Eco-friendliness is generally the furthest thing away from our mind when thinking about building your new home, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Having eco-friendly practices in mind can save you a lot of money in the future, preventing you from spending stupid amounts of money on things that could have been avoided. Eco-friendly doesn’t have to be extreme, it just means that you are being conscious about the amount of energy you are using and how efficient your home will be when it is in operation. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can use for yourself.
Build with insulation in mind
Don’t skimp out on insulation, be it for your roof, walls or indeed your flooring. Temperature control is a huge issue for many houses across the UK and needs to be addressed from day one. If you can insulate your home to the point that temperature change is minimal, your gas and electricity bills will be considerably lower, especially in the winter months.
We spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds every year on battling the masses of escaping heat. We have grown to believe that this is normal, but it certainly is not, and does not need to be the case. Even so much as making sure that your interiors are in order can be helpful. Thicker curtains and bigger rugs all contribute to trapping heat, which leads us onto the next point…
Think twice about laminate
We all know how trendy laminate and real wood flooring is, but you may want to think twice about it when it comes to the overall efficiency of your home. Much like the first point, you are going to want to trap as much heat as possible and with laminate, you will be automatically at a disadvantage and finding yourself fighting a losing battle to keep your energy trapped in. It may be easier to clean, but your heating bills will definitely feel the effects.
If you do choose to opt for laminate or real wood, make sure that you have all cracks and crevices efficiently sealed with quite substantial floor insulation.
When constructing your house, you need to think about your electricity connection. If you need to set up a new, remote connection, you may have to pay some pretty hefty fees to get the line out to you. A good alternative, even if you can get a connection for cheap, would be to opt for solar panels. Not only is this a great investment for the environment, but return on investment promises to be huge. After breaking even, you are pretty much receiving free electricity for life. Also, with the government’s new Feed-In Tariff, you will be looking at a much quicker ROI.
Solar panels are cheaper and more efficient than ever and only seem to be increasing as such. Investing in solar panels will remove your reliance on the national grid by whatever amount you wish. If you only want to partly generate your electricity, then that is also fine, it just means that you will have to have a connection to the national grid still. If you want to wholly remove your reliance on the grid you will have to invest in a storage battery for in times of low light such as night time. This will be an additional cost but will mean that your ROI will come quicker.
LED light fixtures
When you move on to your interiors, it is crucial that you don’t cheap out on your light bulbs. The technology that exists today is light years ahead of what we were using 50 years ago. Incandescent light bulbs are one of the main reasons that the average UK household’s electricity bills is made up of 15% lighting costs. This should not be the case and by switching to LEDs you will be significantly reducing your lighting costs, between 75-90% to be exact.
Lighting is a crucial portion of our electricity bill and needs to be shown attention. There is not a huge price difference between incandescent, halogens, LEDs and CFLs, but you should always go with the most energy efficient, even if it means spending an extra £50 initially. After 6 months, you will have already made up your costs, meaning after that, you’re in the money.