8 Tips for a Greener Home
Some of you may have seen my previous blog post about different products to make your everyday life greener. So I thought I’d go one step further this time and give you some ideas on how to make your home more eco friendly. Plus, these tips could save you money too. Win-win!
P.S. None of these require any major alterations to your home but if you are doing a project or planning one, keep your eyes peeled as we’ve got another blog post for you too in the very near future…
1 . Take a look at your windows and doors.
Yes, the type of windows or doors you have installed will affect the energy efficiency of your home but if you’re not looking for a complete replacement job, why not start with draught excluders. Covering up any gaps will ensure cold draughts aren’t getting into your home and making your heating system work harder than it needs to. This can be anything as basic as a self adhesive rubber option or if you want something a bit more fun, Not on the High Street have some lovely indoor draught excluders which can be personalised too.
2 . Upgrade you lighting.
This one is super easy and your savings start immediately. If you’re thinking that the phase out of incandescent bulbs in the UK means you’re not going to make any savings, then think again. A 60W halogen bulb could be replaced with a 9W LED which is an 85% energy reduction plus the LED will last about 10 times longer. Even replacing that same 60W bulb with an 11W CFL still gives you an 18% energy saving. Bear in mind though that LEDs will last for around 50,000 hours which is much longer than either a halogen or a CFL. Want to calculate what that means money-wise? Check out this handy savings calculator to see what you could save. Double check how the brightness compares by comparing watts v. lumens hereto be sure you keep the light levels you want.
3. Make sure your house is well insulated.
I’m sure you’re all aware of this one, but insulation really is a big one when it comes to having an energy efficient home! Ok, so if your house is already built you’re probably not going to look at insulating cavity walls, but it is very simple to insulate your roof or loft space. A quarter of the heat in your home could be lost through an uninsulated roof space. According to the Energy Savings Trust, up to 270mm of loft insulation in a detached house could save £215 in fuel bills every year. Plus, with increasing fuel prices, this figure is likely to rise. Check out this handy guide from Which? for different types of loft insulation.
4. Install a more efficient heating system.
Ok, so this one is going to be a bit more expensive but definitely worth it in the long run. According to the Energy Saving Trust, heating and hot water account for 62% of an average home’s energy bills in the UK with heating accounting for about 55% of that. I won’t be delving into every option available, but here are a few things to consider when choosing your heating system (though if you want more information, then please do drop us a line!).
- If you have the option for gas available to you, use it. When gas is burned it produces 45% less carbon dioxide than electricity so it’s more environmentally friendly and it’s cheaper too.
- Have you considered installing a log burner? Log burners have been steadily growing in popularity in the UK since around 2009. Once installed, they are certainly very cheap to run and as burning wood is considered to be carbon neutral (trees absorb the same amount of CO2 as burning the wood releases), they are good for the environment too. If you want to go a step further, buy your wood locally as this will cut down on transport emissions and Certainly Woodcan show you where. Better yet, forage for your own wood! If you need a hand to choose the best model for you, take a look at this article from The Independent to get started.
- Another option to look at is a heat pump. In simple terms, a heat pump moves energy from one location to another using a small amount of energy. The source of that energy can be from the ground, the air or from air to water with the main types installed being either geothermal (or ground source) heat pumps or air source heat pumps. Green Match have a great site which provides more information on each as well as how to reach different suppliers. Just click here. Heat pumps are considered to be a renewable energy source too so if you install one, you could apply to receive quarterly payments from the UK government as part of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. More information on that here.
5 . Install tap aerators.
So far, we’ve only really covered energy savings but there are other ways to make your home more eco (and wallet!) friendly and this includes reducing your water consumption. Aerated tap inserts can be fitted very easily to your existing taps and work by mixing the water coming out with air to reduce flow but without a major reduction in pressure. Thames Water calculates that these inserts could saving a 1 litre of water per minute. Many water companies offer aerators as well as other water saving products, FOR FREE! Yep, you heard me correctly. Pop your postcode in here and see what you could claim: Save Water Save Money.
6 . Reduce water from toilet flushing.
Another FREEBIE offered by some water companies (again, check the above Save Water Save Money link), is The Hippo. This clever little device sits in the cistern and saves up to 3 litres of water per flush. Southern Water also offer the Save a Flush Bag for free. Check with your local water supplier to see if you can claim one too but bear in mind that these aren’t recommended for dual flush toilets.
7 . Install an eco shower head.
If you want to reduce your water consumption but still want that hot, powerful shower (definitely me!), then an eco shower head could be a good option. Eco shower heads have an integrated flow regulator which saves water by restricting water flow. These are not recommended for electric showers though just FYI. Take a look at EcoCamel, Pulse Eco and Mira for a range of options.
8 . Reuse water.
Simple, right? There are a few ways you can do this and I’ll start you off with a couple of ideas. Get yourself a water butt. In the UK we certainly have our fair share of rainfall so get a water butt to collect rainwater and use it to water your garden. There are a huge range of styles and prices and I spotted some for as little as £20! If you want to go a step further, you could even use that water for toilet flushing by installing a Rainwater Flushing System. Another option is to install a bathwater diverter. This allows you to send waste bath or shower water through the down pipes into a water butt or hose. Get creative with this one!
This is really just a starting point to get you thinking about a more efficient home as there are so many options and great products available on the market but I hope it’s been useful nonetheless. Give us a shout to share your ideas or if you need a bit more detail on any of the above.