Eco-Friendly Home Tips for Summer

We’ve collected 35 tips, running the gamut from quick and easy to more time-consuming and challenging, aimed at helping households in British Columbia go green.

With all the extra hours of daylight—not to mention the boost in temperature—summer is the perfect time to focus on reducing your carbon footprint. We’ve collected 35 tips, running the gamut from quick and easy to more time-consuming and challenging, aimed at helping households in British Columbia go green.


1. Plant a fruit tree in your yard, to provide both food and shade.


2. Create some cool and shady spots by using patio umbrellas or installing awnings above your windows—or even building a covered wraparound porch.


a wooden platform and table with bunches of beets, cauiflowers, cabbages, lettuces and carrots on it.
Photo by Shelley Pauls on Unsplash.

3. Visit your local farmers’ market for fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. Local produce doesn’t have to travel far by truck, which keeps its carbon footprint low, and it’s picked at the point of peak ripeness, when it’s most flavourful and nutritious.


4. Eat smaller portions of higher-quality, locally raised meat. At the farmers’ market, look for stalls selling poultry, pork, and beef, and ask the farmer directly what the animals eat, where they are allowed to roam, and what is done with their manure. Pasture-raised meat is much less harmful to the environment than industrially produced meat, meaning you don’t have to go fully vegetarian or vegan to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


a wooden pantry with shelves filled with jars of colorful foodstuffs, fruits, and veggies like pickles, carrots, okra etc.
Photo by Ray Shrewsberry on Unsplash.

5. Stock up on extra fruits and veggies from the farmers’ market (or your own backyard garden), and preserve them in recycled canning jars. If you visit the market at the end of the shopping day, you might find bargains on produce that would otherwise be destined for the compost heap.


6. To make your fridge run more efficiently, clean the coils underneath it.


5 transparent jars of oatmeal and other colorful dry foods
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

7. Replenish household staples such as salt, flour, dried pasta, cooking oil, vinegar, coffee beans, tealeaves, toothpaste, sunscreen, hand soap, and laundry detergent from a zero-waste store. These refill shops reduce waste by buying in bulk and having customers bring their own reusable containers.


8. Keep your freezer full (but not overstuffed) so that it runs at peak efficiency. Fill any empty spaces with bottles of water that, once frozen, can be used as makeshift ice packs.


a bowl of carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, purple cabbage and other greens and vegetables
Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash.

9. Eat more salads—taking advantage of whatever’s in season—and fewer hot meals, which heat up the kitchen during preparation.


an outside grill covered with lots of stick meats, sausages and fish
Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash.

10. Use your barbecue as much as possible for daily cooking, to keep the heat outside instead of indoors. Be sure to grill extra meat and veggies to eat the following day as leftovers.


11. Instead of using disposables at a backyard barbecue, invest in a set of lightweight reusable plates, cutlery, and cups. Also pick up some reusable drinking straws, which can be made from bamboo, glass, silicone, or stainless steel.


a white table having a green potted plant, a jar of compost and a chopping board with potatoes, a knife, cucumber and their peels on it.
Photo by Lenka Dzurendova on Unsplash.

12. Set up a home-composting system. Many towns and cities already have residential programs in place, so check the website for your municipality first—you may discover that composting is as simple as tossing food waste into a green bin that the city provides and empties each week. Or make your own backyard or patio system from scratch using advice from books such as Composting for a New Generation: Latest Techniques for the Bin and Beyond and Compost City: Practical Composting Know-How for Small-Space Living.


13. Replace your lawn with a pollinator-friendly garden. Lawns require an alarming amount of water, pesticides, and gasoline (for gas lawn mowers), while a low-maintenance garden filled with native plants can help pollinators such as bees, wasps, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Plus you can grow your own food, which reduces your grocery bill while also improving your physical and mental health.


disturbed water droplets in a black bucket outside with greenery around
Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash.

14. Set up a rainwater-collection system for watering the garden. If you’re really ambitious, convert your toilets to use rainwater for flushing.


a vertical indoor garden with green potted plants all in a row
Photo by Vadim Kaipov on Unsplash.

15. Bring more plants into your home. Vertical indoor gardens—aka living walls—improve air quality, help to lower the temperature, and are calming to look at.


16. Keep cool by wearing light, loose-fitting garments made from natural fibres.


a happy smiling lady standing in front of a river on the beach with a colorful flowery patterned swimsuit and bumshort
Photo by Nina Elliott on Unsplash.

17. Refresh your wardrobe by altering pieces you already own to make them suitable for sweltering summer weather: cut the long sleeves off a shirt, chop the bottom off a tee to turn it into a crop top, and trim long pants and jeans to transform them into crops or shorts.


18. Use cold water instead of hot in your washing machine. Cold water works just as well, and it doesn’t cause stains to set.


a black-person's hand held up to a running shower of water
Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash.

19. Save water by installing low-flow showerheads and taking shorter showers.


a clothesline or drying rack with clothes on each line
Photo by Joes Valentine on Unsplash.

20. Stop using dryer sheets—which contain toxic chemicals and strong fragrances—and start using wool dryer balls. Or, even better, hang laundry to air-dry on a clothesline or drying rack.


21. Replace paper towels with rags made from worn-out clothing, sheets, and towels.


A person lying on a backyard hammock
Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash.

22. Take inspiration from warm countries such as Spain and enjoy an afternoon siesta during the hottest part of the day, ideally in a backyard hammock.


23. In a multilevel house, stay cool by remaining downstairs as much as possible. Hot air rises, so the upper levels of a home tend to be warmer than the lower floors.


a person attaching thick bedding materials to a wall
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash.

24. Insulate your attic. This helps keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.


25. Swap out old incandescent lightbulbs for new LEDs, which last longer and use less energy.


a hand pulling close on the blinds on a window
Photo by Sarah Dao on Unsplash.

26. Close curtains and blinds during the part of the day that your windows receive direct sun—blackout curtains can help even more. Or put reflective tinting film on your windows.


27. Install a heat pump. This energy-efficient device moves air around, pushing warm air outside during the summer and extracting heat from the cool outside air during the winter.


a standing fan blowing in a room
Photo by Delaney Van on Unsplash.

28. Use fans more and air conditioning less, and strategically plan outings to air-conditioned public spaces (such as movie theatres and libraries) during the warmest hours of the day.


29. Leave windows open overnight to let in cool air. Close windows during the day, when the outside temperature climbs.


a set of solar panels on a house roof
Photo by Vivint Solar on Unsplash.

30. Install solar panels on your roof. They lower both your overall carbon footprint and your monthly electricity bill.


31. Use solar-powered lights to illuminate garden pathways.


a hand holding a beehive tray covered with bees
Photo by Bianca Ackermann on Unsplash.

32. Get the whole family involved in an eco-friendly project like backyard beekeeping. Books such as Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Know to Start your First Beehive and Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies are useful resources.


33. Bring an outdoorsy vibe indoors by using solar-powered camping lights inside in the evening, after charging the lights outside during the day.


a clutter of household items, pots, kettles, pans, books, mirrors, cameras, artifacts, and more
Photo by Mats Hagwall on Unsplash.

34. Reduce household clutter, give new life to old items, and make some extra cash at the same time by holding a garage sale.


a group of different puzzle pieces scattered on a surface
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash.

35. Take advantage of the longer hours of daylight by sitting outside in the evening and enjoying non-screen-based entertainment: cards, boardgames, books, puzzles.