Sustainability is the buzzword of our time, from the overwhelming need to reduce carbon emissions to recycling being a priority for many.
However, it can sometimes be tricky to know how we can realistically help the environment without spending a fortune or making the odd hiccup. Whilst you may find yourself accidently putting plastic in the “normal” bin or driving your car around the corner to the shops, all is not lost. There are small improvements you can make in your own home to make a difference to the environment.
Sustainable homes have the possibility of selling for a higher value and help to save you money in the long term. Some eco-friendly initiatives include large renovations, such as; reinstalling recycled surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms, fitting in large windows across the home or creating a green roof, all of which can end up being quite costly.
For a lot of us, these changes are not a viable option as it takes a lot of investment and resources. By making smaller, cost-efficient alterations to your home, your wallet (and the planet!) will thank you.
1. Use insulation
An excellent way to bring down energy bills is to reduce the amount of heat coming in and out of your home. Using natural or recycled materials, such as sheep’s wool in your loft is a great start. Good insulation helps to maintain a manageable temperature inside, regardless of the weather outside.
2. Choose energy-efficient appliances
Fridges and freezers can be the second biggest cost on energy bills after central heating, if not chosen properly. Choosing appliances carefully based on their energy rating will help you out long term.
This also includes appliances such as eco-bulbs (LED bulbs) which use up to 85% less energy than other types of bulbs and last up to 20 times longer. Although they initially cost a little more, you will soon see the benefits due to the reduced running costs.
3. Think renewable
Renewable technologies such as solar or thermal panels help to you to generate your own energy to power your home. Although we don’t live in the Bahamas with sun circulating a lot of the time, any kind of daylight can help save on energy bills.
If solar panels are not an option for you, by switching to renewable energy suppliers as opposed to popular tariffs, according to the Guardian, can save you in excess of £250 a year.*
4. Maximise natural light
Natural light can help reduce costs on electricity whilst also helping to create a brighter and healthier space to live in. Some houses are blessed with large bay windows, where blinds and curtains should be open for as long as possible before the dark of night hits. If you’re stuck for window space, you can try using lighter coloured paints and flooring to help the natural light bounce from the windows.
5. Minimise waste
Minimising waste and recycling wherever possible helps save you from having to buy new products consistently. For example, rather than throwing out the plastic takeaway container from your dinner last night, use it as a lunch box for the following day or it could also make for great storage.
6. Shop smart
Source eco-friendly decorations for your home. Try purchasing items such as renewable or reclaimed furniture, including; wood from certified forests or flax, jute and cotton instead of plastics. Furniture from salvaged wood can give your home unique character whilst also remaining environmentally friendly.