A little boy sleeping in a cute nursery kids rooms
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Green nurseries

Energy-Efficient Homes: Nursery and Children’s Rooms Edition!

Katie Overmonds
March 15, 2024

When we first discovered I was pregnant with our first child, one of my first thoughts (aside from “Oh thaaaaat’s why I’ve been so darn tired”) was to hop over to Pinterest and start daydreaming about what their nursery may look like.

Would I go with bright kid colors or neutrals that are more my taste?  Is there supposed to be a theme or can you just do whatever whimsical decor you like?  What does a baby even actually need in that first year?

Little did I know that my Google search would set off an AVALANCHE of ads on Instagram of the things I “needed” to buy and the whole process very quickly became quite overwhelming.

Then we actually had the kid and realized that they don’t give two hoots what their bedroom looks like, and a lot of the time don’t end up sleeping in there anyways!

But as I’ve done with every room in our house, I have tried to keep energy efficiency and eco-impact in mind as we set up our baby’s nursery and as the room has evolved over time and the kiddos are trading their cute mobiles for Mario posters. (Oy.)

So let’s dive into some of the tips I’ve found most helpful to save on our energy bills and minimize our environmental impact in our kids' bedrooms!

This was our son’s nursery all set up before he was born. I won’t show an “after” photo since it is FAR messier now that someone actually lives there.

Ways to Save Energy and Money in a Baby’s Eco Nursery

  • Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances: Choose energy-efficient appliances such as a low-energy consumption air purifier or a quiet and energy-efficient humidifier for the nursery. Look for appliances with ENERGY STAR ratings, which indicate they meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Our favorite “hack” was skipping the costly white noise machines and just having an ENERGY STAR rated air purifier which served multiple purposes.
  • Opt for Natural Ventilation: Take advantage of natural ventilation whenever possible by opening windows and doors to let in fresh air and cool breezes during mild weather. This reduces the need for mechanical ventilation systems and helps improve indoor air quality without consuming additional energy.
  • Go With Non-Toxic Paint: When painting the nursery walls, opt for non-toxic, zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint. VOCs can emit harmful chemicals into the air, which can be particularly concerning for babies' developing respiratory systems. Non-toxic paint options are safer for your little one and better for indoor air quality. These days it’s pretty much the same cost as regular paints and worth every penny!
  • Handmade Decor: If you’ve got skills and time, add a personal touch to the nursery with handmade decor items crafted from natural or recycled materials. DIY projects such as macramé wall hangings, knitted blankets, or wooden mobiles not only add charm to the room but also allow you to express your creativity while minimizing environmental impact. Personally, I was low on skill and time (mostly skill), but I’m eternally thankful to my Mum and Dad who crafted a handmade mobile and a live edge wooden shelf for the nursery when our son was born.
Thank goodness for my Mom who makes hand crafted things look easy breezy. This would have taken me a whole year to make!  Photo credit: Katie Overmonds

Ways to Save Energy and Money in a School-Aged Kid’s Eco Bedroom

  • Teach Energy-Saving Habits: Educate your children about the importance of energy conservation and involve them in energy-saving activities like turning off lights when leaving a room, closing doors to maintain temperature zones, and setting electronics to power-saving modes. Instilling these habits early on fosters a sense of responsibility and helps them understand the impact of their actions on the environment and household expenses.
  • Educational Decor: Incorporate educational elements into the room design, such as solar system decals, alphabet posters made from recycled materials, or a small indoor garden to teach them about plants and sustainability. (But accept that they may soon start to want to decorate their own space! I cringe a bit when I see the increasing amount of Mario and Luigi “decor” in Jack’s bedroom but it seems to bring him a lot of joy so I’m rolling with it.)
  • Upcycled Furniture: Get creative with upcycled or second-hand furniture pieces. A coat of non-toxic paint can breathe new life into an old dresser or bookshelf, giving it a unique charm while reducing waste. Facebook Marketplace is our best friend these days!
  • Reusable Snack Containers: Equip their play area with reusable snack containers and water bottles. Reduce single-use plastic waste by opting for stainless steel or BPA-free options.

Ways to Save Energy and Money in a High School-Aged Kid’s Eco Bedroom

  • Unplug Electronics When Not in Use: Encourage your kids to unplug electronics and chargers when they're not in use to avoid standby power consumption, also known as "phantom load." This simple habit helps save energy and reduces electricity bills over time.
  • Kickstart Their Love for Indoor Plants: Introduce your kids to the joy of indoor plants to improve air quality and create a calming environment. Plants such as snake plants, spider plants, or peace lilies are known for their air-purifying properties and can help remove toxins from the air, promoting better respiratory health. Plus they’re a good exercise in responsibility!
  • Green Gadgets: Introduce them to eco-friendly tech gadgets like solar-powered chargers for their devices, energy-efficient laptops, or smart thermostats that optimize heating and cooling based on usage patterns.
  • Minimalist Design: Embrace a minimalist approach to room decor, focusing on quality over quantity. Invest in durable furniture pieces that can last through their teenage years and beyond, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

And this is just a start. There are LOADS of ways to save energy and money in your kids rooms and my very favorite one is to simply not buy things you don’t need. We skipped the baby wipes warmer and haven’t ever regretted it. Happy saving!

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