisticated lighting options in the bedroom. LED lights can be placed under the bed, behind the television, or behind your bed’s headboard to create a bedroom atmosphere that feels like a high-end hotel or spa.
2. Sustainable Sheets And Bedding
Our sheets, pillowcases, and blankets are often made of cotton-polyester blends. Polyester is made from fossil fuels and not yet recyclable. When replacing your sheets, check out eco-friendly alternatives like silk, which uses even less water and energy to produce than cotton, and is fully biodegradable.
Eucalyptus fabric is another great, eco-friendly alternative to consider when choosing bedsheets. Eucalyptus trees are sustainably harvested — they’re felled rather than uprooted, eliminating the need to plant new trees. They grow quickly, don’t need irrigation or pesticides, and can grow in relatively poor soil. In fact, eucalyptus fabric production uses 50% less water than cotton, and eucalyptus sheets are fully recyclable and biodegradable. They’re also beautiful and cool to the touch.
When choosing pillows and duvets, look for sustainable, organic, and biodegradable fill materials like hemp, cotton, wool, or, if you prefer memory foam pillows, natural latex rubber.
3. Air-Purifying Plants
Live plants are a great option for the bedroom, and are a sustainable, green replacement for electric air filters and humidifiers in smaller spaces. Consider indoor palms, ferns, snake plants, or even lavender to clean and humidify the air in your bedroom while beautifying the space and creating a calming atmosphere. Check out Country Living’s list of 15 air-purifying plants for the bedroom to get started.
4. Energy-Saving Curtains And Blinds
A significant amount of the energy we use in the bedroom is spent employing fans, air conditioners, and heating systems to heat or cool the space to the ideal temperature for sleep. All of these devices use energy and create emissions, in addition to adding to your monthly electric bill.
In the winter, about 30% of the home’s heating energy is lost through the windows. In summer, about 76% of sunlight that hits your windows enters to become heat. Window treatments that allow you to control the sun entering the room or the heat leaving it, such as blinds or heavy curtains, can mitigate these effects. Adjustable window treatments also offer the advantage of blocking ambient light at night, and can result in a better night’s sleep.
5. Sustainable Mattresses
You probably aren’t ready to swap your mattress for a sustainable alternative just yet, but when your current bed does reach the end of its natural life, there are plenty of eco-friendly, sustainable options available to replace it. Companies like Avocado and Naturpedic offer thoughtfully-produced, carbon-neutral, sustainable mattress options that are produced using organic, natural materials and are 100% recyclable. Mattresses are a significant source of landfill waste, and choosing an eco-friendly brand can have a big impact.
6. Second-Hand Furniture
Most commercially available bedroom furniture is mass-produced and considered more or less disposable, with little thought or attention for its eventual environmental impact. Shopping for second-hand furniture lengthens the life cycle of quality items, keeping them away from landfills and reducing demand for wasteful products. Thrifting or buying second-hand is also a great way to find unique pieces that express your personality.
7. Smart Power Strips And Outlets
Most of us have at least one power strip in the bedroom, running our television, bedside clock, device chargers, lights, or other devices. While convenient, traditional power strips can often waste energy by allowing devices to continue to draw power even when they are in standby mode. Smart power strips cost about the same as traditional ones, but they shut down energy to devices that are in standby mode, saving both energy and money, especially in the bedroom, where devices may be plugged in and unattended during most of our waking hours.
Ready to Make This Your Greenest Year Yet?
Here at Sweeping Dimensions, one of our primary goals is to make cleaning less stressful for our clients — and more healthy and sustainable for our environment.
We also believe in passing along our green cleaning knowledge, whenever we can. We love to talk all things cleaning and organizing, including the strategies that can make taking care of your home a greener and more enjoyable practice. The more people we can bring together in our mission for a healthier world, the better off our planet will be!
So, if you ever have a question about comparing cleaning products, starting a new recycling practice, or making a sustainable swap in your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch — we’re always happy to talk shop and try to make a difference, however we can.
At SDCS, we’re sincerely passionate about these issues, dedicated to finding real solutions, and always eager to keep the conversation going.
Curious about what steps you can take to have a positive impact on the environment, from every room in your home? Want to set up an environmentally friendly cleaning for your Chicago home? We’d love to help! Don’t hesitate to reach out for your free service estimate!