We all know that we should be living a greener life and reducing our carbon footprints for the sake of the planet; but what’s in it for us? In order to make the bigger changes that are necessary for helping to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, most of us need to see the smaller picture; i.e. how can we benefit directly from the changes we’re being asked to make?
Obviously the bigger picture is protecting the planet and making better use of our finite resources. Humans can be altruistic when they want to be, but ultimately we’re a fairly selfish species; so rather than thinking about how your actions affect the planet, why not consider how you can save money on energy bills and increase the value of your home instead?
Here are five big changes that you can make to your home that will not only benefit you financially in the long run; they’ll also help the planet…
Insulate your loft
We all know that heat rises, so it’s surprising that more people haven’t put two and two together and realised that this means loss of heat through the top of their house. In fact, up to a quarter of the heat generated in your home could be lost through the loft if is not insulated.
It can be expensive to have your loft insulated, but the initial outlay will pay for itself in no time via the savings you’ll make on your energy bills over the coming years. Within two to three years of having insulation fitted you should start to notice cheaper energy bills, especially during the winter months.
Insulate your cavity walls
If your house is fairly old, and was built before energy saving became a priority, you might find that you have cavity walls that are un-insulated. More than a third of your home’s heat could be lost through the walls if they are not insulated.
Again, the initial outlay can be fairly substantial, but The Energy Saving Trust estimates that you could save an average of around £110 per year on your energy bills by having your cavity walls properly insulated.
Double glaze your windows
Your home loses a lot of its heat through the windows, so if they’re only single-glazed then you’ll probably be spending more on heating bills than you should. Having double-glazing installed is certainly not cheap, but it will add value to your home if you decide to sell in the future, as well as keeping it warmer.
Opting for wooden frames rather than UPVC is another way that you can make your home more eco-friendly. Wooden frames provide better insulation, last longer, and are easier to repair. They’re also less polluting than the unplasticised poly vinyl chloride frames which emit small amounts of toxic compounds.
Install solar panels
Having solar panels fitted to your roof is not cheap initially, but after a few years they will begin to pay for themselves by saving you money on your energy bills. Within a year or so of installation you should beign to notice your energy bills shrinking.
In addition to this, the government’s Feed-in Tariff means that as well as generating your own electricity, you could also contribute to the National Grid by selling back any units of electricity that you don’t use.
Replace your boiler
If you’ve had your boiler for more than ten years then it’s definitely time to replace it with a newer, more energy-efficient one. Think back to other technology from ten or more years ago; there’s a reason why you aren’t using the same mobile phone or television that you had in 2005. Technology changes and makes things work more efficiently, and the same goes for boilers.
At the same time as having your boiler replaced, ask your plumber to flush out your central heating system too. When your radiators and pipes become clogged with old water and grime they aren’t heating your home effectively, and your boiler will have to work harder. A system flush and a new boiler should help to heat your home better and bring down your energy bills.