Being eco-friendly is a big concern for most people now, no matter if you own your house or rent it. Even if you don’t care massively about the environment, making an effort to be green will save you a lot of money.
Energy prices have been on the rise, and people have to pay a lot more for their bills than before.
Electricity and gas are both major expenses and reducing our use of them will cut our monthly spends. There are other ways of being more environmentally-friendly too, from recycling to saving water, both of which I’m pretty big on!
If you want to turn your home into a greener place to live read on. If you want the world to die, click away. (Jokes, I think. Lol. Moving on…)
Most homes in the UK are heated by gas or electricity, some by other methods like those fancy solar panels. Gas is also used for cooking with ovens, hobs or both. In the last decade, the average household bill has risen by hundreds of pounds. Not only is it expensive, but it’s not the most eco-friendly way of heating our homes either. If you’re not in a position to use a different heating system, you can still make changes. There’s plenty you can do to bring the cost of your bill down.
Firstly, you should ensure you home will heat up and retain its warmth. If your loft or attic isn’t insulated, it’s one of the first things you should do. Apparently you can even get a government grant for it! Cheers David Cameron! Make sure the rest of your home is keeping the heat in too by checking for air leaks and cold spots. Double glazing on your windows is essential for a warmer home. Another way to save money is by not turning on the heating at the first hint of a chill. Get out extra jumpers, fluffy socks and blankets first (any excuse for more shopping?) Try to keep doors closed too, and only heat the rooms you’re using.
If you own your home, you have another option. Providing you can afford it, you can think about changing your heating system. Instead of gas, there are several renewable options that you can use. For example, you can have a wood burning stove, which uses wood chips or something similar to run. Solar panels can be used to heat the water in your boiler, or you can use a heat pump that uses heat from the air or ground. Have a look at Government schemes such as the Green Deal and the Renewable Heat Incentive. They could help you cover the costs.
Next to gas, electricity is probably also a considerable expense in your home. If you want to generate your own energy, there are a number of ways you can do it. For example, you can install solar panels, or you can get a wind turbine (maybe not if you don’t live on a farm…). If you’re lucky enough to live on land with a stream or similar running water, you can even use hydropower. Finding an energy source that works for your home could take a while, though. So you have to consider each option carefully.
If you’re not able to use renewable energy sources, you can change how you use electricity. We can all be more responsible with how much energy we use, and it isn’t very difficult. Most of the things you can do are common sense, but you just have to remember to do them. For example, turning a light off when there’s no one in the room or switching off appliances at the mains can add up to make a big difference.
Lighting and Appliances
Your choice of electrical items can help you reduce your energy use too. Look for devices that have an Energy Star rating. You’ll find it on anything from washing machines to computers. Before you buy any major appliances, do your research about which ones are most energy efficient. Some are more important than others. For example, your fridge will always be switched on, so it’s worth finding one that will save energy. One of the easiest things you can do is to replace your light bulbs. LED bulbs use much less energy than traditional ones. They’re also much better than the energy-saving bulbs of old, which took ages to turn on properly.
Water conservation is important too, and there are lots of ways to use less in your home. Reusing water is one of the ways that you can save it. For example, if you use water to boil pasta or potatoes, you can save it for your watering can. The same goes for bathwater, which you can also use to water your garden. Using water butts in your garden will help you harness the power of rainwater too. You can make sure you use less water too by using a few smart gadgets. For example, flow regulators from bestecoshop will stop you turning your taps on at full blast. You can get some great little tools for monitoring your usage too. The Waterpebble product goes in your shower and tells you when it’s time to get out.
Most people are now encouraged to recycle some of their waste. Of course, you could just throw everything away. But that becomes inconvenient when you have fewer rubbish collections. Recycling is easy, even if your local council doesn’t ask you to do it. Set up a station in your kitchen or utility room to separate all your waste. You can have one box for glass, one for cardboard and paper, and one for food waste. Try to keep everything clean and dry so that it’s easier to have everything tidy. You can also have a compost bin or pile outside if you would rather use things like vegetable peel to fertilise your plants.
It can be very easy to turn your home into a greener place to live. Even if you rent instead of own, there’s plenty you can do to be more eco-friendly. If you want to change your living habits, start by drawing up a plan of the changes you can make.
Image Credit: Andy Rogers