These days, investing in a greener home is about more than saving the environment. Green and energy efficient alternatives to common home features and appliances will often perform on the same level as what you currently have; more importantly, having a greener home can make it much more attractive to potential buyers and save you money on your monthly bills.
Indeed, going green does not have to mean giving up your car or moving to a hippy commune. Much of what you can do will even pay for itself over time!
Here are some of the best ways to make your home greener!
Eco-friendly bulbs got a lot of bad press when they first came out, and for good reason. People were confused by the shape and often claimed that they simply were not bright enough to be of any use.
However, many critics failed to address the advantages of switching to compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Changing just one bulb could lower your greenhouse gas emissions by over 400 pounds!
As for claims that CFL bulbs do not work properly, this is simply not the case. Most modern brands work perfectly well. Still, it never hurts to read customer reviews before choosing a new product or, if you want an expert opinion, to ask a local electrician.
In your average house, a great deal of heat is lost through the windows, either because they are single-glazing or because of gaps around the frames. Indeed, during winter as much as 40% of a property’s heat can be lost through the windows!
Switching to double glazing can help you in a number of ways. Firstly, it will prevent heat loss in winter, allowing you to heat up your property and keep it warm with less energy. Secondly, it will help to keep your property cool during summer, allowing you to save money on air conditioning (which can take up a great deal of power, especially if you leave it on throughout the day).
The downside to double glazing is that it can be quite expensive. If you cannot afford this option, go around your windows and look for any gaps or signs of rot. Reseal the area and replace different parts as necessary. Remember, any investments you make will help to reduce your bills over time.
If you decide to have work done to your windows, remember to have it done by an experienced local glazier. A mistake with an installation or repair job could reduce the effectiveness of the windows and leave you out of pocket.
Low-Flow showers and toilets, like energy saving light bulbs, did not have much of a positive reputation when they first came out. While they saved water, many brands simply were not very practical. Luckily, the choices out on the market today are of a much higher quality.
Switching to a low-flow shower head could save 15-25 gallons of water per day, depending on how many people live in your home. Low-flow toilets meanwhile are just as efficient as normal toilets while using only half the water!
Switching your household appliances to green alternatives does not mean having to sacrifice quality, or even investing in eco-focused brands. These days, appliances in general are much more efficient than they were a decade ago. A typical kettle now might have been seen as an eco-kettle 15 years ago!
One of the good things about replacing your appliances is that you do not have to do it all at once. Start with the appliances which you get the most use out of, or the oldest ones, and go from there.
Remember, if your old appliances are still working, there is no need to simply throw them out (especially as there may be serious fines for doing so). Your local council may have a free collection service or, failing that, you can always find a new owner for your goods on freecycle websites.
Smart meters are already being rolled out across the UK as part of a government initiative to go green. Your energy provider may have asked you about it already and you can usually get one for free simply by asking them.
The potential disadvantages of smart meters put some people off, but they have a lot of benefits to offer. It is easy to leave your heating on for longer than necessary, especially in winter. It could be that your bills are high because you keep forgetting to turn your boiler off during the day!
A smart meter is easy to programme so that it only turns on at certain times, and you can even control the temperature remotely. This gives you greater control about how much energy you use, allowing you to significantly reduce your bills.
Solar panels tend to be a ‘love them or loathe them’ kind of thing. Some people think they are a fantastic source of green energy, while others simply think they look ugly and off-putting.
Regardless of your first impression, it is worth finding out just what solar panels have to offer. They collect energy even in cloudy weather, and it is even possible to send excess energy back to the grid.
The downside is that solar panels can be somewhat expensive. While they will certainly help you save money, it could take several years for them to pay for themselves. If you are unsure, speaking to an electrician can help you to find out whether solar panel installation will be a worthwhile investment for your home.
One of the absolute best ways to make your property greener isn’t with smart technology or major life changes (though these certainly help). No, the best way to raise your property’s energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to add good old fashioned insulation!
Insulation helps to trap heat inside a property, making it cheaper and more efficient to keep it warm. The best place to start will be with loft or roof insulation, as heat rises and is most commonly lost through the top of a property.
Over time, insulation can have a huge impact on your monthly heating bills. Raising your home’s energy efficiency will also make it more attractive to potential buyers, who will need to consider the running costs of your home as well as its price tag. To get started, book a site visit with a local insulation specialist.