Renovating your home is equal parts exciting and infuriating, as time and energy goes into refreshing your home for a new style, new era or simply a new year. Sometimes inspiration comes easy, and sometimes it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees.
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The coming year is likely to be defined by worry, in particular for the climate. Weather patterns are growing more unpredictable, and the point of no return for man-made pollutions seems to be upon us. As a homeowner, you might feel your own personal burden of responsibility, and hope to fold in sustainable thinking in your renovation plans. How might you do that?
A lot of sustainability measures simply come down to the management of habits. We can become inadvertently wasteful through growing accustomed to certain conveniences, or even through ‘making do’ without the money to spend on high-tech, eco-friendly solutions. Your home renovation is an excellent way to meet these habits, and make simple changes with multiple functions.
For example, you could design and build a DIY outbuilding using little more than some treated wood and some corrugated plastic sheeting. In the summer, this can be used for recreational purposes, but in the winter it can become a sheltered clothes-line – mitigating your need for a tumble dryer, and any temptations you might have to turn the heating up for quicker indoor drying.
Heating and Insulation
Speaking of heating, key advancements in heating system design are close to rendering the combi boiler obsolete. If though it is leaps and bounds more efficient than its hot-water-tank predecessor, the combi boiler is nonetheless a pollutive system due to its reliance on natural gas.
For a truly effective eco-friendly renovation, you would do well to replace your existing boiler with a modern alternative. If you have the money, replacing your heating system altogether with a heat-pump-driven system is an excellent solution – though there are also biomass boilers and solar water heating systems to consider.
While addressing your heating, it is just as important to reckon with your home’s insulation. Poor insulation results in wasteful usage of central heating, to account for heat escaping through radiation and convection. Roof insulation tackles the convection aspect, while good cavity-wall insulation can significantly reduce heat egress through external walls.
Fitting new appliances into a recently-renovated property can feel like a reward of sorts – the spoils, for you to enjoy in your (effectively) new home. This is also an opportunity to solve for energy efficiency, with many home appliances responsible for large amounts of wasted energy each year. Again, a lot of this can come down to user habits; the average TV, if left on standby all year, can add an unnecessary extra £11 to your bills.
But there are some appliances that are less efficient than they could be, whether older washing machines or conventional ovens. During your kitchen upgrade, you could swap out your older appliances for ones with better energy ratings and reduce your overall energy reliance as a result.