How to make your home green
With the hottest years on record since 2010, many of us are looking for ways to live more sustainably and protect the planet for future generations. Aiming for a green home is a great place to start.
Now more than ever, it's easy to make simple changes that lower emissions and save energy. Running an eco-friendly house means more money in your pocket and makes a positive impact on the environment. It's a win-win.
How can I make my house eco-friendly?
First, start with household fundamentals: water, electricity and heating.
There are many tech-smart means of making green home improvements, cutting your utility bills and energy usage. If you have a limited budget, don't worry: there are plenty of simple swaps you can make to get green.
Waste less water
Climate change makes the status of our water supply more unpredictable, and excessive use costs you more money. It's a vital resource, so we need to use it as efficiently as possible.
Here are some water-saving tips:
Switch it up
After a long day at work, it's tempting to get lazy when it comes to electricity consumption. Remember, using less electricity helps reduce emissions and your bills, so it's a worthwhile pursuit.
Here are some simple eco-friendly solutions:
More than half of UK household fuel bills go on hot water and heating. Many homes aren't properly insulated, so we turn to central heating for warmth more often than we should. This means higher CO2 emissions and higher energy bills.
Try some of these tips for greener heat:
The good news is that, by the end of 2020, the government requires all gas and electricity suppliers to offer customers smart meters. This will help households monitor energy use remotely and keep track of the cost.
You may be eligible for a government boiler grant. If your boiler system is old, it's worth switching to a newer, more efficient model as doing so could save you more than £500 a year, decreasing your energy usage.
As it stands, UK landlords are legally obligated to pay up to £3,500 to improve the heat efficiency of their property before renting it out or upon tenancy extension – renters, know your rights!
Rather than buying produce, grow your own. Eating fruit and veg from your own back garden doesn't require shipping, helping to shrink that carbon footprint – take a look at our gardening guide, which shows you what to plant and when.
NASA states that some houseplants help remove pollutants and toxins from the air. Take a trip to the garden centre and fill your house with vibrant, pollution-busting plants, such as the Bamboo Palm or the Lilyturf, and breathe cleaner.
How can I make my household green?
- Try putting on a thick jumper and turning your thermostat down by one degree – this saves roughly £80 a year and eats up less fossil fuel – 320kg of CO2!
- Choose eco-friendly products for the home, switching from harsh chemical cleaning products to those that are natural. You'll breathe in fewer toxic chemicals and also reduce the pollution of our waterways.
- Open your curtains during the day, as sunlight is a free and eco-friendly way to heat your home.
- Keep your fridge in a shady part of the kitchen – if it's in direct sunlight, it uses more energy keeping cool.
- Use smart heating controls to cut your heating bills and manage your heating remotely through mobile apps when you're not at home.
What is a green home design?
You may be planning on building your own eco-friendly home instead of altering your current property. If this is something you're interested in, consider the following green design tips:
- Use green materials. These materials are natural, renewable, recyclable and/or durable, with minimal environmental impact. Examples include straw bales and timber.
- Utilise fewer building materials by focusing on efficiency in the design phase.
- Harness renewable energy wherever possible. For example, use solar panels.
- Aid water conservation through rainwater utilisation systems and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
In an ever-changing climate, protecting your home is more important than ever. While we can all make a collective effort to live more greenly, the natural world is unpredictable, so make sure you have good, reliable cover.