We're living in an increasingly carbon-conscious world, and by making your home more eco-friendly, you could save money on bills, make your property more sellable, and even add to its value. Whatever your budget, here are some of the ways to do it...
1. Improve insulation
There’s no point adding new, renewable energy sources to your home if it isn’t insulated well enough to keep the heat in. If you’re going to consider eco-friendly assets, then having solid insulation to start with is a must. Sure, it costs money to insulate various aspects of your home (some more than others), but with the savings you'll make on energy costs, it's really cost-effective.
Draught-proofing, for instance, involves closing off any gaps where cold air might be coming in and heat escaping. It's relatively simple to do in most homes, and it could save you £30 a year.
2. Invest in double or triple-glazed windows
Over 10% of energy can be lost through windows, so if you’re living with single glazing, then it’s time for an upgrade. Having single-pane windows will often lower the price of your property and could put people off purchasing entirely. Double or triple glazing will slow heat transfer and save you money on electricity and gas bills.
3. Swap blinds out for curtains
And thick curtains at that. They’re good for conserving energy in rooms you use a lot in the winter. Especially in places like the bedroom and living room, where you’re likely to spend most of your time.
4. Install solar panels
Solar panels are a significant investment, but they’ll ultimately make you self-sufficient and will decrease your energy bills considerably. Typically, they can cost thousands of pounds to install, and it generally takes several years to see a return on investment. That said, solar panels will increase the value of your home and could generate more interest in your property – particularly with younger buyers. Click here to get an estimation for your home, using the Energy Saving Trust's calculator.
5. Consider an electric car
Consumer demand for electric vehicles soared to record new highs following the fuel shortage crisis of 2021. But the reality is, those numbers have been steadily climbing for the past few years, as people make greener purchasing decisions.
So why are electric cars kinder to the planet? Put simply, they’ve got no tailpipe, so they don’t produce carbon monoxide emissions like traditional vehicles do. This reduces pollution and improves air quality. Consider switching to an electric car, and go one step further by investing in an at-home charger – not only could this inspire a future buyer to make the switch also, but it could add thousands of pounds in value to your property.
6. Recycle water
It’s fair to say that we get our fair share of rainwater here in Old Blighty. So why not put it to good use? Recycled water can be used for everything from filling your washing machine to watering the garden, and there are lots of ways to do it – from collecting it from the roof via a humble barrell, to an all-singing, all-dancing underground harvesting system. The more water you recycle, the bigger the reduction on your water bill.
7. Upgrade your boiler
Inefficient boilers can be really damaging. If you’re running off an old boiler it could be costing you some serious money, not to mention increasing your carbon footprint.
Boilers account for 60% of the carbon dioxide emissions in homes heated by gas, so consider upgrading to a higher-grade boiler. A boiler with a Grade A rating is the most energy efficient, and many potential buyers will look for these kinds of features when looking to purchase a home. Don’t stop there, either – we’d recommend annual boiler checks to ensure it’s working as efficiently as possible. It’ll extend the life of your boiler, too.
8. Consider a smart meter…
There are many benefits to a smart meter. No more meter readings, as the meter will automatically send updates to your provider, and that means no more ‘estimated’ bills, and more accurate ones. Smart meters also help shift your awareness when it comes to energy consumption. You get an accurate and real-time view of what you’re using, plus you can programme the system to come on and off when you want it to – for example, to warm the house up in the morning, and then go off again. It's great for carbon footprint AND billing purposes.
9…and a smart thermostat
Want to adjust your heating remotely? A smart thermostat uses wi-fi to receive instructions from your phone, so you can get things nice and cosy for when you return. Some smart thermostats are also so smart, they actually ‘learn’ your behaviour, and heat and cool a room accordingly, based on whether you’re in it or not.
10. Keep an eye on the kettle
Making a cup of tea? Boil enough water for the one cup – don’t be tempted to fill up the entire kettle and flip the switch. If you are an ‘over-filler’, think about getting an eco-kettle, which boils faster and uses much less energy than a traditional one.
11. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
Lots of cleaning products are packed with chemicals that are harmful to the environment, and when they’re tipped down the plughole, it takes a lot to cleanse the water supply. Instead, clean green by making some simple and efficient swaps. Out with the harsh bleach and detergents, and in with vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice. You’ll be surprised at how effective these are!
12. Shower smart
It’s true that showering can use way less water than bathing, but this doesn’t apply if you’re spending 30 minutes under a running shower, or you’re the owner of a super powerful, super uneconomical shower head. Look for what’s known as a ‘low-flow’ shower head instead, which will save water and keep your water heating bills down, plus still has a decent amount of pressure.
13. Don’t charge your devices overnight
Most phones, tablets, and laptops will fully charge in just a couple of hours so. And yet, many of us plug them in and let them charge up while we sleep. The thing is, once the device is sufficiently charged, it continues to use electricity while connected to the power source. It’s a small amount of energy, but its wastage nonetheless.
14. Don’t forget your light bulbs
Gone are the days when energy-efficient light bulbs didn’t shine as brightly as regular light bulbs, although the perception of poor quality remains. In actual fact, energy-efficient light bulbs use up to 80% less energy than the regular kind, AND they last much, much longer.
15. Seek local maintenance people for jobs
Need something doing around the house? Search local. After all, there’s little point in making an effort to live in a more eco-friendly home, and then having a builder drive 100 miles to get a job done inside it. Rezigo seeks out reliable, fully vetted traders in your area. Click here to book your next job.
16. Stack your dishwasher efficiently…
You don’t need us to tell you how wasteful it is to put the dishwasher on with just a few cups and saucers. Instead, wait until it’s fully stacked to do a load. Or use a more economical function – some dishwashers offer a ‘top shelf’ wash, for instance.
17…and avoid ‘peak times’
Most dishwashers come with a delay or schedule function, which lets you run a load at a later time in the day. Avoid the post-dinner rush and schedule your dishwasher to come on, say, in the middle of the night, and you’ll help lessen the demand on the energy grid.
18. Fix leaky taps
Smaller issues like this can take forever to get around to (if ever!), but they can have a real impact. Let's say your tap drips 10 times a minute (common). That equates to around three litres of water wasted a day!
19. Clean your fridge coils
To keep your fridge running efficiently (and by efficiently, we mean nice and cold without using up a ton of electricity), it’s important to keep it clean. And we’re not just talking about the shelves and compartments. You need to clean the coils every few months or so.
So what are coils? The metal ring-shaped components around the back (or at the bottom) of the appliance. These coils work to cool and condense the fridge, and they release heat in order to do this. When they’re clogged up with dirt and gunk, they can’t release heat efficiently. The solution? Grab your hoover and a paint brush (or toothbrush), and get to work!
20. Change your habits
Purchasing an energy monitor can help you track the effect any eco-friendly changes you've made have had on your energy consumption, and they’re relatively cheap to buy. It’s a great starting place if you’re looking to save money, and it’ll often encourage investment in other areas later on.
Inspired to upgrade your boiler or level-up those windows? We’ve got an army of (vetted) tradespeople ready and waiting to help. Click here to compare free quotes from Rezigo's vetted service providers.