With the cost of living crisis already biting, coupled with a climate catastrophe, not to mention new EPC regulations coming on stream shortly for landlords, now more than ever households should be looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprints.
So, what can you do? The good news is there is much we can all do – and not only will you be helping reduce emissions, you will be saving money too!
- Monitor your energy consumption
Keeping an eye on how much energy you use enables you to identify areas in which you can bring your usage down. A smart meter, which your supplier can install free of charge, is a great starting point as it shows exactly how much energy is being used each day. Investing in an energy audit is even better. Costing between £100 and £400 they highlight areas in your home where energy efficiency can be improved. Over time you will get to see where you are using energy the most and identify ways to reduce that which will lower your bills.
- Quick energy saving hacks
For some quick short term gains, both financially and environmentally, try these ideas: turn lights off when you leave a room, turn the thermostat down a degree or two both for your heating and water, switch all appliances off when you are not using them rather than leaving them on standby, clean your radiator systems to maximise their efficiency, choose high efficiency appliances and if you haven’t already done so, switch to long lasting LED lights.
- Reduce water usage
Using less water is an easy switch to make. If you have outside space, install at least one water butt in your garden to save you using the hose in the summer months. Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth, have shorter showers, only fill the kettle with the water you need and don’t over-fill it and if you have any water left over from cooking or washing up, you can use that to water the plants once it’s cooled down. Even better, install a water meter to monitor how much water you are actually using or install a tap aerator. These restrict the number of litres of water that flow from the tap per minute. An eco shower head does the same thing, but just for your shower.
- A green mortgage
Lenders are beginning to go green with many offering green mortgages. A green mortgage rewards you for buying or owning an energy efficient home. There are several different types, but they are only available to those who either buy or own an environmentally friendly home (generally with an A, B, or C EPC rating), or to those who make energy-efficient home improvements. Some offer preferential rates if the property meets certain energy efficiency criteria, but others may offer cashback on any money you borrow to upgrade your home’s energy efficiency.
- Insulate your home
Insulation is key. The more heat that leaves your home through a lack of effective insulation, the more it costs to heat your home, and the more damage it does to the environment. Older properties are particularly prone to this kind of problem whereas new builds have better energy efficiency built in. New windows, which are double or even triple glazed can really help but check if you need planning permission or listed building consent if your property is Grade I or 2 listed. Cavity wall and roof insultation are good places to start but check windows and doors are fitted properly so draughts are minimised and look at the roof to make sure there are no loose tiles or gaps.
- Long term measures
Climate change is here to stay so it pays to think of long term solutions as well as short term gains. This can include installing solar panels or heat pumps. These are expensive to install but if you are planning to stay in your home for many years then they can be a worthwhile investment and can even save or make you money long term. Rainwater harvesting is another option and if you are really hard core, compostable toilets are another option.