Greener Living House & Home

Going Green and Saving Green

Do you remember a couple of months ago when I told you about Ikea’s Sustainable Living Program? I’m proud to be a part of this groundbreaking program designed to demonstrate affordable, attractive, and easy solutions to help make our homes more sustainable. Because going greener doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.

There are many simple and cost-effective ways to save energy and water, reduce waste, and live healthier. Let me update you with what we’ve been up to and some of the changes we’ve been making around our house in partnership with Ikea.

Ikea sustainability panels

As some of you may have seen on Facebook, things have been rough around here lately. Our progress on this sustainability initiative stalled out for a while when the sump pump backed up last month and flooded our basement. An inch of water doesn’t sound like much, but we had to get rid of all the carpets, remove the bottom two feet of drywall from every wall in the entire basement, and bring in industrial dryers to remove the remaining moisture. Those dryers pull a crazy amount of power and my hydro bill shows it.


Lowering my bills is a good thing any time, but especially this month! Space heating and lighting are the top energy drainers in the average home, so if you want to reduce your electricity bill, that’s a good place to start.

When we bought our current house 8 years ago, we replaced all the incandescent light bulbs with CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs. While CFL bulbs are a definite energy-saver over the old-style bulbs, they still have some issues. Most notably, they contain small amounts of mercury, though cleaning up broken bulbs immediately will go a long way to mitigating any risk of exposure.

In contrast, LED bulbs (light emitting diodes) don’t contain any mercury, use even less energy than CFL bulbs, and last longer (these RYET bulbs are rated to last approximately 15,000 hours), all of which translate into a reduced environmental impact and lower electricity bill! This has been on my list to do for a long time, but the significantly higher cost of LED bulbs made that prohibitive. The good news is that over the past few years, the cost of LED bulbs has been steadily dropping. When Ikea offered to set us up with a full set of LED bulbs, I jumped at the chance.

LED bulbs for the home

Hubby and I spent an afternoon replacing all the light bulbs in our house, and it was one of the easiest upgrades we’ve done in a long time. An added bonus? LED bulbs light up instantly – no more warm up time. I had hoped to be able to show you my hydro bill before and after, but those industrial dryers and all the power equipment from our flood completely whacked out my bill so it wouldn’t have been a reasonable comparison this month. But it’s common knowledge that LEDs use significantly less energy and last significantly longer, so regardless I’m really happy with our switch.

Another simple way to save energy and money is with window coverings. We picked out a pair of Marjun block-out curtains for the big window in our bedroom. The thick curtains help to insulate the window from drafts and reduce heat loss through the winter, and next summer they’ll block out the sun’s light and heat, keeping the room darker and cooler for longer into the day. Both those things mean additional savings on the electricity bill!

Marjun curtains

Ikea’s Sustainable Living Program also focuses on helping consumers find solutions for healthy living. That could mean anything from creating an indoor garden, choosing eco-friendly and low-VOC furnishings and textiles, switching to reusable cloth napkins, focusing on healthy meals, or decluttering. Decluttering and diminishing the chaos in my home is good for both my mental health and my family’s health. Both hubby and I have environmental allergies, and Kay has eczema (a skin condition that can be exacerbated by exposure to allergens). Since clutter is a haven for dust and allergens, minimizing stuff is a really important way of controlling them.

Luckily for us, Ikea is best known for two things: Swedish meatballs and flat pack furniture! I put this Trofast storage unit in Kay’s room to keep her stuffed animals and toys organized and dust-free. The idea is to minimize the clutter and allergens in her room. As long as I’m on top of her to tidy up and put everything back in her drawers at the end of the day, it’s working!

Trofast storage unit

My next step was going to be setting up a Kallax shelf unit in the living room, but then our flood kind of got in the way. We had to move everything we had stored in the basement up to the main floor while we worked on repairing the damage. Mold and mildew are definitely hazardous to my family’s health, so that has been our priority over the last few weeks.

But last week we finally had the chance to put together our Kallax unit. I love that it’s light enough to move where and when we need it, and the modular design makes it easy to mix and match storage options. Ikea carries so many different styles of baskets and drawers that fit inside the cubes, but you can use anything really. Our 12 inch x 12 inch 3 Sprouts canvas bins are a perfect fit too.

Kallax storage

Here’s our recycling – I love this neat and tidy look!

recycling drawer

It’s reassuring to me that all the wood used in Ikea products, including their shelving units, meets Ikea’s IWAY Forestry Standard which means it’s responsibly harvested from sources not involved in forest-related social conflicts or from High Conservation Value Forests. Ikea is also working to increase the volume of wood used from more sustainable sources. This year, 61% of the wood used was from recycled sources or from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The goal is to increase that percentage to 100% by 2020.

Want to know more? Visit Ikea’s People & Planet page to learn more about Ikea’s Sustainability Strategy and how Ikea is actively working to fulfill their commitment to healthy people, healthy communities, and healthy environments.

What changes have you made to go greener in your home? Are you planning any upgrades in the upcoming year?

Disclosure: I received a sample item for review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. This West Coast Mommy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link, at no additional cost to you. This income helps pay for the operating costs of my website – thank you for your support!

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  • I totally feel for you about the basement, we had that problem too, our sump pumped stopped working and we ended up with 20,000 dollars damage and lost so much, it’s so devastating!!

  • I am sorry to hear about your flooding. Cleaning up and getting things back to normal can be a long and expensive business.
    I also have been replacing the first eco-bulbs with the led ones. I watch sales and buy when they are on sale or I have a few extra dollars to spend on them.
    I think you are right about buying heavier drapes. I had some in my living room and they insulated in summer and kept the heat in winter. I plan on making or buying more-on sale of course.

  • I am such a fan of going green. We do our best to not run too much water. we use cold water for laundry and energy efficient lightbulbs as well. We all have to do our part.

  • We recently upgrade our windows to energy efficient and have noticed the difference this winter. January should be toasty in here!