We are all very aware of the environmental impact we are having on the planet and an important goal for many of us is to reduce our carbon footprint.
One of the key ways to do this is to ensure our homes are as eco-friendly as possible.
In the process we play our part in protecting the environment but we also create some additional personal benefits.
There are several ways we can approach home improvement from a green perspective.
- Consider alternative forms of energy such as solar panels. These have become increasingly popular in recent years and as well as providing all your own power needs you can also gain additional income by selling energy to the national grid.
- Opt for a more energy efficient boiler to heat your home and water. These can be combi-boilers or condensing boilers and they burn a wide range of fuels including oil, wood and gas. The two lowest carbon emitting choices are wood pellets and gas, however the way you use the boiler also has an impact. Opt for a boiler size which suits the needs of your home, so it’s not too big and therefore burning fuel unnecessarily, and install programmable thermostats so you only burn energy when you require heat or hot water.
- Reduce the amount of heat you lose by installing double glazing and make sure your walls and roof are well insulated.
- Considerable savings can be made on the amount of water you consume by installing low flow showerheads, aerated taps and dual flush toilets. Alternatively if you don’t want to replace your existing toilet install a cistern displacement device which can save up to three litres of water on every flush.
- If you have older appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and fridges it can be worth updating to newer more energy and water efficient models.
- Gas, electricity and water meters are essential to make sure you only pay for what you use. In addition, the use of a smart meter which monitors your usage and what it is costing you hourly helps you to be more aware of your consumption and therefore reduce it.
The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Improvements
All these changes will make your property more energy and water efficient and in the process they will help you to make a substantial reduction to your utility bills.
A sustainable property is also one which is more attractive to potential buyers should you ever wish to sell. Your property value will rise as you make improvements to insulation; upgrade your boiler and swap old draughty windows for new double glazed ones.
Whenever a property is rented or sold you need to order an energy performance certificate which rates a house from A, most efficient, through to G, least efficient and which informs potential buyers about energy usage and costs. Any green enhancements will make your house increasingly saleable and thus you should find a buyer more quickly. Speak to your estate agent and ensure they are aware of all the eco-friendly improvements you have made so they can fully inform potential buyers.
Many of us live in older style properties and while these may not be as green as new builds, there can still be major improvements made to them. Updating an older property is an eco-friendly move in itself as it means you are not wasting existing materials through demolition.
Neither will you need to source resources which have been shipped around the world, thus increasing their carbon footprint before they are even used for new home building purposes. The more each individual homeowner can do from a green perspective, the bigger the contribution will be made to the planet by preserving natural resources, contributing less to landfill and finally emitting less carbon dioxide.
Pic via 1 & 2 Helen Wallis, the author of this article, is a keen blogger with a passion for
everything green. By sharing her thoughts and experiences, she hopes
to make the world a more beautiful place for everyone.
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