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Tips for making your home more sustainable

With the increasing devastation of global warming and other environmental issues, many of us are troubled by our carbon footprint and are looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact. One of the best places to start is where we spend a great deal of our time, our homes. Here are some carefully selected tips to adjust your daily routines and ensure your property has less of an impact on the planet.

Why make your home sustainable?
First of all, there is the environmental impact. While your home isn’t going to change the world alone, your everyday energy consumption contributes towards the impact on the planet. Rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are impacting climates across the globe. With this warmer weather comes the melting of polar ice caps which cause sea levels to rise and threatens the very existence of some coastal and island communities as well as wildlife preservation and crop yields.  However, if this doesn’t motivate you then there are other reasons too. The less energy your house consumes, the more money you’ll have in your pocket at the end of the month. Reducing your energy output is a guaranteed way to reduce your energy bills. It can also help when it comes to selling your home down the line, as energy efficiency is something that is increasingly high on the wish list of potential home owners.

Monitor your energy usage
To get started you need to get a handle on exactly how much energy you use. If you don’t know where and how you are using up lots of energy, then your efforts to make savings may be misguided. Click here to read some advice on choosing energy monitors to track your electricity usage:

For many homes, the biggest area of needless expenditure comes from a lack of proper insulation. You should check the level of insulation both in your attic and walls to make sure they are well padded. If they aren’t then you’ll be pleased to know that insulation can be picked up at a fairly low cost and can have an immediate impact on how much heat your home retains, and thus how much energy you require to warm it up. Another key source of heat loss is windows; if you have single glazed windows then it may be time to consider upgrading to double glazed style windows which can reduce the amount of heat escaping from rooms and make heating your home up a bit less of a struggle.

Efficient appliances   
Did you know appliances can account for as much as 30% of your home energy usage? As we become more and more reliant on home appliances, the importance of choosing highly efficient products increases. To help you choose the most efficient fridge, freezer or other appliance look out for energy rating labels which indicate how efficient it is with a grading from A+++ to D to help you make a decision.  Alternatively look out for ‘Energy Star’ labels; part of a government backed scheme they indicate potential for increased efficiency and savings in everything from fridges and cookers to set-top boxes and DVD players.

Natural resources
There are plenty of ways that you can turn the weather to your advantage too. Painting walls light colours, keeping curtains open and installing skylights can all reduce your need for artificial lighting, especially during the day. While installing solar panels and collecting rainwater in water butts can actually provide you with energy and resources to keep your home working.

Energy saving equipment
There are savings to be made in practically every room of your home.  Small changes like switching to energy saving LED or fluorescent light bulbs, using a power strip with standby settings that can tell if an item is being used and installing water saving shower heads can all add up to big savings and a reduced carbon footprint.

Are you trying to make better consumer choices this year? Don’t forget to let us know on Facebook or Twitter if you have any of your own tips that you would like to share.

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