We’d all like to be a little more green, and although being an eco-warrior may not be on your agenda, making small changes in your home can be a solid step toward doing your part for the environment. Many of the home improvements available to help make your home more green can also save you money on your energy bills, so it’s a real win-win for your family and the planet.
Change Up Your Plumbing
Water waste can be a huge drain on natural resources and your finances. Although simple changes to your habits can go a long way to reducing the amount of water wasted in your home, there are plumbing improvements that you can make that will do the job without you having to think too much about it.
Install an aerator onto the faucets in your house and you could cut down your annual water consumption by as much as 50%. A low-flow toilet is another great product- these new toilets use far less water each time you flush.
The same theory applies to your showers. Although showering usually uses up less water than taking a bath (unless you’re standing around in there for hours), the amount of water that comes out of the showerhead can undo all of your good intentions. Fit your own water-saving showerhead- either aerated or low-flow, and watch the savings pile up.
Get In On Energy-Efficient Lighting
If you haven’t already jumped on board with LED or CFL light bulbs, now is the time. CFL bulbs use 66% less energy than your usual light bulbs and can last far longer too. If you’ve still got 100-watt incandescent bulbs in your house and you do a quick switch to a 32-watt CFL, you could easily save $30 off of your energy bills during the life of that bulb.
If you’re worried about the way that energy saving light bulbs look- don’t be. The market has improved by a long shot in recent years, and energy savings bulbs are at the top of their game.
Seal Up Draughts
If you’re spending a ton of money every winter on heating, consider getting busy with some insulation projects in your home. Single-glazed windows can be replaced with double-glazed ones to keep your house warmer, and specially made draught-excluders can be added in to seal up any areas where the wind just keeps blowing in.
If you’ve always had blinds on your windows and feel like the cold is biting at your ankles more than you might like, heavier curtains can be put in to insulate your rooms better.
Your loft could also be a major source of problems for escaping heat. Use recycled and natural materials to insulate your loft and you’ll immediately feel the warmth increase without having to touch the thermostat.
Mix Up Your Materials
Us DIY fans are often stuck on particular materials because we’ve used them forever and we know what we like, but unnatural and wasteful materials could be harming your home and the planet. If you frequently paint in your home, switch to water-based paint with natural pigments rather than oil-based products. The oil-based variety is less energy efficient, and you may even find that the water-based paints look better, too.
When it comes to updating your windows, opt for wood frames rather than metal of unplasticized poly vinyl chloride (UPVC). UPVC is seriously polluting and doesn’t last as long as wood frames, and won’t keep your house as warm either. Opt for the more natural wooden look and avoid toxic compounds and a load of hassle when you need to make repairs in the future.