20 Dec Eco retrofitting your home in East Finchley, London
Whether you’re looking to save the planet or save a pretty penny on your utility bills, if you own a draughty old property then there is much that you can do today to achieve one or both of these goals. Eco retrofitting your home does not have to be a grand exercise, sometimes it’s the little things you can do, the quick fixes, that can make a big difference.
This article is for those who know they want to do something, but just don’t know where to start.
When you move, when it breaks or simply now
The circumstances you are in when you decide to get started will often determine the speed and disruption of the work.
If you are committed to an eco-friendlier lifestyle, you may already know when you buy your next property that you’ll want a survey done to determine its energy efficiency and eco-credentials. Then, if anything requires improvement you can instruct your builder before you move in. An empty home will be far easier to work on and the project can be completed more quickly and cost-effectively.
Alternatively, if you are on a budget and you would prefer to spread the work out over many years you could choose to make environmentally orientated replacement decisions when something relevant (such as your boiler or your roof, etc.) breaks or starts to leak.
Finally, if you are not intent on moving anytime soon and you want to do something more substantial right now, then your builder will be able to discuss what could and should be done, the costs involved, and the disruption you and your family may have to endure so you can decide if they should work around you or if you should move out for just a little while (which could reduce time and costs of the work).
What can be done to make your home more environmentally friendly?
This is not an exhaustive list, but one to get you started with a few ideas on how you can change your home to be more environmentally friendly or to reduce your household’s carbon footprint. What you choose to do is completely up to you.
1. Replace windows and doors
Single glazing or broken windows and draughty gaps can mean massive heat loss, increasing your energy consumption and costs. Replacing with better fitting double glazing can have a significant impact on reducing your carbon footprint and bills. If you are not able to replace your windows, then secondary glazing may be an option.
2. Solar electricity and solar water systems
The cost of solar systems has come down and their efficiency increased significantly from the early days of this technology. Reducing both your draw from the national grid and your need for natural gas can make you practically self-sufficient.
3. Rainwater collection
Homeowners use lots of water and every drop has to be recycled, costing the taxpayer and impacting on the environment. Rainwater collection is one of those small things that most homeowners can do to reduce their needs from the mains.
4. Insulation upgrade
Most older properties were built without the current standard of insulation which means that you may need to add a layer of 300mm insulation to the loft and/or inject insulation into cavity walls. There are also internal and external wall insulation methods for older homes without cavity walls.
5. Lag pipes and tank
A lot of heat can be lost from your hot water pipes and storage tank, so you can make both more efficient with lagging, wrapping your pipes in insulation. This will have the added benefit of ensuring those pipes don’t freeze and crack in the winter – wasting water and money in the process.
6. Home automation
Energy efficiency means using only what you need when you need it, but if heating and lighting are on when you’re out, or even just out of a room, then you are using more energy than needed. Home automation can help you to set timers and individual room thermostats, creating a more ‘just-in-time’ way of using your utilities.
7. Replace bulbs with LED ones
There has been a big move to ensure that homeowners now use more energy efficient light bulbs in their homes. Where possible, replace all with LED lighting as this will last longer and use far less energy than traditional lights.
Where to start
There are many more things you could do to improve the environmental friendliness of your home, but as each property has different issues and solutions and each homeowner has a limited budget it is often best to ask for advice on where to start.
This advice could come from:
1. Your local authority.
Many local authorities are more than happy to discuss their view of how properties in their region could be made more efficient.
2. Energy Saving Trust
. They offer an online resource for those interested in home efficiency to find out what they can do in their homes.
3. The Ideal Home Show.
The event usually has a show home dedicated to eco-friendly living and this year is no different with The Evolving Home. Check it out.
4. Ask your friendly neighbourhood builder.
We’ve worked with clients for years on everything from the little things that make a big difference to a whole home eco retrofit, so we’d be delighted to help you to do your bit for the planet or to make savings on your energy bills.