If you want to add value to your home and save money on your household running costs, consider making a few eco-friendly home improvements this summer. Here are 6 top tips for making your home more eco-friendly.
1. Install UPVC Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are manufactured in a range of materials and some are more environmentally-friendly than others. UPVC doors and double-glazed UPVC windows have the strongest insulative properties; they keep heat in in the winter and keep heat out in the summer.
When you are purchasing your windows, choose windows with a high energy rating (A to C). Energy ratings take the following factors into account: air leakage which is a measure of the tightness of the seals (measured in L-values); solar factor which measures the transfer of heat from the outside to the inside (measured in G-values); and thermal transmittance which is the heat lost from the inside to the outside (measured in U-value).
2. Insulate and Ventilate
It is important to strike a balance between insulation and ventilation. In winter, up to 30% of heat can be lost through your walls and roof, whereas in summer, heat can be trapped inside when ventilation is poor. There are different types of insulation: cavity wall, internal and external. Insulation materials include: polystyrene board; glass fibre; wool quilt; and phenolic foam.
There are also different types of ventilation including: natural (e.g. opening windows and vents); spot (e.g. cooker hoods and bathroom exhaust fans) and whole house systems (e.g. ducts and fans).
3. Save Electricity
There are hundreds of ways to save electricity in your home including: using solar panels to heat water; replacing old air conditioning filters; installing motion-sensor outdoor lights; using power strips to turn off devices on standby; purchasing energy efficient appliances such as A-rated washing machines, refrigerators and ovens; and replacing old, incandescent light bulbs with new, energy-saving CFL bulbs. Energy-saving bulbs use up to 70% less electricity and last up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs.
4. Manage Water
The best way to save water is to change your habits e.g. turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. You can also install low flow toilet flushers, aeration attachments for taps and water-saving shower heads. More advanced water-saving methods include the use of water catchment techniques. There are hundreds of water catchment techniques, each with different catchment and storage methods. Set up a grey-water or rainwater catchment system for washing dishes, flushing toilets and watering plants.
Separate your waste into different categories according to the guidelines listed by your waste collection company. For items that your rubbish collection company won’t collect, e.g. electrical goods, find out where your local recycling centre is. Typical recycling categories include: organic waste (i.e. food), plastic, metal, electrical goods, paper, glass, clothes and paper. If your clothes and furniture are still in good condition, donate them instead of throwing them away.
6. Buy Energy Efficient Products
Be conscious of the eco-footprint of the products you buy: buy bamboo floorboards and furniture because it is more sustainable than hardwood; buy cleaning products with no petroleum properties; choose paints with low levels of solvents, toxic metals and volatile organic compounds; use compost instead of synthetic fertiliser for your garden; and when you are doing your grocery shopping try to buy locally sourced goods.
About the Author
This article was written by Jenna Crotty who recommends Airtight Windows for UPVC windows in Dublin.