20 Ways To Make Your Home (and lives) More Energy Efficient
How to make your home more energy efficient
It doesn’t take much to make a difference – you can reduce your impact on the planet by simply following these 20 steps towards eco-friendly living.
- Install cavity wall insulation
If your house has cavity walls that are in good condition, adding insulation into the gap between them is an excellent way to cut down on heating usage and costs. A three-bed household with gas heating can save over 800kg of CO2 and hundreds of pounds per year.
- Get your loft insulated
Lofts are another ideal location for adding materials that will keep your house warmer for longer. For an extra eco-friendly boost, consider alternatives to the traditional fiberglass, such as sheep’s wool and recycled plastic bottles. These options are just as effective but save tonnes of carbon in the manufacturing process.
- Choose a photovoltaic solar panel
Even when the weather is cloudy, photovoltaic solar panels can generate electricity from the sunlight to power your home, or sell extra to the National Grid. The estimated carbon saving for UK homes with solar panels is one tonne per year, though areas with more sunshine will reliably produce more energy.
- Install a hot water solar panel
These rooftop panels heat the water used for your taps, showers, and baths. This allows you to significantly reduce the energy being used to power your boiler, which will instead be used as a backup system when sunlight is low.
- Opt for triple-glazed windows
In the colder areas of Northern Europe, triple-glazed windows are used as a standard to improve energy efficiency. If you’re building a new home or updating the windows in a house with good insulation everywhere else, triple-glazing is a worthwhile investment to reduce ongoing emissions and costs.
- Turn appliances off, don’t leave them on standby
When electrical appliances are on standby, they use varying amounts of electricity to keep things running. Many people think that leaving one TV or charger plugged in overnight won’t make a difference, but collectively these all add up, leading to huge quantities of wasted energy across the UK.
- Choose energy-saving light bulbs
While there are a few types to choose from, LED energy-saving light bulbs are the newest and most efficient. They are slightly more expensive initially, but they reach full brightness straight away and can last up to an impressive 25 years.
- Install an air source heat pump
This outdoor addition is one of the most effective ways to reduce emissions related to heating, and is particularly recommended for houses outside of the gas grid. The pump can convert any temperature of air into heat for your radiators or underfloor system, using only a small amount of electricity in the process.
- Grown your own vegetables
Most vegetables that make it to supermarket shelves have travelled across the world on trains, planes, lorries, or boats. This journey emits huge amounts of carbon, as does the industrial farming process, and the manufacturing of packaging. Any vegetables you’re able to grow at home will avoid all of these emissions.
- Reduce your air travel
The carbon footprint of a single long-haul flight is as large as six months of emissions from the average UK household. While travelling by plane is unavoidable in some instances, you can reduce the size of your own footprint by choosing alternatives such as trains or coaches where possible.
- Install a wind turbine
There are various sizes of turbine, right down to single-household options. If you’ve got some land surrounding your house where the wind speeds are typically high, a turbine could be producing enough energy to power your whole home. Like other renewables, they can also be used alongside your current system.
- Recycle your rubbish
Recycling is one of the simplest eco-friendly habits to form if it is accessible to you. You can reuse things creatively at home, or make use of your council’s recycling collections. Be sure to thoroughly check what can and can’t be recycled, as not all areas have the same rules.
- Buy locally-sourced food
Just like home-grown vegetables, locally-sourced food has had a much shorter journey from farm to table, and its flavour tends to pack a bigger punch too. You can find a large range of prices and items at specialist shops, farm stalls, and weekly markets. Many regions have box delivery services available too.
- Leave the car at home
If you are able to take a bike, walk, or wheelchair then you can cut down massively on your emissions. If your work is close by, check if your employer is part of the Cycle to Work scheme, which supports people with the costs of a bike for their commute.
- Take showers, not baths
Filling up a standard bath uses approximately the same amount of hot water as showering for a full thirty minutes. If having a bath is part of your routine, switching to a ten-minute shower will vastly decrease your water consumption.
- Install a low-flow showerhead
Some power showers use so much water that they rival baths in terms of consumption. If you have consistent water pressure in your home, installing a low-flow showerhead is a great way to restrict how much water you’re using without impacting your showering experience too much.
- Choose low wattage light bulbs
In medium household rooms, lower watt or lumen bulbs are often sufficient. Purchasing energy-saving bulbs is the easiest way to save electricity in this way, as they are usually clearly marked with their consumption and best usage details.
- Put on a jumper before turning up the heat
It seems so simple, but many people who become used to a very warm house expect it to feel the same throughout the year. If you find yourself in shorts and a t-shirt in December, you may be able to reduce heating consumption by wrapping up more.
- Install a water butt for keeping your garden green
Collecting rainwater in a butt is the best way to get the most out of bad weather. The water is free, suitable for use in the garden, and saves you from consuming lots of water with the garden tap or hose.
- Buy concentrated eco-friendly cleaning products
Many cleaning brands now offer concentrated alternatives to their products, so you will get the same longevity but with far less packaging. This means less plastic is going to waste, and fewer carbon emissions in the manufacturing process too. There are no downsides to making this switch, so it’s a smart first step to take.
Simply by being mindful of what you use and how you use it, you can start to live a more eco-friendly life.
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