It’s that super special time of year again – on 18 July, we celebrate Mandela Day! What is the significance of Mandela day? In short, this is a date reserved for South Africans nationwide who honour the 67 years that Nelson Mandela sacrificed to improve human rights in our country and around the world. For many, donating at least 67 minutes of their time to give back to their communities is one of the most-loved ways to spend this day. This year, the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF), is highlighting the plight of food security and climate change with the tagline, “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

At RE/MAX, we thought it would be important to help South Africans also honour this thinking with a few eco-friendly ways to improve your home and lower your property’s footprint on our environment. After all, Nelson Mandela himself once said, “I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses. We must never forget that it is our duty to protect this environment.”

In South Africa, your home can also be a space that does more good than bad for our planet. Here are some ways you can make your property more eco-friendly this year …

1. Become more energy-efficient

In South Africa, easing the strain on the country’s electricity supply is a hot topic. If you are able to add a solar power system, you could significantly reduce the fossil fuel and greenhouse emissions from your property and even save yourself some money in the long run. Ensuring that your home is well insulated by installing ceiling insulation and replacing any cracked door and window frames will also reduce your household’s reliance on heating and cooling solutions and make your home more energy efficient.

2. Invest in energy-efficient appliances

Once you’ve invested in the structural energy-efficiency of your home, you can also look at upgrading your appliances to help you save power. Consider choosing certified energy-efficient models when you purchase appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, tumble dryers, and microwaves.

3. Eco-friendly flooring

When it comes to the flooring in your home, don’t underestimate the importance of choosing from green materials. When it comes to eco-friendly flooring, there are three popular materials; namely, green bamboo, natural linoleum, and sustainable wood.

4. Use recycled, repurposed or reclaimed materials

When it comes to improving your home, the phrase “reduce, reuse and recycle” is key. This is important from the initial construction to later renovations because outfitting or building a home with repurposed or reclaimed materials can offset a ton of waste and could possibly even save your budget. For example, flooring, cabinets, and doors can be replaced with repurposed or reclaimed materials.

5. Become more waterwise

Installing a rainwater tank is a wonderful solution for minimising your property’s use of municipal water. Also, consider installing waterwise tap and shower heads in all your bathrooms. This goes a long way in reducing the amount of water wasted in your household.

6. Grow your own vegetable garden

One of the best ways to honour the planet is to invest in your own vegetable garden. Now I know what you’re thinking: ‘not everyone has outside space’. However, whether it’s an expansive yard or a quaint herb garden on a small balcony or shelf, having living plants on your property provides a whole host of benefits. From enjoying the greenery, to cleaner air and even having some homegrown vegetables and herbs to cook with.

7. Start a compost bin

Finally, consider minimising your household waste by repurposing your home’s food scraps and yard waste with a nifty compost bin or two. You can use this to get your garden thriving and keep all the soil on your property healthy and happy. After all, healthy soil is one of the most important components of fighting climate change. This can be your property’s way of contributing to the ecological well-being of our planet.

Reach out to professionals

Not sure if these sustainable home improvements will have an impact on the resale value of your home? Speak to the professionals at your nearest RE/MAX office for advice on your local property market and what could potentially benefit both your property’s footprint as well as its resale value down the line. We are always happy to assist with your queries!