Sustainability is no longer a luxury. Now it is much more on the wishlist of homeowners who want to make a concerted effort in their day-to-day lives, lower their energy usage and support the fight against climate change.
Sustainability at home has become a concern for many of us, as we look to incorporate green features in our properties. The growing demand for sustainable homes is seen across the property market with reports stating that buyers are happy to pay a 10% premium for an energy efficient home.
From renewable energy to smart tech, this article explores practical ways for homeowners to be more sustainable and the rewards these eco-friendly choices give when it comes to the running costs of a property.
The benefits of having a sustainable home
As well as the personal comfort that comes from caring about the impact your home has on the planet, it is great to know how to save energy and make your property a sustainable one. Whether this is with simple (or more involved) changes, you can rest assured that any efforts you make can greatly benefit in more ways than one. The day-to-day living and running of your home impacts the environment, there are benefits to be had from embracing contemporary and sustainable trends.
As a homeowner, landlord or investor there are multiple benefits to be gained from choosing to have a more eco-friendly property. Depending on the sustainable features you are able to install or even the slight modifications you make, you will make some headway towards improving the EPC rating of your home and reducing the environmental impact of your home. Additionally, you can make long-term savings by switching to renewable energy supplies, upgrading your glazing and replacing light bulbs for starters.
Here are five sustainable trends that you can start to adopt in and around your home to reap the rewards.
1. Install solar panels for renewable energy
Solar panels – photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight into electricity – are one of the most popular sustainable options to be adopted and considered in newly-built and older properties across the UK. The past seven years have seen the biggest rise in solar panel adoption with 50,700 rooftop panels fitted in private UK properties. This trend correlates with the intent for homeowners to lower both their bills and their energy usage.
The clever tech and advantages of solar panels that are installed properly makes this one of the best-known forms of renewable energy out there. The cutting edge design and positioning of solar panels allows energy stored in batteries to be used during peak times, also reducing reliance on the local grid. Homeowners are, therefore, investing in solar battery storage to make better use of any excess solar energy captured for use day and night.
When, before, you might have resisted installing solar panels for fear that they might spoil the look of your house, the reverse may now be true. In more contemporary ‘eco properties’, The Times reported that solar panels enhanced a property’s aesthetics with a cool appearance on top of all those benefits of having greener credentials.
2. Improve insulation across windows
The windows, skylights and doors in your home do allow natural light and air in but can also impact energy use. New glazing tech and green materials are crucial for boosting efficiency and lowering the environmental impact for a more eco-friendly home.
If you go for double or triple-glazed windows, they will insulate your home a lot better than single glazed panes. Double glazing provides significantly better insulation than single glazing, especially in the colder months. The gap between panes can also be filled with inert gases like argon or krypton which insulate better than just air, greatly improving efficiency.
You should also look for energy–saving measures to insulate your skylight windows and doors which also lose air and let out heat supplies. In spite of the higher initial costs of installing better insulated windows, the long-term energy savings might make up for this upfront cost.
3. Select eco heating options for comfort and cost
Finding an efficient, eco-friendly heating system is key to keeping your home warm and comfortable during winter. With rising energy costs and environmental concerns, many homeowners are opting for green solutions that provide reliable warmth without excessive bills or fuel usage. As a result, modern heat pump systems are growing in popularity as a renewable alternative trend to boilers.
Heat pumps are a sustainable electric heating alternative to gas boilers, providing heating and hot water with minimal carbon emissions. They work by drawing latent heat from the air or ground. The heat pump takes in warmer energy and transfers it indoors through underfloor heating systems. Although the upfront cost is higher, heat pumps can cut heating bills by half compared to gas, while reducing your carbon footprint.
You can also look out for some of the best and most efficient radiators on the market, lower-carbon options and other convenient eco-heating solutions.
4. Use smart gadgets for savings and sustainability
Smart thermostats, energy monitoring systems and smart plugs allow homeowners to track energy usage in real-time and identify savings opportunities. Automating and scheduling heating, lighting and appliances based on occupancy patterns through smart tech will help you to reduce energy demand. Voice assistants can also now integrate with smart home devices to enable hands-free eco-friendly control.
With a focus on health as well as efficiency, technologies that monitor and improve indoor air quality are an emerging sustainable trend. Heat recovery ventilation uses outgoing warm air to preheat incoming fresh air, while pollen filters and HEPA systems filter indoor air. Smart systems automatically modulate ventilation rates and filter use based on occupancy and pollution levels.
5. Conserve and recycle water for internal and external use
As water scarcity increases, rainwater harvesting systems that collect rainfall run-off in tanks above or below ground are an eco-trend. This water can then be used to irrigate gardens, flush toilets and wash clothes, reducing mains water consumption.
Greywater recycling systems that treat and disinfect gently used water from sinks, baths and washing machines to reuse onsite are also growing in popularity. In addition, solar thermal heating systems can meet up to 60% of a home’s hot water demand. Roof panels harness heat from sunlight, which is transferred to a well-insulated hot water tank. This renewable technology slashes hot water costs and carbon emissions.
In summary, there are some great eco-friendly home features and energy-efficiency projects that promote sustainability for day-to-day living that goes some way to safeguard the planet. Homeowners are willing to invest in solutions that reduce environmental impact while also improving home comfort and air quality.
From installing solar panels and improving insulation to using energy efficient appliances and fitting water-saving devices, sustainable homes boast a range of benefits that can lower your monthly energy and water usage to scale back your bills. Greener heating options and smart solutions can help to monitor, track and keep your home cosy well into the winter months. The long-term value in environmental terms means having a sustainable property is a smart investment that pays off now and in years to come.0