Save Money And Make Your Next Renovation Eco-Friendly

When it comes to protecting the environment, the benefits are a long way in the future, and the costs are immediate. That’s why, according to interior designer and TV personality George Clark, people aren’t going to change the way they live – at least not without some benefits in the here and now.

Rather than taking an ideological view on the climate, Clark is more pragmatic. He says that if people are going to change, they need some incentives other than another Al Gore presentation about the end of the world.

Fortunately, things have moved on quite a bit since the early days of eco-friendly design. It’s no longer such a compromise to renovate a house in an eco-friendly way. In fact, in some situations, it’s incredibly high tech.

For regular homeowners, this means both getting some benefits and saving money on gas and electricity bills. Living more sustainably and reducing utility costs go hand-in-hand, and it’s something that everybody can benefit from.

Governments have realised this too. In the UK, for instance, the government wants to fit solar panels to 800,000 “social houses” to reduce utility costs for low-income residents. When you compare gas and electricity prices before and after the change, there’s a large difference. And that’s the benefit of eco-living: it helps level the playing field. No longer do you need a substantial income to run a big house, just the right approach to energy usage.

Here are some renovations that are eco-friendly and could save you money in the long term.

Build Draught Excluders Into New Doors

wood floor window home curtain living room furniture room door modern interior design shutters hardwood plantation window blind colonial colonial shutters window covering window treatment sash window

If you’re planning on fitting new doors, you might be able to save a bit of money on your gas and electric at the same time. Rather than fitting draught excluders, which can look cumbersome and get dirty really easily, find ways to use the door itself to plug gaps between one room and another, especially exterior doors. The good news is that the majority of modern exterior doors come with draught-excluding seals which work much better than regular excluders. Find a door that fits the door frame perfectly and put an end to inch-thick gaps under your doors which let in all the cold air from outside.

Buy Furniture And Fittings Second-Hand

Most people think that the biggest energy cost involved in the delivery of goods comes at the shipping stage. But, in reality, it’s actually the manufacturing stage which involves the most energy use, especially for products which contain metal. As a result, even if you buy furniture locally, you may not be reducing the carbon footprint of your renovation.

It’s always better, therefore, to make use of old furniture: furniture that would otherwise have been thrown in a skip and dumped in a landfill. What’s more, second-hand furniture offers opportunities that new furniture doesn’t. Upcycling a piece of new furniture doesn’t make much sense. But taking something that is apparently past its best and making it new again can be a gratifying experience and something that’s well worth doing at least one.

Choose Low Electricity Appliances

When renovating a room, we rarely consider the type of appliances we choose. But it turns out that not only is the choice of appliances essential for eco-living, but it’s also important from a stylistic point of view.

Appliances, like radiators, aren’t just appliances anymore – something which many homeowners just hope will fade into the background. They’re fast becoming focal points for the room. There’s no longer any need to stick with your original cast-iron radiator and decorate the rest of the room around it. You can get different styles of radiators that can be made to suit any room and look good too.

A current favourite is tall, thin radiators that snake their way all the way up a wall to the ceiling. Gone are the ugly traditional column and cast iron radiators. Designer radiators are here to stay, and they look a heck of a lot better than their counterparts. Designer radiators come in chrome, stainless steel, and aluminium, as well as different colours.

Replace Your Drapes With Thicker Material

According to estimates, as much as 30 percent of all the heat lost from a home is lost through the windows. That represents a significant bump to your electricity and gas bill. But the good news is that you can stem the loss of heat through judicious investment in drapes.

Thin curtains might be all the rage right now, but thicker drapes can be made to work too, especially when paired with the perfect interior. You don’t want your drapes to look too heavy or overbearing, like something out of Wuthering Heights, but you do want something that will stop heat escaping, especially now winter is approaching.

Most professional drape suppliers will allow you to choose the tog of the material. Selecting a higher tog can help to keep small air pockets within the material, providing additional insulation and reducing heat loss.

Experiment With LED Lighting

LED lights were originally invented back in the 1990s. But, as with any new technology, they were extremely expensive, to begin with. Today that’s all changed, and the cost of LEDs has come down considerably. No, they’re not quite as cheap as old-fashioned incandescent bulbs just yet, but they’re well on their way. And, importantly, they provide greater bang for the buck: LED bulbs are able three times as expensive as regular bulbs, but they may last thirty times as long and use 10 percent of the energy.

There’s also another feature of LED lights that make them particularly appealing to homeowners: their versatility. It turns out that the underlying LED technology is a lot safer than traditional lighting technology and this means that LED lights can be arranged into all sorts of configurations which simply weren’t possible in the past. LEDs can be made so small and use up such little energy that they are now being fashioned into sources of light which mimic things in the natural world, like rushes and twigs. LEDs can also be placed in areas where it would previously have been difficult to put bulbs, again adding to their versatility. Lighting a space from multiple vectors, for instance, is easier with LED bulbs than other varieties.

branch white flower vase blue lighting twig art light fixture flower close up ikebana floral design still life photography centrepiece led lights flower arranging led flower ornaments led closeup crystal flower

Stick With Wood Frames

If all you cared about was looks, which would you choose? Factory-produced UPVC window frames or wood frames? In all likelihood, it’s the latter. And the reason? Factory-produced UPVC frames are generic, ugly and hard to repair if they get damaged. Wooden frames, on the other hand, can be sanded down, chiselled away and be replaced piece by piece if necessary.

But there’s another reason to stick with wooden frames whenever possible: plastic frames are just downright dangerous for the environment. According to health experts, UPVC frames emit a toxin which can harm your health as well as the rest of the environment. Wood frames covered in non-VOC paint don’t.

Fill Your Cavity Walls Before You Start The Decorating

If you’re stripping back your old decor and are looking to replace it with something new, it’s worth thinking about filling the spaces between your cavity walls before you start decorating. Homes which don’t make use of cavity wall insulation can see their gas and electric bills skyrocket. What’s more, halfway through a renovation is the opportune time to start injecting insulating material. It’s cheap, and it’s best to do it while the decorating is ongoing to minimise disruption.

Buy Furniture Made From Recycled Materials

Have you ever wondered where all your recycled plastic and metal goes? Most of it goes back into new packaging products, but a small chunk of it also goes to make furniture.

The great thing about recycled furniture today is that you would never have guessed it was, other than the fact that manufacturers tend to be very proud of the fact. It’s high quality and sometimes more durable than unsustainably sourced furniture, thanks to its high plastic content.

Scrap Radiators Entirely

Waiting the screed

[Photo courtesy of Bill Nichols/Geograph.org.uk]

As discussed, efforts have been made to redeem radiators. But no matter how hard designers try, they rarely fit into the design of a room. Plus, they’re also not particularly energy efficient according to Clark, which is why you should consider alternatives.

Fortunately, you don’t have to freeze in the winter to keep your home stylish: just choose underfloor heating. Not only does it keep radiators out of your living spaces, but it’s also more energy-efficient, slashing the cost of your gas and electric bills.

Use Local Materials For Renovation Works

Bamboo is often considered to be an eco-friendly material because it grows quickly and comes from bamboo farms. But bamboo is cultivated a long way from its target market. Buyers of bamboo are often people in rich countries in the northern hemisphere, whereas bamboo tends to be grown near to the equator. That means that there’s a lot of energy involved in shipping it to your house. You can bypass all of this, of course, by source sustainable materials locally.

[ Tagged In ] , , , , , , , , ,

How to Keep Your Home Cool during the Summer

While we may not be blessed with sweltering weather all year round in the UK, there is no denying that it can get a bit stuffy and uncomfortable in the home when the sun comes out. If you are searching for ways to make your home cool throughout the summer months ahead, read on.

[Photo courtesy of /wikimedia.org]

Tips for your A/C

Of course, the easiest way to cool your home is with air conditioning, and there are numerous ways you can ensure your system runs more effectively. If possible, provide shade for your air conditioning unit, as this will boost its efficiency by five to ten per cent. You should also make sure that you clean your A/C air filter on a monthly basis. Air flow will drop by around one per cent per week due to normal dust build-up. Another tip is to make sure you do not use a dehumidifier while your air conditioner is turned on, as it will cause the cooling load to increase, which will make the air conditioner work even harder. And, if you have been meaning to get your air conditioning unit repaired for a while, now is the time with a company that provides a quick service, such as Farmen & Dermer AC repair.

Window solutions

Not only do you need to concentrate on your air conditioning unit throughout the summer, but your windows can be key to ensuring your home is comfortable. You should think about exotic infills for your windows. This is a new technology that ensures the space between the panels is filled with argon or krypton, which boost R-values because they are gases that have lower conductivity than air. You should also install mini-blinds or white window shades, as they can lower solar heat gain by as much as 50 per cent.

Quick tips

Now that we have dealt with the most important aspects regarding keeping your home cool during the summer, let’s take a look at some quick tips that will help you along the way:

  • Grill – Forget about using the stove or the oven during the summer months; it is only going to make your home feel like a sauna. If you are already sweltering, the last thing you want to do is turn on a 400-degree oven. Instead, use the grill. After all, who doesn’t love a barbeque during the summer months?
  • Get rid of incandescent lights – Now is the time to get rid of incandescent lights. Did you know that they actually waste about 90 per cent of their energy in the heat they emit? This is an awful lot of energy and an awful lot of heat. Making the switch can reduce the heat in your home as well as your energy bills.
  • Heat-proof your bed – Is there anything more frustrating than being too hot while in bed? This may sound weird, but you’d be surprised how effective it is: fill a hot water bottle with water, and place it in the freezer, and then before bed put it under your feet before you go to sleep.
  • Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise – Lastly, you may not realise it, but you need to adjust your ceiling fans seasonally. During the summer, make sure your fan rotates counter-clockwise, as this will create a chilled breeze that will make you feel cooler.

For some more tips on making your home summer-ready, click here.

[ Tagged In ] , , , , , , , ,

Home Improvement: Bringing Comfort Into Your Life

Comfort is one of the most underrated aspects to life. We don’t take enough time out of our hectic family or work schedules to settle down and enjoy the small things. We don’t often even look for comfort, do we?

The thing is – we shouldn’t have to. Some much of our lives are spent at a desk or at work and this means that our homes should be automatically comfy. It doesn’t just take a good couch or amazing bed sheets – it’s a state of mind for our homes. It’s not just about putting down a potted plant and saying job done.

Home, Life, Sofa, Couch, Comfortable, Relaxation, Male

[Photo courtesy of Wokandapix/pixabay.com]

It’s not amazingly easy to add comfort to your life, but it is a simple path. To start off, keep a tidy home with regimented cleaning sessions. This could be daily sweeping and polishing followed by a deeper weekly clean and dusting. The state of your house will reflect on your state of mind and dust, dirt and hair will build up to frustrate you. Keep the house clean in the first instance to feel at home in your home!

Windows and natural light is a good way to feel comfortable in the home. Adding double glazed windows to protect your bubble from external sounds like traffic and road works. Your home shouldn’t be easily infiltrated by external noise. Windows also serve an obvious purpose to let big light into your rooms which makes them seem a lot less dull. If there are issues, natural light could be one of the answers.

[Photo courtesy of Victor Grigas/wikipedia.org]

Natural light is great, but it’s only around for a portion of the day. This means that we have to provide our own methods of lighting for later sections of each day. Move away from fluorescent lighting and opt for bulbs with warm glows that work to soothe instead of cause headaches.

To be comfortable, you’ve also got to think about the temperature. Central heating is great for the winter, but fans and open windows work best in the summer if you can’t get your hands on air conditioning. Think about the floors as well. Hardwood floors are cozy, but they aren’t comfy – and when it gets cold they will bite at your naked feet! Get some nice rugs to ensure that there are patches of floor based warmth in your home.

Of course, you also need the right seating to be super comfortable and what better than an armchair to take away your blues? Of course there are plenty of other options like foam bags from SackDaddy.com! Simply go with the flow and grab the items that make you feel comfortable.

A final thought on comfort – add yourself to your home. It is yours, after all. Allow your style to reflect yourself through DIY projects and personalization. Put up photos, painting and pictures and allow your talents to shine through. Your home is your space, so let it be just that with a bit of a personal touch. Or you could just add a plant!

[ Tagged In ] , , , , ,

4 Things to Keep In Mind During an Attic Renovation

Have you been craving some extra space in your home? Maybe you have a little one on the way and you need an extra bedroom or you’d prefer to get work done in a quiet space. If you’re considering renovating your attic with the help of Summit Point Roofing, ponder these four tips.

Attic

[Attic bedroom” by Ben Husmann from Chicago, USA /wikipedia.org]
    1. Will you be following fire codes and safety precautions? Usually, 50% of a finished attic has to be a minimum of seven feet high, seven feet wide, and 70 square feet. For safety reasons, you should have an engineer make sure that the house’s foundation and frame can withstand extra weight.
    2. During the summer months, expect your attic to get much warmer than the rest of the house. Add ceiling fans to help regulate temperature.
    3. With all that attic planning, you forgot about the rooms downstairs! Shuffling feet in the attic will carry through to the rooms below. Keep things quiet with heavy duty floor joists and add a carpet or area rug.
    4. If you’re installing a bathroom upstairs, match it up with a kitchen or bathroom below. This will help streamline the plumbing, keeping costs down and limiting damage to the walls. Sometimes, a plumber will even be able to connect new pipes to the old ones, although this isn’t always the best option.

Are you ready to expand your home’s usable space and start utilizing that attic? Learn how today!

[ Tagged In ] , , , , , , , , ,

error: Content is protected !!