Your guide to a greener home - Part 1 - solar, stoves and standby
- 17 Feb, 2016
There are many ways in which you can make your home greener and more eco-conscious, but the question is: what's effective and what isn't? In this new series we're going to look at a wide variety of products such as solar stoves and energy-saving tactics to see how you can turn your home into lean, mean, green machine. Be a complete turn-off Simply switching off household appliances at the plug - like the TV, PC and games console - can save you up to £50 a year, while being less liberal with your heating will minimise your impact on the environment considerably. Reducing room temperature by just one degree can knock 10% off your heating bill. If the idea of turning your heating down gives you a chills, there are plenty of ways you can tackle the cold. You can keep your curtains closed at night to trap the heat, put on an extra layer or prepare a hot water bottle - combine all and you won't be missing that extra degree. You can also go that little bit further and seal draughts through doors and floorboards to really keep it cosy. Switch on to LED lighting OK, so we're obviously going to shamelessly push LEDs, but it is a far greener lighting source than halogen and incandescent, plus it's going to be pretty much all you can buy in a few years... Each LED bulb has the capacity to save you hundreds over their enhanced lifespans, while reducing carbon emissions too. Plus, with their longer lifespans, you won't need to persistently replace bulbs every few months/weeks. The initial outlay of these bulbs can be an expense, but within a few months you'll have saved enough on your energy bills to have promptly paid them back. Nature's best Say bye-bye to fossil fuels and invest in solar panels that can reduce your hot water bills - for example - by up to 50%. Or, if you live in areas like the Highlands where turbulence is as common as sunny spells in the Caribbean, you can harness their blustery conditions and buy a wind turbine that'll turn a nuisance into an advantage. How about that Mother Nature! Wrap it up Homes lose most of their heat up-top, with lofts being responsible for up to 25% of a household heating bill. Insulation is affordable and you can even do it yourself as a home-project, with savings reaching the hundreds in just a year. Walls also leak heat in abundance, so insulating wall cavities can prove lucrative in the long run when cutting some serious energy use. In fact, you can look at savings of up to 15% in just a year. Burn baby burn More than a favourite of nostalgic romanticists, the wood-burning stove can also slash energy-bills by the hundreds yearly. It lives off a renewable source and can provide enough oomph to support your entire central heating. Be warned, installation costs can initially hit the high hundreds and the thousands, but the fuel can be bought cheaply when you're up and running and you'll see payback within a few years. Watt is it costing you? If you or your family are prone to leaving the lights on, then you need to consider a home-energy monitor. It's a device that measures your consumption and plays back your energy usage in Watts and cost. You'll soon see the insidious impact leaving lights turned on and appliances in standby around your home has. You can control your energy use and heating directly from your smartphone. This includes the ability to 'geo-fence' which is where your heating works in conjunction with your location. For instance, if you come within X metres of your home, your radiators will automatically turn on.