Building or refurbishing a home is not easy. At every stage of the process there are a multitude of questions to be answered. From door-handle styles to the type of screws used in the bathroom, everything is a decision that needs to be made. While many of these choices can feel inconsequential, there are a number of important things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the environment. Here are our 7 top ways you can ensure that your home is energy efficient and good for the planet:
As often as you can, it is always best to look for recycled materials for your home. Every new item manufactured has an environmental cost, so it’s best to look for supplies that have been collected from waste products and repurposed for a new life. These can include recycled rubber roofing, composite decking from wood waste or even carpets made from plastic bottles. If these items are out of your price range, consider up-cycling. Junk shops often sell old doors, windows and other items that (with a bit of sanding and care) can look just as good as something new.
Much of the day to day energy used in a household is due to heating and cooling. To ensure your home is as sustainable as possible, it’s important to insulate your home well. Not only will you be helping the planet, you’ll be saving money too. Using brick or concrete for your home is best as denser materials offer high levels of thermal mass. This results in a lower heat exchange between outside and inside temperatures as the heat is more efficiently stored during the daytime and slowly released at night. Also, make sure all doors and windows are sealed properly and if possible install triple glazed windows to maximise heat retention.
Rainwater Harvesting is the collection and storage of rainwater that would otherwise flow down gutters into the drain. Rainwater is collected from the roof, then re-used within the home and garden. This can provide substantial savings on water bills, as well as making your home more sustainable.
Choosing water efficient shower heads and tap nozzles will save gallons in the long run. Paring this with duel flushing toilets or opting for a sink/toilet hybrid will help even more. A tankless water heater is another good investment as it saves water without adding to electrical costs. Finally, invest in quality plumbing fixtures to prevent leakages. Water usage can be dramatically reduced (particularly with the London weather) and energy collected on sunny days will help to reduce your power consumption.
Make use of the natural sun path as much as you can by installing sunlights or large windows where you know the light will shine through to heat and brighten your home. For the summer months, consider wind direction, placing large windows at key places can create a breeze through your entire home at no extra cost to you. Automatic blinds are on the market now that could also improve natural lighting and reduce the reliance on artificial lighting. The installation of solar panels / photovoltaic cells in domestic applications for supplementary heating or hot water provision is becoming more and more viable. Excess power collected can now earn you money by pumping your energy back into the grid. While the upfront costs can be intimidating, the long term benefits pay off.
Home automation is becoming simpler and cheaper. Ask us, we know. We have experience with home automation done perfectly, and done to reduce energy efficiently and inexpensively. Lighting and heating control is becoming easier than before with modern devices all linked to the home wifi network. Massive energy saving can be achieved.
LED lighting, low energy appliances and other low energy devices are all contributors to a low energy home. If trying to achieve a certain mood using lighting, there are equivalent lighting options for all traditional types that use LED options. These come in a range of colour options and are dimable. Moreover, they are compatible with smart home control and can be automatically activated. Think low energy when selecting any energy consuming devices. While they may cost a bit more upfront, the savings over the lifetime of the device will save you a fair few £££.
Karsons take big building mentality and bring these to their basics. It’s simple principles that makes energy efficiency measures most efficient. We can help design your specific energy strategies from individual components to systems like lighting or heating control, rainwater harvesting and others. Give us a call to discuss your ideas. We would love to assist in making them a reality.