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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.

Follow our guide and learn how to create an eco-friendly house – long-term it'll be worth it.

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:

  • Installing a more efficient shower head decreases water usage and could save you almost £200 a year.
  • Fit aerators to taps and a flow regulator to your shower.
  • Only hit the start button on your washing machine when you have a full load. It uses the same amount of water as a half load and is much less wasteful.
  • Use a bowl for washing up rather than letting the tap run. If possible, use cold water rather than waiting for it to heat.
  • Purchase a water butt to collect rainwater, then water your garden with it.

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:

  • Swap all your household bulbs for LEDs. Not only do they last up to 25 times longer, they'll also save you up to £35 a year on bills.
  • If you're not using a room, turn off the lights.
  • Avoid filling rooms with unnecessary light fixtures.
  • Many appliances such as microwaves and stereos appear to be switched off, but are actually on standby. Unplugging appliances can save you roughly £30 a year.
  • Consider using standby savers, which can switch all of your appliances off in one go.

Don't overheat

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:

  • Take advantage of your thermostat to avoid your heating system chugging away all day. This handy gadget allows you to set your desired temperature and activates the heating system accordingly. Most also have in-built timers.
  • If you're on a tight budget, draught excluders and thermal wallpapers are cheap ways to keep your home warm.
  • A home with uninsulated cavity walls loses roughly a third of its heat through the walls, so installing insulation is a smart move, as well as roof and loft insulation. Homes with solid walls are unlikely to be insulated – again, installing insulation is a worthwhile investment.
  • Switch old windows for double-glazed ones.

Get smart

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!

Green fingers

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?

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. Open your curtains during the day, as sunlight is a free and eco-friendly way to heat your home.
  4. Keep your fridge in a shady part of the kitchen – if it's in direct sunlight, it uses more energy keeping cool.
  5. 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:

  1. Use green materials. These materials are natural, renewable, recyclable and/or durable, with minimal environmental impact. Examples include straw bales and timber.
  2. Utilise fewer building materials by focusing on efficiency in the design phase.
  3. Harness renewable energy wherever possible. For example, use solar panels.
  4. Aid water conservation through rainwater utilisation systems and low-flow plumbing fixtures.

What next?

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.

Seeking quality, straightforward home insurance? Hastings Direct offers a range of home insurance options, so you'll be in good hands.

Home insurance

We know how important your home and its contents are to you. That's why we offer home insurance that covers you for the unexpected expense that theft, loss and damage can bring. Plus, you can choose from a great range of optional extras.

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