How to Achieve a Green Home

Today, we have never been more clued up about how our actions affect the world around us and because of this, more of us than ever before are looking at all the ways they can help the planet – such as by creating a green home.

But just how can a home improvement project benefit the environment?

There have really never been more options available to you if you want to go green and one of the best ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint is through building an ecological home. Programmes like Channel 4’s Grand Designs often feature people who do not only want to create their dream home, but who also want to build a structure that is sustainable and will benefit generations to come.

If you have the funds available and have always toyed with the idea of building your perfect house then this could be an option for you. By choosing to work with tradesmen who have been involved with similar projects then you can have the peace of mind of knowing that your vision is in safe hands – and they may even be able to offer you some tips you had not previously considered.

These can include advice on the most sustainable building materials to pick out. There are many options available for you here, including hempcrete, sandstone, packed earth, wool, rapid-growing wood like bamboo, recycled metal and reclaimed timber or bricks.

Your finished home will stand as a testament to your efforts and the possibilities of green living – and is likely to provide a shelter for many generations to come.

However, not all of us are in a position to construct our own house, but there are still plenty of ways to make an existing property more energy efficient and to reduce its carbon footprint.

On the market today there are several technologies that have been purposefully designed to reduce the amount of fossil fuel households are reliant on, thereby saving them money.

Among these are solar panels, which are able to collect the free and natural energy of the sun and convert it into usable electricity to heat water for the home. This allows you to reduce the amount of fossil fuels you consume, helping you to lower your energy bills as a result.

Similar fixtures include biomass boilers – which are powered by wood chips or pellets – wind turbines and air or ground source heat pumps, which are able to use warmth that is stored underground or in the atmosphere and use it for your house. All of these items can help you to lower the amount of carbon emissions you are responsible for and reduce your gas and electricity bills. Best of all, under the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive you could even make some extra cash.

Technology such as this can require planning permission before you go ahead with having it fitted and it can also be expensive – although it will soon start paying for itself through lower energy bills.

However, if you do not have the necessary funds available now, there is still plenty you can do on a tighter budget.

Chief among these options is to revamp your central heating system if it is powered by gas. A boiler is responsible for as much as 60 per cent of the carbon emissions produced by a gas-powered property, so it is worthwhile investing in a unit that is as energy efficient as possible.

A condensing gas boiler is one of the best alternatives available today as it is able to convert more of its fuel into usable heat for your home than its older counterparts. This can help you to save money and lower your carbon emissions – remember to hire a fully qualified tradesman who is on the Gas Safe Register to carry out the work for you though.

Another way to make your home greener is to improve its existing insulation. New loft, floor, solid or cavity wall insulation can make a real difference in reducing the amount of heat that is lost from a building’s exterior, as can double glazed windows.

Even taking the time to fill in any cracks in floors and walls, lay down a draught excluder, turn the thermostat down by one degree C, switch your appliances off at the wall or fix a leaking tap can see you helping the environment in some small way – and every little counts.

So if you are looking for a theme for your next home improvement project, why not make it a green one?

Planning a green home improvement project? Rated People is your one-stop shop for finding the best people for the job, with thousands of qualified local tradesmen to choose from.

Complete Your Green Home Improvement Plans With Beautiful Flooring

Green home improvement schemes have never been more popular than they currently are in the UK – with everyone from politicians to environmental charities to television programmes advising us on the ways we can live a lifestyle that is less damaging to the planet.

And there are plenty of reasons for setting yourself a project that will see you making your home greener – not only will this see you lowering your household’s carbon footprint, but also your annual utility bills.

Indeed, can there be any better feeling than knowing that you are reducing your carbon emissions and helping to preserve the planet for future generations, while also saving some of your hard-earned cash?

No matter what level of DIY expertise you have, you will find a job that is suitable for your skills level.

For example, simply filling in gaps and cracks around doors and windows could save you a few pounds, while it takes no skill at all to turn down the thermostat by one degree – but this could see you lowering your annual heating bills by ten per cent.

However, if you really want to invest in making your property greener, an entire central heating overhaul is one of the best ways to do it.

A household’s boiler makes up 60 per cent of a family’s annual energy bills – meaning that if you are still putting up with an old and unreliable model it is really time to consider a change.

Condensing boilers are among the most popular green options available on the domestic market and more people than ever before are investing in them.

The device is able to convert more of its fuel into usable heat for the home, rather than losing it, meaning that it produces less harmful emissions and also sees you paying less money to power it. In addition, its age means that it poses a reduced risk to your family than an item that is decades-old.

As with all gas appliances, if you have decided to splash out on a new boiler, it is vital that you contact only the correct tradesmen to do the work – all boiler engineers working in England and Wales must by law be members of the Gas Safe Register and boast the necessary qualifications to carry out the job they have been hired to do.

While they are revamping your central heating system with a new boiler, you could also ask these professionals about the benefits of having heating controls installed.

These products allow you to exercise more control over your radiators, choosing when they should come on and in what rooms – another great way to save money.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to giving your property a green overhaul!

Insulation is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon emissions, as it means less heat escapes from your home, so you can have your central heating set to a lower temperature, safe in the knowledge you are not wasting power.

Double glazing and cavity wall insulation are among the most effective ways of achieving a greener home – but every little job can make a difference.

For example, installing insulation under the floor can see you saving as much as £50 every year – and you could add another £20 to that figure by filling in any gaps or cracks you spot.

But, for a floor that is both aesthetically pleasing and good for the planet, there are many options available to you.

If you have decided to go one step further than simply insulating your floor by getting an altogether new one, you will find there is plenty to choose from.

Cork is a popular choice as the tiny air pockets it is full of makes it a great insulator – while it is also springy under foot, making it comfortable to walk on.

Bamboo is another choice – it looks good and is also less damaging to the planet than real wood as it comes from a fast growing grass that can be harvested at a rapid rate.

However if you have your heart set on hardwood floors, this option is still available to you. You could search for some recycled material to fashion into beautiful new floorboards, or choose wood that has come certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council.

Once the work is complete, you are sure to get even more enjoyment from your new floors knowing that not only do they look good but that they are helping the planet too – just one of the brilliant aspects of your new green home.