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Sustainable Steps: Important Moves for an Eco-Friendlier Home

Sustainable Steps: Important Moves for an Eco-Friendlier Home

Steps for an eco home

The importance of having an eco-friendlier home has grown in recent years, with increasing awareness of both the environmental benefits and cost-saving incentives. For homeowners keen to get started on their sustainable upgrades, they can do so step-by-step while being mindful of their budget, timeframe, and their home’s unique requirements.

This article explores the journey towards creating an eco-friendlier home, covering aspects, such as solar-powered installation, sustainable upgrades, and improved insulation.

What is a sustainable home? 

A sustainable house is one that has been designed and built using materials, energy, water, and waste systems that minimise its impact on the environment and health. Increased awareness of climate change has driven a noticeable shift towards sustainable living, both at home and in everyday life. In fact, according to a recent report two-thirds of people now place high importance on a new home being more environmentally friendly.

Unlike some traditional homes that rely on resource-intensive materials and non-renewable energy sources, sustainable homes prioritise having a lower carbon footprint. A sustainable property focuses on minimising its environmental impact by using renewable energy sources that generate electricity and heat. Additionally, strategic material selection can further reduce the environmental impact, complementing the integration of renewable energy sources where feasible.  

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Improve energy efficiency inside and out 

The best method to achieve an eco-friendly home does come down to energy efficiency, so it’s important to incorporate sustainable features inside and outside your property. Renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels, allow homeowners to generate clean, renewable electricity, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. 

Solar power can offset a significant portion of your home's energy consumption, reducing reliance on grid electricity and lowering energy bills. In addition, better home insulation is essential for improving your home’s overall energy efficiency and official EPC rating. This depends on the amount of energy used per m² plus the level of carbon dioxide emissions (in tonnes per year). 

Boosting energy efficiency is a key step, and a tight, well-insulated property with energy-efficient windows, doors, and great air sealing can dramatically reduce heat loss and gain. Installing high-performance HVAC systems, water heaters, appliances, and the right electronics ensures they consume less electricity. Smart thermostats, automated lighting controls, and energy monitoring systems also help conserve energy on a daily basis.

Upgrading your home’s overall insulation will help to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature year-round. Improving insulation in walls, floors and roofs prevents heat loss and increases energy efficiency, especially in older homes. Similarly, sealing draughty doors and windows ensures your home retains heat better during the colder months.

When warmer weather arrives, concerns shift to not only harnessing the sun’s energy but also maintaining a cooler living environment. Installing solar window films, applied internally to the glazing, can reduce heat and glare by around 80 percent, providing a more comfortable indoor environment. 

Benefit from an eco-friendlier home

The benefits of sustainability range from reduced environmental impact to long-term cost savings. Ground-source heat pumps and air-source heat pumps use renewable energy from the ground or air to provide heating and hot water. These highly efficient systems can heat and cool at a greater capacity than the energy required to run them, with efficiency rates up to 300%, significantly reducing energy consumption compared to traditional heating systems.

The shift towards eco-friendlier homes is driven not only by environmental concerns but also by the desire to enhance property value and your quality of life. This trend is particularly pronounced in younger generations, who prioritise sustainability in their purchasing decisions, and rentals if you are a landlord keen to grow your ROI. By investing in sustainable improvements, you can potentially increase your property's value and marketability long-term. Energy-efficient upgrades can significantly reduce utility bills, offering cost savings over time and offering an attractive proposition to potential buyers.

Use green materials on home projects

Sustainable homes can further their aim to lower their environmental impact with strategic material selection. Unlike conventional home builds, which often select resource-intensive materials and non-renewable energy sources, sustainable materials will help to minimise the carbon footprint of your property. 

Whether choosing energy-efficient appliances, low-VOC paints, or eco-friendly insulation, each decision made during renovation contributes to creating a more environmentally conscious home. There are other eco-friendly materials you can use and source across a range of home-improvement projects you’re currently or intending to work on. Wherever possible, seek out more green products and eco-conscious practices.

For DIY home improvement projects, choosing responsibly sourced materials is essential. Opt for products made from recycled, renewable, and natural resources, such as bamboo and cork, or recycled wood solutions for floors, which will provide eco-friendly durability. Similarly, consider sustainable alternatives to concrete, such as straw bale walls, ashcrete, and bamboo.

Take the opportunity to also research and choose passive techniques that will help to make your home more eco-friendly, from window placement and overhangs to drawing as much natural sunlight and natural breezes as possible to enhance your heating, cooling, and ventilation.

Carry out ongoing maintenance.

Regular inspections of the home's energy systems can help identify and address issues or inefficiencies early, ensuring you can maintain optimal performance and prolong the lifespan of energy-efficient upgrades.

Installing smart energy-monitoring gadgets allows you to track energy usage in real-time and identify areas for improvement. By monitoring energy consumption patterns, homeowners can make informed decisions about future energy-saving measures and adjust their habits accordingly. Likewise, make sure you regularly service your modern or newly installed energy-efficient appliances. Having efficient ones, in good working order, can impact your energy consumption and water usage, further lowering utility bills and your environmental impact.

Beginning the journey towards an eco-friendly home you can be proud of becomes a more straightforward process when you understand the expected costs and which sustainable upgrades are suitable for your property. If you are prepared and able, creating an eco-home offers many benefits.
 

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