The idea of making your home eco-friendly can seem like a daunting task and for some, the idea of it can conjure up images of rooms that are cold or futuristic, and clinical to look at. But, it’s time to move on from those ideas, and with the government’s newly announced Green Homes Grant – a voucher scheme to help 650,000 homes in England become more energy-efficient – there couldn’t be a better moment. We have 8 ideas for improving your home with the grant, but what about your general lifestyle?
By taking each room in turn, you can ease yourself into the eco mindset and before you know it, your eco credentials will be through the roof.
Tips for a green home by room
When buying paint to decorate, have you ever stopped to consider the toxins that are within each tin? Those fume induced headaches that you get after painting a room are a typical response to the VOCs working their magic. Switch to low-VOC paint brands to minimise their harmful release. You’ll do your bit for the environment and your body will thank you too.
The kitchen can make a huge contribution to an eco home. Switch to washing clothes at 30 degrees celsius – unless you’re washing a muddy football kit! – and only do a wash when you’ve got a full load of clothes. You won’t notice the difference in the quality of the wash but you’ll definitely spot a change for the better in your reduced electricity bill.
The products in your cupboard can also play their part. Swap shop-bought cleaning products for their greener equivalents. Baking soda, vinegar and table salt are all brilliant for removing stubborn stains and clearing blockages in your sink.
A high efficiency toilet can save the average family of four around £56 a year. Look for a low flow toilet which will only use 1.3 gallons of water at the most per flush, instead of at least 3.5. Placing pebbles or a bottle of sand in the tank will also reduce the amount of water that you use. If you’re wanting to give your bathroom a complete overhaul, ceramic tiles are a good pick. They’re made of 55-75% recyclable materials, helping you to do your bit for the environment, without scrimping on the overall finish.
Replace ordinary crack sealants with concrete sealants to close any gaps in the floor and insulate the garage. Concrete products contain little to no VOCs, so by cutting out the harsh chemicals across multiple rooms, you’ll make a big difference to your home’s eco rating. Many of us don’t realise that it’s not just paint that contains these toxic substances.
It’s easy to waste energy when you forget how long you’ve had the heating and lighting on. Installing a thermostat will make sure that you’re only heating and lighting the rooms when they’re in use by programming controls to switch on at specific times of the day. Although you can position thermostats across multiple rooms, the living room is a good location as it’s a main area which tends to be occupied the most throughout the day. It’s convenient to have the thermostat close by for when you suddenly remember that you’ll be away from home next week so need to change the timers. We all know what tends to happen when, “I’ll do it later” pops into our heads!
Are you proud of your green lifestyle or are you feeling guilty for not giving the environment much thought? Let us know by commenting below or getting in touch on Facebook and Twitter. We’re dying to find out the answer to our burning question – how green is your home?
Looking for tradesmen you can trust to help with your green home improvements? Post your job on Rated People and up to three tradesmen will get in touch to quote on your job. You’ll be able to view their individual profiles, complete with previous customer recommendations, to help you decide who to hire.