Top tips for living in a greener house
Many of the choices you make when deciding how to run your house can have an impact on the environment. There are some simple choices you can make which will reduce your carbon footprint and ensure that your home is as green as possible.
Reduce your energy consumption
There are a number of ways in which you can lower the amount of energy used within your home:
Insulation – there are several areas within your house which you can insulate in order to limit heat loss including floors, windows and radiators. A quarter of a property’s heat is lost through the roof so ensuring that this is well insulated can dramatically reduce overall heat loss.
Draught proofing – blocking up gaps throughout your home will help to keep warm air in and cold air out. By draught proofing your windows and doors you could save between £25 and £50 per year.
Installing underfloor heating – the energy required to run an underfloor heating system can be as little as two thirds of that needed for central heating, which makes it an eco and purse-friendly option.
Buy energy efficient appliances – all appliances now come with an energy efficiency rating from A to G. Appliances rated ‘A’ or higher will use less energy than those rated closer to G and are therefore better for the environment.
Choose environmentally friendly furniture
Invest for longevity – choosing durable furniture means that it is less likely to end up in a landfill. It is also advisable to buy pieces which could be easily fixed if they were to sustain any damage.
Choose British made pieces – sourcing furniture which is made close to home will reduce the number of air miles needed in order to deliver it, making the process better for the environment.
Experiment with upcycling – if you have items of furniture which no longer suit your taste you could use them to create something new instead of throwing them away. This may mean giving the piece a new look, or using the materials to make something completely different.
Check for the FSC logo – FSC certified wood is sourced from well managed forests, so you can feel assured that the wood product you are using has not contributed to the destruction of a forest. This is the opposite of ‘clear-cutting’ which can ruin entire ecosystems.
Decorate using eco friendly materials
Eco friendly materials have a lower impact on the environment than more conventional materials such as cotton and polyester, as fewer chemicals are used and less waste is produced during their production.
Textiles – fabrics made from materials such as organic cotton, bamboo and hemp can be produced with a reduced impact on the environment.
Paint – using an eco friendly paint with fewer chemicals than a standard paint is better for both your own health and the environment. Remember to keep hold of any leftover paint which can be used in the future for touch-ups too.
Clean with natural, homemade products
Homemade cleaners are kinder to the environment, and better for your health than the often harsh products which you can pick up in the supermarket. Using them can also save you money and cut down on the packaging-waste that your home produces. Recipes for environmentally friendly kitchen and bathroom cleaners, washing up liquid, stain removers and laundry detergents are available which means that you can avoid using chemicals to clean your home.
Many homemade cleaners can be created using white vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda which are inexpensive and easy to find, providing a simple way to make your home a greener place to live.
Install a renewable energy system
There are many renewable heating options that you could choose to install which will both reduce your energy bills and your carbon footprint.
Air source heat pump – this pump heats air from outside and either feeds it into your wet central heating system or circulates the warm air around your home using fans, depending on whether you choose an air-to-water or an air-to-air system.
Ground source heat pump – a ground source heat pump can warm underfloor or warm air heating systems, hot water and radiators, using heat absorbed from the ground. These are not easy to install but are efficient all year round.
Solar thermal circuits – evacuated tubes or plate collectors are installed onto the roof of your house and produce energy using light absorbed from the sun. This energy can then be used to provide your home with hot water.
By incorporating some of these ideas into your home you can help to reduce the negative impact it could have on the planet, save money and improve your living environment.
Sasha Davison is a digital content writer for Sentinel, an international provider of water treatment products and services for heating, hot water and renewable energy systems. Sentinel offer a full range of products to achieve best practice protection for domestic and commercial systems.