2019 has already been an instrumental year in trying to combat Climate Change and protect our environment across the planet.
With the growing awareness for issues associated with climate change and the damaging effects we are having on the environment, the UK has witnessed significant rising public consciousness to Climate Change and how the government needs to be more proactive in the face of these issues.
This increase in public consciousness from 2018 into 2019 culminated in a series of popular and successful protests and campaigns across the country placing pressure on the UK parliament to pass a bill that declared a Climate emergency and forced the government to formulate a conclusive plan for the UK’s efforts in combatting Climate Change.
Although there is no definitive definition of what a climate emergency is and what needs to be done, several councils across the country have stated different targets with some wanting to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Instead of matching similar proposals the government declared a more realistic target of reducing carbon emission by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
So how can you play your part? Well, there are many ways, but you can simply start at home and make your home or flat as eco-friendly and energy efficient as possible.
The aim of this piece is to give you some ideas about how you can do this and the effect this may have on the value of your property.
How popular are eco-friendly homes?
Sustainable or low-impact homes have been progressively making their way into the UK property market, with increased popularity in buyers looking for eco-friendly homes.
With the growth in consciousness for environmental issues, especially with Millennials, people are becoming more aware of their personal impact on the environment and are subsequently looking for ways to decrease their impact at home.
With more and more millennials making their way onto the property market, the increase in popularity for eco-friendly/ sustainable homes will only continue to rise in years to come.
What are the benefits and motivations behind the increased popularity?
One of the main reasons that have already been mentioned is the increased awareness and consciousnesses of climate issues and those wanting to live in a more sustainable home. While this is the main motivation, there are clear financial benefits that cement their popularity.
In general terms buying an eco-friendly home is more expensive than your regular home at the point of sale, but the financial benefits level out the initial cost as you continue to live in the property. Listed below are some examples of this:
- Designed to more energy efficient, sustainable homes often lower the operating costs of the property and end up reducing monthly bills in the region of 20-30%
- Eco-friendly homes are designed to use materials which are incredibly durable, which not only means they keep their new look for longer but more importantly increases the ‘lifespan’ of the property. Not only reducing maintenance costs in the future, this can also add considerable value to the property.
- Moving away from the financial benefits, several studies have also proved that sustainable/ eco-friendly homes can have considerable benefits for well being and mental health.
Listed above are only some of the reasons why sustainable homes are becoming increasingly popular. The financial benefits of transforming a regular property into a sustainable one is a factor you should take into account when formulating your house viewing checklist for your next move.
How can you transform your home to promote sustainable living?
The single most effective way to make your home as sustainable as possible is to increase your home’s energy efficiency and decrease its output.
This final section is going to give you some ideas on how to make your home as sustainable as possible.
Insulate where you can
A simple way to reduce your costs in heating your home is to insulate wherever you can. Through keeping in the heat during the winter months, an effective insulated home will decrease your dependency on your boiler to heat your house. Insulation is incredibly effective in the loft, cavity walls, and a simple way is the reduce the draft coming into your house from your chimney, doors and windows.
A popular and effective method which has been common practice in Continental Europe is to make your home an ‘airtight’ home. This term does not mean a completely airtight building, as that would be a health risk, but limiting the amount of air escaping or arriving into your home will reduce the amount of heat lost throughout the house.
Use recycled materials
If you are planning on decorating or renovating, use local recycled materials wherever you can. Through this you are not just limiting the carbon footprint of materials regarding the production and transportation, you are reducing the amount of new materials needed. This is especially applicable with the amount of wood used. Recycled materials are becoming increasingly popular in building practices and are often as good as using brand new materials.
Sourcing recycled materials is a factor you can have in mind when finding new furniture for your house. With more recycle furniture becoming available, it has become increasingly easier to find affordable and stylish furniture made completely from recycled materials.
The final element of this point is requesting the builder or tradesman to reduce the amount of waste they produce and recycle as much material as possible instead of sending it to the landfill. This is a clever and simple method of exercising consumer power and rewarding those who do.
It has become incredibly easy and accessible to install renewable energy sources around your home and garden. The most common and obvious method is rooftop solar panels.
If your house receives sunlight throughout the whole day, solar panels can provide enough power to power most of or all your needs. With the average house consuming at least a kilowatt of power, a few square feet is all that is needed to power a large proportion of your home.
Images Via HouseBeautiful.com – Eco-Home Featured On Channel 4’s Grand Designs – Image Credit = Fenn Wright