Style, Comfort & Savings In The Eco-Friendly Man Cave Just because you're burly doesn't mean you have to be wasteful

eco-friendly man cave. Credit: MaxwellNotSmart, Wikimedia CCThe coronavirus pandemic has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an incredible 6 percent worldwide, the biggest yearly fall since world war 2. However, experts warn that this environmental benefit will not last if governments do not integrate climate action into their post-pandemic recovery plans. As many of us stuck at home are likely spending a considerably larger amount of time in our man caves, now is the perfect time to start taking steps to make our spaces more eco-friendly.

Energy Consumption

Electricity usage is the most obvious consideration when looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint. It is often an area of life that even the most green-minded of us can find ways to make significant changes for the better. Replacing old-fashioned halogen light bulbs with modern LED alternatives can save an incredible amount of energy for very little initial cost. LEDs are significantly more efficient, providing the same level of light at 10 percent of the energy consumption. As a bonus, this eco-friendly change will save you hundreds of dollars on your electricity bill in the long run.

For most buildings, heating systems run by burning gas or oil which in colder months can account for as much as 40 percent of a city’s greenhouse gas emissions. It seems obvious then that proper insulation can significantly reduce your energy consumption and your home’s impact on the environment as a result. Dry-lining the walls of your man cave can help keep heat from radiating out of the room, reducing the amount of time you need to have the heating on for. Similarly, heavy insulated curtains and double-glazed windows will significantly reduce heat loss through windows which are often a serious weak spot for retaining heat in a room.

Recycling and Repurposing

If you’re currently in the process of building your man cave or simply looking to refurnish, the way you source your materials and furniture can have serious implications for the environment. If the option is available, reclaimed materials and second hand furnishings are always preferable to brand new ones. Self-sufficiency is a hallmark of modern eco-friendly approaches to life and in this sense there’s a surprising amount environmentalists can learn from the prepper community. Many of the minimal footprint, long-term sustainability aspects of prepping can be directly applied to your own conservation efforts.

There’s an abundance of reclaimable wood out there for those who know how to look. Sites like Craigslist can be helpful for finding great deals listed by sellers more interested in having materials taken off their hands than making money. These materials are great for building your own furnishings and countertops for a fraction of the price you’d pay in store.

If DIY projects aren’t your forte, buying furniture second hand from flea markets and antique stores is equally beneficial to the environment. Be sure to fit your man cave with a recycle bin. We all know how many used cans and bottles watching a weekend game can produce. Make recycling them properly as easy on yourself as possible by outfitting your man cave with a dedicated recycling bin. The best policy however, is to make steps to reduce your plastic use entirely such as switching to reusable bottles or buying a water filter instead of drinking store-bought.

Sustainable Materials

When recycled and reclaimed materials aren’t an option, it is important to understand the environmental implications of store bought alternatives. If you decide to paint your man cave, make sure to opt for VOC-free paint. Most paints on the market contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which are harmful to both the environment and your long term health. If you can’t find the perfect couch second hand, try to look for an eco-friendly option. Most sofas are produced using materials and processes that contribute to global warming and built with toxic adhesives. Green alternatives substitute these materials for organic materials like cotton and hemp and non-toxic adhesives.

Whether you’re planning your next build or looking for ways to improve upon what’s there, we can all make changes to reduce our carbon footprint. Things as simple as potted plants like Ficus and Dracaena can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide buildup in your man cave, which has the added benefit of reducing drowsiness for those inside. By following simple steps we can all help the environment with the added incentive of protecting our wallets at the same time.