How To Be More Eco Friendly At Home
Creating an eco-friendly home is not just a trend; it’s a commitment to a sustainable future. While it may seem daunting at first, numerous steps, both big and small, can significantly reduce your environmental footprint.
This guide delves into various ways to make your home more eco-friendly, from investing in renewable energy to adopting simple daily habits. If you’re looking for ways to be eco-friendly at home, we’re here to help.
Renewable Energy Solutions
Your home’s energy source can have a big impact on the environment and your finances. The most common way of heating a home in the UK is through gas, which is one of the most harmful ways to heat a home.
The reason for gas being the most common is due to it being relatively low-cost, and the assumption that heating by electricity is expensive. But advancements in technology have made electric heating more appealing, for example through air source heat pumps (ASHP).
Additionally, the electricity source your home uses can also make a difference. Some electricity is generated through methods that can damage the environment, such as coal-fired power stations. By installing solar panels on your home, you can generate your own electricity that you know is renewable while also saving yourself money.
Here are some ways you can use renewable energy in your home:
- Solar Panels: These systems convert sunlight into electricity, providing a sustainable and low-maintenance energy source. They can potentially save a ton of carbon annually for an average UK household. Combining solar panels with electric heating systems, such as heat pumps, further enhances your home’s energy independence.
- Solar Battery Storage: Complementing your solar PV system with battery storage allows energy storage for use anytime, fostering independence from traditional power grids.
- Air Source Heat Pumps: Pulling in heat from the outside air to heat water and using electricity to ‘top it up’, ASHPs are a good alternative to a gas-fired boiler, allowing you to switch to a renewable heating system that doesn’t generate 100% of its heat via electricity, helping save money.
Combining solar panels, battery storage, and air source heat pumps together, you can significantly reduce your energy costs whilst also helping to make your home eco-friendly.
Smart Home Technology
Smart home technology presents an opportunity to be smarter with when and how you use energy, as well as keep track of how much you’re using.
Here are some ways you can use smart home devices to make a more eco-friendly home:
- Smart Thermostats: These devices connect to your heating system and can be controlled remotely. They learn your heating patterns, adjusting the temperature based on your presence and external weather conditions, leading to significant energy savings.
- Energy-Efficient Lighting: Switching to LED bulbs can dramatically reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. They are far more efficient and longer-lasting than traditional bulbs. Using smart home-enabled bulbs, you can also set the lights to turn off automatically, further helping to save energy.
- Smart Plugs: With smart plugs, you can set plug sockets to turn on/off from your phone or automatically. This can be useful for devices that often sit in standby, sucking up small amounts of energy throughout the day. Instead of the devices being left in standby, the smart plug can be configured to turn off automatically.
Upgrading Home Appliances and Changing Habits
Appliance manufacturers are always finding ways to make their appliances more energy efficient. For example, if you take tumble dryers, they used to consume significant amounts of electricity, but with technological advancements, some newer types, such as heat pump tumble dryers, can be much more economical to run.
Additionally, sometimes changing your habits can make a huge difference, such as hanging washing outside instead of using a tumble dryer. Or if you need to dry your clothes quicker or it’s raining outside, a dehumidifier may do the trick for a fraction of the electricity cost.
Here are some ways to save energy on your applicanes and change habits:
- Energy-Efficient Appliances: Opt for the highest energy rating on appliances where possible to reduce energy usage and associated costs.
- Appliance Repair: If you’re happy with your applicanes but you’ve got a fault, try to opt for a repair instead of a replacement to reduce waste.
- Wash on Cold: Many washing detergents these days are just as effective when washing on cold as they are when the water is heated. Therefore, if using a suitable detergent, wash on cold when you can to reduce energy usage.
- Air Dry or Switch to a Dehumidifier: Tumble drying, whilst convenient, is expensive due to the significant energy usage. Always air dry when you can, but if this isn’t suitable, then using a dehumidifier can dry your clothes quicker at a lower cost than using a tumble dryer. You can also do an extra spin cycle on your washing machine to drain more water out of clothes before beginning to dry them.
Switching Household Products
When looking at how to be more eco-friendly, it’s easy to focus on the big things like energy sources and appliances, and forget the small things, like the products you use day-to-day.
Here are some eco-friendly alternatives to household products:
- Eco-Cleaning Products: Use products with sustainable ingredients and avoid harmful chemicals. Homemade natural cleaners, like vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, are effective and eco-friendly alternatives.
- Biodegradable Products: Choose products made from natural, biodegradable materials to minimize environmental impact. Examples include recycled toilet paper and bamboo toothbrushes.
- Refillables: Where possible, use products that can be refilled without having to dispose of the original packaging. This way you’re cutting down on waste whilst still being able to use the products you love. Most supermarkets now offer a range of items that can be refilled, including hand wash and anti-bacterial cleaners.
Insulation and Energy Conservation
- Double or Triple Glazed Windows: These windows reduce heat loss and can also diminish outside noise and improve security. This helps keep your energy bills down and means that energy waste is minimised.
- Cavity Wall and Loft Insulation: Proper insulation in walls and lofts prevents significant heat loss, improving energy efficiency.
- Filling Gaps and Draught Proofing: Sealing gaps in floorboards and using draught excluders around windows and doors can prevent unnecessary heat loss.
Adopting eco-friendly practices at home is a gradual process. Whether you’re installing solar panels or simply switching to LED bulbs, every step counts towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly home. Remember, being eco-friendly is not just about the big investments; it’s also about the small daily choices that collectively make a significant impact. Done right, being eco-friendly can save you money.