Earth Day was founded over five decades ago in 1970. It aimed to create an international day focused on environmental awareness. 52 years later, it is going strong and is an increasingly important movement to get behind. There are so many ways we can all protect our shared home, planet earth, so we have found some of the most recommended methods to transform your home into a sustainable one.
Upgrade your insulation
Unless your home was specially constructed for energy efficiency, it is likely you can reduce your energy bills by adding more insulation. Many older homes have less insulation than homes built today, but even adding insulation to a newer home can pay for itself within a few years.
To determine whether you should add insulation, you first need to find out how much insulation you already have in your home and where it is. A qualified home energy assessor will include an insulation check as a routine part of a whole-house energy assessment. An energy assessment, also known as a home energy audit, will also help identify areas of your home that are in need of air sealing. Before you insulate, you should make sure that your home is properly air-sealed.
Install triple glazing
Triple glazing has proven popular in Scandinavian countries as a way of keeping out the cold. Between the three panes are two pockets of gas, which most of the time is either argon, xenon or krypton. While just adding an extra pane of glass to a window might not sound like it would bring too many benefits to your home, it could actually make quite a big difference to the warmth of your home due to a decrease in heat loss, therefore increasing efficiency leading to lower energy bills.
Invest in solar panel systems
According to industry figures, approximately 900,000 British homes have solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed. The benefits of owning a house with solar panels are certainly not to be sniffed at. You can look forward to lower electricity bills since you will be using free solar power generated by the property and therefore be protected against future rises in energy prices. The reduced environmental impact will deliver a better energy efficiency rating (EPC) for the property, and you may benefit from an extra income stream for the surplus power sold back to the grid.
Switch to a renewable heating system
The benefits of switching your heating are extremely attractive in terms of financial returns, cost savings and environmental responsibility. Ground source heat pumps have experienced a recent surge in interest among commercial operators. Replacing conventional heating and taking advantage of the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes, it’s an attractive solution to lower your fuel bills and your carbon emissions. While an air source heat pump can efficiently heat radiators, underfloor heating, warm air convectors, and hot water and can also be configured to provide air conditioning in warmer months, making them an even more cost-effective alternative to conventional heating and air conditioning technologies. Biomass boilers are an environmentally sound, sustainable heating solution, the system is based on burning biomass such as wood pellets or log which emit the same amount of carbon dioxide as is absorbed while the plants were growing.
Install underfloor heating
Underfloor heating is a cleaner, smarter way to heat your home. Using radiant heat technology, UFH gently warms the people and objects in the room directly, from the ground up – facilitating a much more energy-efficient method. There are two types of radiant heating, electric and water-based systems. Both provide heating in a room from the floor up for consistent, efficient warmth. Warm water systems run hot water through pipes to create heat, whereas electric underfloor heating heats wiring beneath the floor to generate heat.
Traditional radiators need to be heated to a high level in order to heat up a room effectively, whereas floor heating only needs to run at a temperature of 29 degrees Celsius or less, depending on the floor finish, in order to warm the room - consuming less energy and keeping your energy bills down.
Decorate with eco-friendly finishes
Decorating our homes stylishly, whilst also seeking more conscientious ways to reduce the impact our hard-to-give-up aesthetic desires have on the planet is an important choice we need to make. A recent study commissioned by the International Antiques and Collectors Fairs (IACF) found that the carbon footprint of a modern chest of drawers is 16 times higher than that of its antique equivalent. Buying vintage, antique or reclaiming materials results in owning an item with a far richer history, longer life expectancy, a greater return on investment and more style and originality to outlive any modern counterpart or trend.
Elaine Penhaul from Fine & Country Property Staging says; "We’re seeing more and more opportunities to source furniture second hand and give it a new lease of life, opposed to buying new. When upcycling furniture, we often use an eco-alternative paint by Earthborn which produce a great variety of colours but are formulated from environmentally friendly ingredients.
"Brands are becoming more eco-conscious and sourcing sustainable raw materials. It’s easier to find out sustainability information now that companies are shouting about it so consumers can make better decisions. Take John Lewis for example, they are openly sharing their efforts in transforming the lives of smallholder farmers and mitigating climate change."