If you are in the middle of a build or planning renovations to your home now is the perfect time to consider eco-solutions that will make your home more eco-kind. Not only will you contribute to protecting the future of our environment by reducing your carbon footprint, but you can also potentially increase the value of your home and reduce energy costs.
Here are 10 ways to make your home more eco-friendly ranging from simple actions you can implement easily to those that may require a builder.
1. Insulate – If you can keep heat in you reduce the need for more heating and energy used. Not sure where to start, check for air leaks in all windows and doors. Invest in draught excluders for doors that have leaks and if you are in a newer build or have new windows, installed in the last 20 years, your window company may provide a service to check and tighten the windows which will reduce leaks. Check the insulation in your attic and consider insulating the outside walls.
2. Energy efficient light bulbs - More efficient LED bulbs use less electricity and last longer than the more traditional incandescent bulbs so the added benefit of not needing to replace as often.
3. Use natural cleaning products such as vinegar, citric acid (from citric fruits) and bicarbonate of soda. These can be used in place of caustic chemicals which is better for you, your family and the planet. Using harmful chemicals to clean is very bad for the environment. When you wash them away you are simply putting them into the water supply so more purification is required before it is safe to use again.
4. Consider what you purchase
a. Consume less and invest in high-quality ethical organic items for your home. Organic textiles have the added benefit of being hypoallergenic, so better for you and are not made with toxins or harmful chemicals so you will not be introducing any additional toxins into your home as well as being better for the environment.
b. Buy recycled – Try to buy recycled wherever you can. Items that we came across; recycled tinfoil, paper bags for school lunches and kitchen roll.
5. Water – Use less. Fix any leaks. Make lifestyle changes such as when brushing your teeth or shaving don’t let the tap run
6. Use less gas - To reduce your carbon footprint find ways to use less gas, choosing clean electricity instead. It's a great way to transition to clean energy – and help the planet at the same time.
7. Choose an air pump or underfloor heating - If you are renovating your home consider an air source heat pump or underfloor heating – both will help your house to retain heat far longer and are more efficient. Underfloor heating will evenly distribute heat around a room while an air heat pump works by converting the energy of the outside air into heat.
8. Install Solar Panels - Solar panels are an essential feature for any eco-home. They are a truly renewable energy source and although they can be expensive they can sometimes even make enough energy to allow you to sell some back to the grid. In Ireland, the government has proposed Action 30 of the Climate Action Plan provides that a support payment for excess electricity generated on-site and exported to the grid will be available to all Irish micro-generators by late 2021.
9. Install a smart meter – Your heating is one of the biggest ways you use energy. Smart meters can be programmed so that they only turn on your heating at certain times of the day – so you are using only the heat that you need. A great way to reduce your carbon footprint and energy bills
10. Switch to a green energy provider to reduce your footprint and your costs. There are currently five energy suppliers in Ireland offering 100% renewable energy. More details are available for Irish homes at Renewable Energy Suppliers in Ireland | Best Green Tariffs (switcher.ie)
Check with your government office or local authority for grants to make your home more energy-efficient and more eco-friendly and will potentially cover part of the cost for air pumps, triple glazing plus more provided it improves the energy rating of your home. In Ireland the SEAI has details on all the grants available, how to apply and exactly what work qualifies: Energy Efficient Homes - Home Energy Upgrades And Grants | SEAI
Word of caution, agree all work to be carried out and for which you seek grant assistance with the relevant body, before work begins (as the grant cannot be awarded after the work has been completed if not agreed beforehand)…speaking from experience
If you have any tips or experience on making your home more eco-friendly we would love to hear from you.