If like me you’re always looking for ways to reduce your environmental impact then take a look at my top 5 home improvements that can help the planet whilst saving you a few £££ along the way.
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How to make your home environmentally friendly
Eco friendly home improvements can be costly, but if you’re investing in a renovation for the ideal home these ideas will make all the difference to ongoing bills and will certainly make your new home kinder to the environment. Here’s a little look at what we’ve done and a couple we’re planning to do shortly.
Number one – Log burner
Our homes can be expensive things to run, especially in the winter months when we are reliant on gas central heating to keep us warm. But this isn’t the only heating option available. Yes we could switch to electric but this also isn’t cost effective which is why we decided to have a log burner installed in our living area.
If you know where to look, the fuel can be sourced for free and if you don’t, buying in bulk can be very cost effective. There is of course the challenge of having somewhere to store it all, but with a little creativity this can be achieved whilst not spoiling the aesthetic of your outdoor space.
Our log burner cost about £3k to have installed and we’ve never needed to purchase wood to keep it going. A sound investment which has reduced our need to consume fossil fuels.
Number two – Solar heating
Solar water heating is perfect if you already have solar panels. Whilst we generate our own electricity to power our home we also make use of a nifty gadget call Immersun.
Immersun diverts the generated electricity from our solar panels and sends it to our hot water tank, which acts as an immersion heater for our hot water storage. So whilst our hot water is primarily heated by a gas boiler, it’s kept hot by the power of the sun. That’s pretty cool and it saves us about £80 per year.
Number three – New radiators
A number of the radiators in our house were in need of a facelift when we moved in. They were about as old as the house, looking very tired and were definitely not as efficient as some of the newer radiators on the market. Radiators can be expensive but if you shop around and buy from places like Trade Radiators then you can find something stylish, efficient and cost-effective. If replacing your radiators isn’t ideal then radiator covers can also be a suitable option. You can even make your own radiator covers with this simple step-by-step guide.
Number four – Efficient boiler
Next on our list of home improvements is to replace our gas boiler. We’ve had it in the house since we purchased it in 2014 and it’s a good few years older. Whilst the boiler is still in good working condition it’s not going to be as economical to run as a new boiler.
Modern boilers are much more efficient to run with average savings around £250 per year when switching. It typically costs around £2000 to upgrade but can be a very savvy decision early on in a renovation project. If, however, you don’t have a gas supply to your property then you might want to consider heat source pumps or biomass heating systems such as wood burning stoves. Putting a reasonable amount of research into these alternative options and speaking to experts can most certainly help reduce your environmental impact.
Number five – Smart home thermostats
Smart home thermostats and valve controls like Google’s Nest or Hive can help you control your homes heating and hot water easily from a stylish thermostat or any smart device.
This not only makes things convenient but also helps you take close control of your homes temperature wherever you are in the world. We’ve had our Hive smart thermostat and hot water controller for nearly 4 years now and can’t recall the number of times we been able to control our homes temperate whilst away from the house. It’s saved us a small fortune. Next on our list is to add individual valve controls to each radiator, smart Phillips Hue lighting and more security devices. These systems are ever evolving and when used to their full advantages can save a reasonable amount of money.
Further low cost ideas to make your home green
Making our homes more economic and efficient is vitally important for the future of our planet but it’s not easy for everyone to be able afford some of these upgrades. You might be eligible for a government grant to make some of these home improvements but if not, here are a few ideas to help reduce those bills without any major investments:
- Wash clothes on a lower temperature
- Only wash full loads
- Avoid wasting water where possible
- Don’t leave appliances on standby
- Defrost your freezer
- Set your thermostat to a lower temperature
- Switch to a water-saving shower head
There are many more ideas out there, whether you’re investing in a new property development or just trying to improve what you already have. Try looking through great resources such as Money Saving Expert and Blue & Green Tomorrow for more great ideas and products that will save money and the environment.
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