Tips on How to Renovate Your Home Sustainably
House of Worktops offers the following advice on how to renovate your home sustainably, while ensuring it looks good...
Lead Image: Unsplash/ Alexandra Gorn
1 Insulation & Glazed Windows
Perhaps one of the easiest and most effective ways of reducing energy consumption in your home is to ensure the walls, garage, and any basement, attic or loft space is fully insulated.
This is also quite cost-effective, especially with the recent rises in energy prices, and can often be completed within a day or two.
Modern homes are now automatically double or triple glazed, but some older properties may still be sporting single glazed windows.
If double glazing isn’t suitable for the character of your home, then check out secondary glazing as an alternative option. Either way, upgrading your windows is a must – and also a big benefit for if and when you decide to sell your home.
You will generally be able to find deals to fit all the windows for your home at a reduced price, rather than choosing to do them gradually which will end up costing more in the long run.
It is also more eco-friendly to just get the glazers out once, thereby cutting down on carbon footprints of manufacture, delivery and fitting.
2 Solar Power & Renewable Heating Systems
London may not get the sun very often, but solar panels are still worth considering as a replacement for more traditional energy sources, generating electricity or producing hot water.
Just make sure that you fit them onto a side of the roof that faces within 90 degrees of a southerly direction and they will still be able to do their job, even on a typically cloudy day in the capital.
Alternatively, or even in addition, heating your home using natural resources such as the earth, air or wood are the pinnacles of sustainability.
Ground source heat pumps use the natural heat from the earth underneath your property and in your garden with pipes that extract this heat into your heating and hot water circuitry.
The same can be achieved using air source systems, and these are often a preferred choice for renovations as the disruption is minimal compared to ground source, needing just an external wall or roof space to be affixed to.
They cost in the region of £2,000 but can save a lot more. Boiler upgrade scheme grants are also available for those who are changing to a renewable system.
A more expensive option is to splash out on a biomass boiler that uses wood pellets to fire up your central heating and hot water system. However, this also requires a lot of room, so you would need to be sure before committing to this method.
3 Natural & Reclaimed Building Materials
Reclaimed wood can be upcycled into dining tables and shelves, while salvaged bricks can be used in creating fireplaces or even building small extensions to your home.
Recycling items such as wooden beams, copper pipes and pieces of stone or concrete reduces the environmental impact of the building and ensures that fewer items are sent to landfill.
Gaining in popularity, bamboo is a surprisingly effective building material, which can be used in place of far less sustainable new concrete as it is remarkably strong and flexible.
A lot of internal flooring is now built using bamboo, which is highly resistant and naturally reduces pollution. Because it grows so quickly in the wild, it also means that it can be harvested regularly without damaging its environs.
Using natural materials when renovating your home can not only improve its green credentials but will likely look aesthetically pleasing too. After all, who wouldn’t want an impressive solid oak worktop in their kitchen?
“An ideal choice for homeowners looking to achieve a farmhouse, rustic or traditional kitchen style,” explains Murat Yashar, Director at House of Worktops.
“This hardwearing material is incredibly durable and, when re-oiled on a regular basis, refreshingly easy to maintain.”
These sturdy design materials have been built to last and can add instant character to your home, making it a win-win all round. Just make sure they come from somewhere that has been grown and manufactured sustainably too.
4 Energy Efficient Appliances
On the subject of your kitchen, don’t forget about your white goods.
Swapping fridges, freezers and washing machines for more energy-efficient versions can significantly reduce consumption, not only saving you money but also reducing your carbon footprint.
Modern appliances are now made to be particularly eco-friendly without compromising on their effectiveness.
The same goes for light bulbs. LED lighting has become the norm for its much-reduced energy use, but still providing enough illumination that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them.
5 Eco-Friendly Paints & Lacquers
Now for the fun part – the decorating. This is where you can really put your stamp on your home, but you should still be mindful of what you are using to brighten up your decor.
Eco-friendly paints are now widely available and they are generally water soluble, using plant oils and dyes to provide colour pigments.
Alternatively, wall coverings using hessian, cotton and wool can be used. Varnishes and waxes also come in environmentally-friendly versions, so there really is no excuse not to finish the job properly.