We understand that making your home greener can feel like a daunting task, so we’ve gathered everything you need to know all in one place, and will continue to add content to keep you as up to date as possible.
One of the easiest ways to begin making your home green is by starting with smaller improvements, such as switching to energy efficient lightbulbs and turning off appliances at the plug. Before you know it, you will be building up to the larger jobs such as installing solar panels, insulation and double glazing.
Follow the links in this section of the Hub to find out more about what changes you can make, initial costs, and how much you can save. We have also gathered all the important information regarding EPC Ratings, Building Regulations and more, so that you don’t have to.
Home and Property
Some simple habits you can form to reduce energy consumption start with being conscious of your appliance usage. By remembering to switch off appliances at the plug when not in use, such as phone chargers and televisions, positioning appliances in cooler areas of the house so that they expend less heat energy, such as moving refrigerators away from ovens, and out of direct sunlight, and using smaller appliances when possible, such as laptops instead of computers, can all contribute to lower energy consumption.
There are a variety of low energy shower heads and toilets currently available to further reduce water consumption. These include:
- low-flow showerheads, which are available in different flow rates, and can even include a pause button which shuts off the water.
- low-flow toilets, which can reduce usage to an average of 8 litres-per-flush, saving 45,000 litres of water per year.
- Vacuum-assist toilets, which uses a siphon action to suck air from the trap beneath the bowl.
- Dual-flush toilets, which let you choose between a smaller flush, and a larger flush. Dual-flush toilets can reduce water consumption by an additional 30%.
While insulating your walls, windows and doors is essential for maintaining efficient heating in your home, insulating your loft effectively can be just as important. If insulated inefficiently, your loft can act as a huge energy vacuum, sucking your heating straight out of the roof. If your loft is easily accessible, wool insulation can help you save this wasted energy. For inaccessible spaces, you can have insulation blown in by a professional.
A simple but effective energy saver, if you've got one or more room thermostats, simply turning them down by 1°C you could save over £50 per year. Eventually, you should consider going the extra mile and installing a programmable thermostat, which you can use to control your heating and cooling needs automatically, up to 4 times a day. You can set a thermostat to turn on when you wake up and turn off when you leave the house, saving even more on energy bills.
Another of the most well-known green home improvements you can make is to install energy-efficient windows. Double and triple-glazed windows create an insulating barrier to ensure heat is kept inside the property, reducing waste and saving you money. What’s more, steel and uPVC window frames can be recycled, while sustainably sourced timber is another option, especially for historic homes.
You could make great savings by installing a modern, energy-efficient boiler, especially when you consider that heating accounts for a large amount of your energy bills. Modern condensing boilers are more efficient than conventional boilers because they require less heat from the burner and capture more of the heat before it’s released.
Water consumption is a necessary part of any functioning home, and will be one of the most demanding areas of household energy use as a result. A few things you can do to reduce this include fixing dripping taps, which, despite seeming minor, can equate to filling around two baths of wasted water a year without maintenance.
Only boiling the water you need will reduce the amount of energy required for water heating – If you just want a single cup of tea or coffee use your cup to see how much water to put in the kettle.
If you have the option between using a shower and a bath, treat baths as a luxury and opt to use showers as much as possible.
If you’ve upgraded your boiler, you may want to upgrade your radiator also. Some older radiators may not be able to handle the output from your new boiler, especially if you are getting a larger boiler than you had previously. If your radiators are quite small, they will need to be hotter to heat the room to your preferred temperature, causing the boiler to work harder. Larger radiators are also a more efficient alternative as they can run at a lower temperature and still heat the room sufficiently.
Shading your house via natural landscaping with trees can help reduce surrounding air temperatures, and keep your house cooler in the summer. Because cool air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under trees can be much cooler than air temperatures above them. For the best results, plant deciduous trees with high, spreading leaves and branches at the south of your home, where possible.
For more information on green home improvement suggestions, follow the links below:
10 Ways you can make your home more energy efficient, according to Mose Home Inspection Services
9 ways to make your home more energy efficient, according to Green Home Guide
Top 11 ways to save energy at home (with infographics), according to Money Super Market
Green home improvement ideas from Legal and General
Washing your clothes is another big contributor to inefficient water consumption in the home. But this can be reduced through smarter methods of washing, such as doing one full load of washing rather than two small loads.
Washing your clothes at lower temperatures, for example, 40°C, or even 30°C if possible, rather than 60°C, can be up to 30% cheaper. A typical tumble dryer can cost around £115 per year to run, so if the weather permits, take advantage of it by hanging them outside instead. For rainy days, use a clothes horse inside, but do so in a room with good ventilation or open the window to get rid of the water vapour in the air, until they're dry or almost dry. If required, you can then put them in the dryer to finish them off.
If upgrading your radiator isn’t going to cut it for your energy reduction needs, then you might want to consider underfloor heating. Underfloor heating can be a big task, but the payoff is worth it: They work to distribute heat evenly and consistently around each room, with a suitably sized unit being able to heat a larger area than an individual radiator. Underfloor heating will also run at lower temperatures than radiators, reducing your heating bills as a result. What’s more is that your floors will stay warm even if the windows are open or the room is very draughty, creating less wastage, and they can be installed below a variety of flooring options including stone, tile, wood or carpeted floors.
Buying A-rated appliances where possible can also significantly reduce energy costs. When you consider that you will likely have a washing machine, oven, fridge freezer, hob and possibly a dishwasher, it’s easy to see how the savings can quickly add up, so it’s worth reducing the energy consumption of your appliances where possible. For example, an A-rated tumble dryer could cost as little as £35 a year to run, saving you up to £80 per year when compared to the bottom of the range dryers.
In association with the launch of our new Green products; our Enviro Saver and Retro Fit Mortgage, we have created an eco-focused space to help us all become a little more environmentally conscious.Find out more