‘Eco-vating’ is a way of renovating your home to be more eco-friendly. Not only can it help reduce fossil fuel usage and help the planet, it can also save you a lot of money in the long run. Green technology is becoming more and more affordable and eco-friendly properties are becoming more and more sought after. Even if you have plans to sell your property, eco-vating could help boost your home’s value as well as well as making your property score highly on its energy performance certificate.
For those that have no plans of selling up, eco-vating could help reduce your utility bills – in some cases completely eradicating them. Here are a few ways that you can costs on your bills by getting greener.
If your water bills are constantly coming through high and you’re having to keep tabs on people using the shower, it may pay to start taking an eco-friendly approach to your water usage.
Recycling water is becoming a more popular option. The first way is to recycle greywater – the waste water that leads out your shower and kitchen sink. Whilst not drinkable, this water can rerouted and used for tasks such as flushing the toilet and sprinkling the lawn. You may need to cut down on chemical usage if you’re planning on using recycled greywater for the latter option, but given there are now so many bio-friendly cleaning products and cosmetics, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
A much more expensive system to install – but much more cost-effective in the long run – is to recycle rainwater. Rain harvesting systems can either be placed on the roof or in the garden. Water is collected in a tank and purified to make it drinkable. This can plumbed to all water outlets in the house, preventing the need to pay water bills ever again. This may be the perfect solution in rainy regions and could have you appreciating those grey winter days more.
You can alternatively collect unpurified rainwater for use in the garden, cutting down on the need to use a hose. Rainwater is full of nutrients that can help with plant growth. You can collect this water in a rain barrel – most of which can be purchases relatively cheaply.
More and more people are turning to solar power to cut out their electric bills. By installing solar panels on your roof you can set up a home solar power system and have all your appliance running off the energy of the sun. Solar panels are becoming progressively more affordable. Those living in sunny regions are more likely to see the benefits, although solar panels can still absorb a lot of energy even on the cloudiest of days.
Less expensive solar power options can also be purchased that may allow you to supply a single socket in your house. Whilst most your electricity will still be running off the mains, the costs could be reduced. You can also cut out the need to wire up exterior lighting by making all your garden lights solar powered. Motion sensitive lighting can also be made solar.
Other sustainable home forms of generating electricity are still being explored. You can get affordable home wind power solutions that could be ideal if you live on a hill or by a coast. If you live on a river you may even be able to install a micro hydrosystem, using the energy of flowing water to power your home.
The most common method of eco-vating is still insulation. Failing to insulate your home can cause heat caused by gas to leak out and cold air to seep in, requiring the need to use up more gas for heating
There are all kinds of ways of insulating your home to save money on gas bills. If you have an attic, insulating your loft could be the first point of call. You can insulate your loft yourself by buying thermal wool from a home store, or hire a professional team to do it.
Windows and doors are the next biggest place where heat is lost. Most properties nowadays have double-glazed windows – sometimes triple glazed – which reduce heat loss significantly. Draft protectors can be used to stop heat being lost through gaps in door frames and windows. You should also look out for cracks in walls which can often lead from door and window frames. These can lose heat if not seen to, as well as eventually growing bigger and potentially causing structural damage. Small cracks can be filled with caulk, whilst bigger ones may need intervention from a professional.
Cavity wall insulation is another more expensive form of insulation, which involves putting insulation material in the walls. Whilst often costly to put in, this can greatly reduce heat loss more than most insulation methods.
You can also take measures to make your boiler more energy efficient. Some older boilers may pay to be replaced entirely, although this is certainly not cheap. You can also buy a thermal jacket for your boiler that can prevent heat being lost through the boiler drum.
All of this can greatly reduce the need to use heating. However, there are other methods of completely eliminating costs. It’s possible to convert all your heating to electric and then run this off solar power. Heating your whole home requires a lot of solar power and may not be applicable for some homes in some areas.
Many people choose only to run select forms of heating off electricity as a result – the main one being the shower. There are also other creative methods of using electric heating powered by the sun. If you have a pool, but rarely get to use it because of the cold weather, you could heat your pool using electricity generated from solar power. You could also install electric heaters outside running off solar power so that you can sit outside on the cold evening and get heated without having to worry about your energy bills.