According to a recent Mintel study, going green and being more eco friendly is becoming a priority in a lot of households. The latest report revealed that almost six in ten adults in the UK aged 25+ claim to be more aware of their effect on the environment, and feel that they have a duty to protect it ( Mintel 2010). There is no escaping the fact that the way we live our lives is having a big impact on the environment and slowly but surely, people are starting to do what they can in a bid to combat high energy bills and global warming. A few simple changes can go a long way and like charity, going green begins at home. Becoming more eco friendly is mainly down to being more efficient at home and adjusting the way we do things in small steps. If you want to make your home more eco-friendly but don’t know where to begin, here are five top tips to help you begin and get you on your way.
1. Conserve energy and electricity use
One of the easiest ways to save money and decrease your impact on the environment is to reduce your monthly energy usage. Simple things like turning off all appliances when not in use, changing light bulbs to energy efficient ones and replacing appliances with higher energy are all ways you can lower your energy consumption. When you’re doing a load of washing or filling up the dishwasher load them up to maximum capacity and try not to use too regularly as these appliances use up a lot of electricity.
2. Heating and hot water
According to Energy Saving Trust UK, boilers account for around 60% of the carbon dioxide emissions in a gas heated home. By replacing an old G rated boiler with a new high efficiency condensing boiler and improving your heating controls, you will significantly cut your home’s carbon dioxide emissions and save as much as £225 a year. The current lifespan of a boiler is between 10 to 12 years so fitting in a high efficiency condensing boiler can make a huge difference to your heating bills over time. If you are not in a financial position to replace your boiler just yet, you can save energy by making sure you have the correct heating and hot water controls so your boiler isn’t over heating or on unnecessarily.
3. Floor insulation
Insulating under your floorboards will reduce heating bills and improve the comfort of your home. You could save around £50 a year by insulating any type of wood flooring in your home be it hardwood, engineered or laminate. Gaps and cracks around floors and skirting boards are easy to fill yourself using a tube of sealant which could also reduce your heating bills by a further £20 a year.
4. Clean green
If you can, stop buying household cleaners that are potentially toxic to both you and the environment. When you’re next replenishing your cleaning cupboard, check products and read labels for specific, eco-friendly ingredients that perform just as effectively. This could be switching from toxic butyl cellosolve (usually found in window cleaners and carpet cleaners) to grain alcohol or petroleum oil (used in detergents) to coconut or other plant oils. Additionally, brands such as Ecover have become popular as effective plant based cleaning products for the home. These products are usually biodegradable and don’t have the same implications for wildlife if they get into water courses. Washing up liquid, fabric softener and hand soap from Ecover in particular are good to switch to as you use these more regularly than other cleaning products.
5. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Implement the three ‘R’s in your household by reducing how much you use, reusing what you can, and then recycling the rest. Excess waste is a huge part of pollution so doing your best not to create or wrongly dispose of rubbish will definitely help the environment. You can easily start recycling by setting up a recycling bin in your garage, kitchen or next to your regular bin as a visual reminder. Toss in all your aluminum, plastic, glass, paper and cardboard for recycling or reuse some materials instead of buying new products. Recycling is also a great way to save energy.