Eight Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
Many of us have become more aware of our impact on the planet and are taking active steps to reduce our carbon footprint, whether that’s through eating less meat, recycling more, or avoiding single use plastics. There are plenty of things you can do on an individual level to help the planet, but what about the impact of your home?
If you’re looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle, there are many changes that you can make to your home and plenty won’t break the budget either. If you want to do your bit for the planet (and save some money too), see below for just eight ways to make your home more eco-friendly.
Add a green roof
Green roofs aren’t just for public or commercial buildings, they’re a great addition to your home too. These living roofs are partially or completely covered with vegetation, which is planted over a waterproof membrane to protect your existing roof. As well as being extremely aesthetically pleasing, green roofs also have many further benefits for the environment and your home.
Installing a green roof helps to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the air, which is one of the main contributors towards global warming. It also makes your home more eco-friendly by improving its energy efficiency. Green roofs increase the insulation of your home, which means you’ll use less energy on cooling or heating systems and save money on your energy bills too!
Install a smart meter
Smart meters are a great way to manage your energy usage and ensure you’re not wasting energy unnecessarily – which is good for both the environment and your energy bills! Smart meters can be programmed so your heating only comes on at certain times of the day, or you can choose to ‘zone’ your heating for the rooms which need it most.
For example, you can programme your smart meter so the heating comes on for an hour in the morning and then an hour before you get home from work. This means you won’t be wasting money and energy heating the house when you’re not there.
Smart meters also come with a handy in-home display (IHD) that shows exactly how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence. If you have a thorough understanding of your usage, it’s easier to make small changes to reduce your energy consumption and lower your energy emissions.
The average person uses around 149 litres of water every day and that’s just for a one person household! A family of four can quickly use thousands of litres of water every week, so it’s important to conserve water where possible. There are plenty of easy ways to conserve water at home and you could start by installing a low-flow shower head. These can be easily fixed to your existing shower and they can cut water consumption by 40% or more, so you’ll save on water bills too!
Low-flow shower heads reduce the amount of water (but not the pressure) coming from your shower, so you don’t have to worry about a miserable trickle. Other ways to conserve water include:
- Turning off taps while brushing your teeth or washing your face.
- Only washing full loads in the washing machine.
- Waiting until the dishwasher is full before running a load.
- Adding a rain butt to your garden to conserve rainwater.
Energy efficient light bulbs
One of the easiest eco-friendly changes you can make is swapping your existing light bulbs for energy efficient versions. Only 10% of the energy used in traditional incandescent bulbs is converted to light; the other 90% is lost as heat, so a lot of this energy is wasted.
As the name suggests, energy efficient bulbs use less energy, which helps to reduce the carbon footprint of your home. There are several different options available, including halogen bulbs, fluorescent light bulbs and LED lights. LEDs are a very popular choice as they’re long-lasting, cheap to run and they consume a lot less energy compared to traditional bulbs.
Well insulated homes retain heat better, which means less energy is required to effectively heat your space. More insulation is another way to save money on your energy bills and your home will be more eco-friendly too! You can add insulation in several different areas, including cavity walls, your loft or attic, or the roof. You should always arrange an assessment from a professional insulation company first, to see which type of insulation would be best.
If you’re worried about the cost, you may be eligible for funding through an initiative like the ECO3 scheme. This government scheme gives eligible households funding for heating upgrades (like a new boiler or insulation) in a drive to make more homes as energy efficient as possible. You may be eligible for the ECO3 scheme if you’re in receipt of certain benefits; you can see the full list here.
The cost of double glazing can be quite expensive, but if you’re looking to make a long term eco-friendly investment, it’s worth it. Double glazing is composed of two layers of glass with insulating gas trapped in between, which acts as a shield to keep heat in, and cold air out. Double glazed windows ensure that your home is well insulated, so you can use less energy to heat your home and save money on your heating bills. It’s also incredibly durable and difficult to break, so your home will be more secure too!
Double glazed windows can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 680kgs per year, so they’re definitely worth thinking about if you want to make an investment.
You’ve probably heard of fast fashion and its negative impact on the environment, but so-called ‘fast furniture’ has an impact too. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) believes about half the wood used for furniture in the UK comes from unsustainable sources. Plus, additional materials used in furniture like foams, fabrics, plastics and laminates are often almost impossible to recycle and coated in toxic chemicals. A lot of this furniture is also produced in factories where environmental standards are low, so if you want to make your home interiors more eco-friendly, choose recycled or antique furniture instead. Many more companies are now producing stylish, new furniture designs, they’re simply made from sustainable materials like recycled wood. Or, if you’re looking for a unique, one of a kind piece, scour antique or charity shops for second hand furniture.
Don’t be put off if a piece isn’t perfect either, it might just need a little maintenance to look its best, like a new layer of polish, some new springs or some upholstery work.
Reduce food waste
UK households waste around 4.5 million tonnes of food each year and this waste then produces methane as it decomposes in landfill sites. Methane is a greenhouse gas that’s even more potent than carbon dioxide so it’s essential to cut back on food waste where possible. Get into the habit of weekly meal planning, or if you have more food than you need and it’s about to go off, cook a meal anyway and then freeze it.
You can also turn some food waste and kitchen scraps into compost for your garden. Save vegetable peelings, fruit, bread, coffee grounds, leaves, grass clippings and more, to create a nutrient rich compost for your plants. Avoid adding cooked food, meat, or glossy magazines (but newspaper is fine).
Green roof installations in Oxford from James Dunn Roofing
If you’re looking for a way to make your home more eco-friendly, reduce your carbon footprint and save on your energy bills, consider a green roof installation from James Dunn Roofing. With over 35 years of experience, we install eco-friendly roofing solutions which allow greenery to flourish, while still giving you the strength and durability you’d expect from your roof.
Green roofs don’t just look great; they’re easy to maintain, keep your home warm and they help to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As well as installations, we also offer repairs and maintenance, so give us a call today or contact us online for a free estimate.