Homes & GardensLifestyle

Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades: Improve Your Living Space & Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

As the world continues to grapple with the effects of climate change, individuals are taking proactive measures to reduce their carbon footprint. 

But what does it mean to reduce your carbon footprint? Reducing your carbon footprint means taking steps to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases you produce. This can include using renewable energy sources like solar or wind when possible, using public transportation or carpooling to reduce car emissions, and reducing or eliminating waste.

The average person in the UK produces around 10 tonnes of CO2 per year. Interestingly, this figure hasn’t changed much since 1999. So are we, as individuals doing enough to reduce our impact on the world around us or not?

Becoming Eco-Friendly

Making changes is about being consistent more than the dramatic grand gestures. Because no matter how well-intentioned these are, if they are sustainable, then there is little point in making them.

Being sustainable to many people is about reducing consumption, not using so much plastic and being more mindful of the waste we create. But you can also incorporate sustainable living into your home and how you approach home purchases, appliances, energy consumption, and even the tools and hardware you use.

Benefits of Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades

Eco-friendly home upgrades have numerous benefits for homeowners. These upgrades can help reduce your carbon footprint, lower energy bills, and create a healthier living environment for you and your family. Additionally, eco-friendly upgrades can increase the value of your home, making it more attractive to potential buyers. Let’s take a closer look at some benefits of eco-friendly home upgrades.

  • Lower Energy Bills

One of the most significant benefits of eco-friendly home upgrades is the potential for lower energy bills. By making energy-efficient upgrades to your home, you can reduce the energy you use each month, resulting in lower utility bills. For example, upgrading to LED light bulbs can reduce your energy consumption by up to 80%, while upgrading to a programmable thermostat can save you up to 10% on your heating and cooling bills. With the average person in the UK using around 8.5kWh to 10kWh daily, these savings can add up over time.

  • Healthier Living Environment

Eco-friendly upgrades can also create a healthier living environment for you and your family. For example, switching to low-VOC paint can reduce the number of harmful chemicals in your home, improving indoor air quality.

  • Increased Home Value

Eco-friendly home upgrades can also increase the value of your home. As more homeowners become interested in reducing their carbon footprint, eco-friendly homes are becoming more attractive to potential buyers.

  • Reduce Carbon Footprint

Perhaps the most essential benefit of eco-friendly home upgrades is reducing your carbon footprint. By reducing your energy consumption, you can help reduce the number of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, which can positively impact the environment.

Let In Natural Light

Letting in natural light is one simple and effective way to make your home more eco-friendly. Natural light reduces your dependence on artificial light and can improve your mood and overall health. Additionally, natural light can make your home feel more spacious and inviting. Let’s explore some ways to let in more natural light.

  • Install Skylights

Skylights are a great way to bring natural light to your home. They are energy-efficient and can help reduce your reliance on artificial lighting. They can also help regulate indoor temperatures, reducing heating and cooling bills.

  • Use Lighter Colours

Using lighter colours on your walls and furniture can also help reflect natural light, making your home feel brighter and more spacious. Off-whites, blues, and greens are the perfect colours for making a room feel bigger. In contrast, blues and greys are suitable for giving the illusion of increased natural lighting.

  • Remove Obstacles

Removing obstacles like heavy curtains or large furniture in front of windows can also help let in more natural light. A good tip is to place mirrors opposite windows to reflect natural light back into the room. This also applies to any greenery outside your home that could be blocking the light too.

Use Eco-Tech

Technology is constantly evolving, and many eco-friendly tech options are available for your home. From smart thermostats to eco-friendly appliances, a wealth of technology is available to integrate into your home. Around 50% of UK homes now own at least one item of smart tech, and eco-tech tools are becoming increasingly popular to help homeowners monitor their energy usage and make better choices.

Smart thermostats are a great way to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills. They allow you to control your home’s temperature remotely, ensuring you only use energy when you need it. Additionally, they can learn your heating and cooling preferences over time, making your home more energy-efficient.

Energy-efficient appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers can also help reduce your energy consumption. These appliances are designed to use less water and energy, making them an excellent investment for homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint.

When choosing energy-efficient appliances, use the energy grading label chart defined by the government to make a more informed choice. The rating scale is usually visible on all household appliances and in the online details if purchasing online. The new system is rated A to G, replacing the previous scale, which included A++ gradings. A is the most efficient rating, while G is less energy efficient and can increase consumption when in use.

It’s also worth mentioning that the latest laundry appliances and other home devices are more likely to be energy efficient as most countries have energy efficiency policies in place.

Increase Insulation

Improving your home’s insulation is another effective way to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills. Home will benefit from insulation in interior and exterior walls, attic spaces, and double or triple-glazed windows to minimise air leakage.

75% of homes built before 2010 aren’t as energy efficient as possible, primarily due to poor insulation. However, for increased sustainability, many eco-friendly options provide optimal insulation for homes.

These include;

  • Sheep’s wool
  • Cellulose
  • Denim
  • Hemp
  • Fibreglass
  • Cork

Cellulose insulation is primarily made from post-consumer recycled paper. It uses 30 times less energy to produce than other eco-friendly options, such as fibreglass, making it one of the most energy-efficient insulation materials.

Go Solar

Installing solar panels is one of the most effective ways to make your home more eco-friendly. Solar panels can help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and lower energy bills. Additionally, they can increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers. The cost of installing solar panels can vary depending on the size of your home, but typically you can expect to pay from £400 – £5000 per panel and reduce CO2 by a tonne and half per home per year.

 

Choose An All-Electric Vehicle

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more popular as more people become interested in reducing their environmental impact. It’s a common misconception that electric cars are completely green with no carbon footprint, as the manufacturing process negates this and having to charge the battery. However, electric vehicles don’t produce any CO2 when driven (the figure when factoring in charging is just 54.02g CO2e per kilometre). In comparison, the average petrol car emits 170.5g CO2 per kilometre. This can make a massive difference to your energy consumption. Choosing an all-electric vehicle is another effective way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Use High-Quality Parts for Repairs and Maintenance

Using high-quality parts, such as Carbon Steel Butt Weld Fittings, for repairs and maintenance is another effective way to make your home more eco-friendly. While initially, higher quality parts can be more expensive, there are many benefits to investing in them.

  • Reduce Waste

It goes without saying that high-quality parts will last you longer, thus reducing the need for additional repairs or having to replace them quickly. Look for parts with extended quality guarantees and are sustainable such as using steel, for example, to allow them to be repurposed if possible once they need to be replaced.

  • Save Money

While high-quality parts may be more expensive upfront, they can save you money in the long run. By cheap, buy twice, as they say, isn’t just a saying; there’s truth in the saying to take heed.

  • Improve Performance

Using high-quality parts can also improve the performance of your home’s systems. For example, using high-quality HEPA filters in your HVAC system can improve indoor air quality and reduce the need for frequent cleanings.

Invest in Underfloor Heating

Underfloor heating is by far the cleanest and most efficient way to heat your home. Underfloor heating uses radiant heat, which is more efficient than traditional heating systems. While this type of heating has been popular in the US and Europe for many years, more and more UK homeowners are seeing the benefits and making the change from traditional radiators.

  • Energy Efficient

Underfloor heating is more energy-efficient than traditional heating systems. Radiant heat is distributed evenly, reducing the need for frequent temperature adjustments. Additionally, underfloor heating uses less energy than conventional heating systems, reducing energy consumption and can lower energy bills slightly – it is estimated you can save on average 25% on heating bills per year.

  • Improved Comfort

Underfloor heating can also improve the overall comfort of your home. Radiant heat is distributed evenly, meaning no cold spots or drafts exist. Additionally, underfloor heating can be customised for each room, ensuring that each space is heated to your desired temperature.

Conclusion

In conclusion, making eco-friendly home upgrades is a smart investment for homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint and create a healthier living environment for their families. By making these upgrades, you can lower your energy bills, increase the value of your home, and reduce your environmental impact. So why not start making eco-friendly upgrades to your home today?

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