There are some ways you can start living in a green home without huge investments. There are actually 11 tips, so, you see, you get one on top.
1. The windows. Are you still attached to the idea of sash-windows? You’re not living in Georgian period any more.
Sash windows are impossible to wash properly and they leak heat big time. Double-glazed windows will save around 20pc off your heating expenses. However, make sure your house has a decent ventilation system before replacing windows. It is better to use double-glazed windows with wooden frames. They are a bit more expensive but well worth the price.
2. Check for the draughts. Give it a candle test. Shut all windows and doors. Put a candle on the floor and watch the flame. If it is flickering, you’re wasting energy. Replace the windows, weather-strip the doors and check your building structure. Many houses in England leak heat through cracks in the walls (pay extra attention to the details where the roof is attached).
3. Check with your local council to see what home improvement grants or tax incentives are available where you live. You can have the government to pay thousands towards your green home.
4. Recycle the incandescent lightbulbs that are stashed away in your lot. Get rid of them and replace ALL lighting sources with energy saving lightbulbs. Despite of high costs you will start saving instantly and will save two thirds of the usual expenses during the lifetime of the energy saving lightbulb.
5. Replace your old GCH boiler with a new model. Unbelievably, but some old boilers are so bad that you can save up to half your yearly energy bill by installing a brand new boiler. Check if your model reuses heat from the exhaust gases or just pushes the heat into the atmosphere.
6. If you’re heating home with an oil or hardwood heater, stop immediately and switch to a greener stove. Corn stove is the greenest of all – it burns shelled corn (dried maize seeds) but I appreciate that it would be hard to get shelled corn in Britain. Another option is to buy a wooden pellet stove or a multifuel pellet stove (it can burn both wood pellets and corn).
7. Use a thermostat. The more advanced the thermostat model, the more you will save. Don’t overheat your home. Once you have got rid of the draught, you don’t really need more than 20oC during daytime and 17oC during the night. You will find that quality of your sleep (and brain regeneration during nighttime) will improve as you turn down the heat.
Keeping an eye on your thermostat can help lower your utility bill. As an extra tip, using a flow meter to regulate your water consumption can also help further lower your utility bill.
8.Finish your attic. This shouldn’t be anything elaborate. Ca it be your first DIY project? Insulate the floor and walls, build a wooden carcass and finish it with any environmentally friendly board. Enlist a help of a professional to help you with electricity. You’ll have a tidy space for your heirlooms or a brand new room upstairs plus you’ll stop leaking heat through the roof
9.Review what household appliances you use? Are they AAA-certified? How many fridges do you use? Did you know that one large fridge-freezer uses less energy than two small ones and much less than separate fridge and freezer? Upgrade your gadgetry simultaneously – buy your new fridge-freezer, washing machine and dish washer at the same time. If you shop around and find the right store, they will give you a discount for a bulk purchase. But remember, you have to haggle and ask for a discount to get one. In fact, almost every retail outlet is in a position to give you a discount, even if they say they cannot.
10. Consider installing a solar panel or a solar water heating system on the roof. Can you set up a small wind generator or even a geothermal heat pump. It will fit within your green home design.
11. Wall insulation. Why does this come last? Because it is not suitable for any house. Wall cavity insulation is potentially dangerous and can make your house damp and inhabitable. If there is a cavity in your wall, consider it already insulated. There is air in the cavity – one of the best natural insulators. Instead, you can strip your wallpaper, paste cork sheets on the inner surfaces of the walls and then cover it with wallpaper. Cork is a wonderful, natural insulator and it lets your house breathe. Revert to point number 2 and draught-proof your home too. Remember that insulation companies want to sell you their service, which makes good money for them. If you want to do wall cavity insulation, ask an independent advice, get somebody from the council or energy audit firms to look at your house.