Is your Home as Environmentally Friendly as you Think?

a plant growing inside an old lightbulb to symbolise an eco friendly home

Whether it’s plastic in the oceans, carbon footprints or simply switching our lights off to save on energy, we’re all much more aware of our impact on the environment than we were even a decade ago. As part of this movement to becoming more conscious of the effect we have on the planet, increasing numbers of people are looking to make their homes more environmentally friendly. And in all honesty, this is a great place to start. We can't be responsible for big corporations and what businesses do to the planet, but we're in control of our choices at home. It's somewhere we spend a lot of our time, and so if we each do our bit here we can make a genuine difference. But how can we go about it? Here are some eco friendly ideas for the home.

It’s size that counts 
We all hanker after that little bit of extra space. Our whole lives, we seem to be working towards bigger and better houses, whether we need them or not. On a very simplistic level, larger spaces use more energy to heat. If you’re one person living in a three bedroom house for example, heating all those rooms just for you is not going to be very environmentally friendly. Not only will a smaller home be cheaper to run but you'll also use less of the world's resources to run it. If moving isn't an option, only heat the rooms you use. In hardly used guest bedrooms and storage rooms for example you can switch off the radiators and close the doors to keep your heat from escaping. 

Large glass windows can 'suck out’ your heat 
It’s nice to have a house that feels light and airy. However, having large swathes of glass in your home, can result in more heat loss and higher energy usage. If you live in a hot country, the reverse can be true, as when the sun beats through your windows, you’re going to have to pump up the air-conditioning to cool your home. If you do want to install those sliding glass doors out onto your patio or have that conservatory fitted, make sure they're as energy efficient as possible and consider going for triple glazing. 

Are you using more water than you need? 
Conserving water is a vital part of having an environmentally friendly home. Taking a shower, for example, rather than a bath, could save you around eighteen litres of water per person, per day! Don’t be fooled by a power shower, though- these can use more water than a bath in less than five minutes. Simple habits like turning off the tap while you brush your teeth and cutting down your hosepipe time in the garden can all make a difference. If you want to water your garden, invest in a rain storage tank. This will fill up with rainwater and can be used for your plants during drier times. The water that comes out of your tap uses damaging fossil fuels to power the cleaning process, so spraying it onto your garden is a huge waste of the resources used. Catching and using rainwater is far better, it can't be consumed by you but it's perfect for your garden!

Has your home been insulated properly?
Old houses may have little or no insulation. This could mean that they're much less energy efficient than a more modern, insulated home. If you want to go green at home there are things that you can do to make an older house more energy efficient, such as properly insulating any attic space. For some, it may be possible to get a grant from the government to carry out the necessary work. 

Small changes can make a big difference
Green living doesn't have to be difficult- you don’t have to spend a fortune to make your home more energy efficient. Simple things like conserving water or changing your lights to LEDs, can make a real difference. Also, closing your curtains in the winter as soon as it gets dark, can help to stop heat needlessly leaving through your windows. It may not feel like one household can make a difference, but when it comes to looking after our world, as a famous supermarket once said, every little really does help.

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