If you’ve watched the television programme, Ben Fogle: New Lives in The Wild, then you might be familiar with the number of people that are scrapping a modern life for an entirely sustainable one. But while not all of us will be ditching our current homes for a house powered by the sun, at least not anytime soon, many of us aspire to own an environmentally friendly home. Here, Nick Cowley, managing director at leading window and door manufacturer Euramax, explains how little changes to your home could make a big difference to the environment.
With climate change now firmly cemented in the public consciousness, we’re encouraged every day to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing meat consumption, transport and plastic usage. Although, it can take time to adapt to these lifestyle changes, one of the most significant ways to become more environmentally friendly is to make immediate changes to your home.
From capsule homes that are camouflaged with grass, to £800,0000 zero-carbon homes in Oxfordshire, sustainable homes are being developed in many ways. However, it is possible to achieve a more sustainable home without moving.
Homes in the UK contribute to 27 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and, according to Evergreen Energy, 24 million homes in the UK have a loft, but only 17 million of these homes have loft insulation that is 150 millimetres (mm) — when in fact the recommended thickness is 270mm. Insulation prevents heat from escaping, which insulates your home without needing to switch the heating on.
Installing insulation is an easy, effective and environmentally friendly way of minimising the amount of greenhouse gases that are used to produce energy that heats a home, contributing towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
Perhaps the biggest change to achieve a sustainable home is to consider the materials that are used to construct a property. While some people have gone the extra mile by building homes in the ground to use the natural heat from the earth to warm the house, modern homes can become more sustainable by considering the material choice of the windows and doors.
Inefficient windows and doors are responsible for 25 per cent of heat loss from a home, which means it’s vital to ensure a thermally efficient material is used for your windows and doors.
Composite doors, like the ones from Euramax, offer energy saving benefits due to the 44mm thick insulating core, which prevents valuable heat from escaping. In addition, Euramax’s doors are A-rated for their energy efficiency by The British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC), ensuring that your home retains as much heat as possible.
Although insulation and composite materials are an effective way to achieving an energy efficient home, it becomes irrelevant if the glazing used for your windows and doors has not been maintained. This is why it’s important to evaluate the condition of your windows and doors.
If you can feel cool air around your window or notice condensation in between the panes, this indicates that the seal around the glass has worn. This not only means that heat is seeping through the pane, but leads to higher energy bills.
To maintain a sustainable home, it’s crucial that any improvements and changes you make save energy in the long run. For example, quality double glazing should last for around 20 years, and LED lightbulbs can last up to 25,000 hours. Making these investments can put you on the path to a sustainable road.
Aspiring to an environmentally friendly home may seem like a daunting task at first. However, by installing insulation, considering material choices and maintaining what’s in place, means that you can achieve a more energy efficient, sustainable home. By making these simple changes, you can still be sustainable without having to live among the trees.