Our guide to going green in your property

In this blog post we discuss going green in your property. Read on for our tips and advice

Our guide to going green in your property

There is no doubt that the environmental issue has moved firmly away from being a cause of the trendy Left or militant campaigners, and is now one of the most important questions to be considered in the building, running and renovation of property in the UK.

With the government commitment to build three million new homes before 2020, along with the continued British obsession with property in all of its forms, the willingness of the public to adopt habits and invest in new technologies in order to help to protect the natural environment will be tested to its limits.

On top of this, there will more than likely need to be a huge amount of public pressure applied in order to ensure that the Green Belt surrounding our towns and cities and giving them air to breathe is protected. The government's building plans are already being viewed with some degree of skepticism by industry experts as overambitious in the timescales set down. The temptation will be to allow developers to sidestep preservation legislation in order to be able to meet the self-imposed targets as the deadline approaches.

It is difficult to keep up with all of the new technologies that are out there to help save energy, most of which ultimately save money as well when involving renewable energy. Some suggestions involve not only expensive solutions that will take a significant amount of time to pay for themselves, but they also need careful planning and can cause extensive renovation work. In many cases, it is better leaving these projects until a time when the renovation work will all be carried out as part of a bigger project, but you can still do your bit to help the environment in the meantime.

Below are a series of actions that you can take around the home today, each of which will help to protect the future of the planet in a small way, and hopefully save you money at the same time.

Heating

This is one of the most talked-about changes that you can make in the home, but still people forget or refuse to take part. Turning your thermostat down by one degree, or by switching your heating timer off 15 minutes earlier, will save significant amounts of energy and money. It is estimated that this simple action will save households around £40 per year.

Further savings can be made by making sure your water heater is not turned up too high, closing curtains at dusk to keep heat inside the home, and insulating loft spaces, gaps around doors and other place where heat escapes easily.

There is even a way of attaching aluminium foil to the walls behind your radiators to reflect heat back into the room where it is needed. Estimates suggest that this can save around £10 per radiator per year.

Recycling

Most people now make at least some effort to recycle newspapers, magazines, bottles and cans, but there is still a huge amount that can be re-used. The media has recently been awash with stories about the obsession that this country has with plastic carrier bags, and our seeming reluctance to re-use the ones that clutter up almost every home in the UK.

The small town of Modbury in Devon last year became the first place in Europe to ban the use of plastic bags in its shops, and the experiment has proved to be a huge success, not only with customers but also with business owners and retailers. So successful has the experiment been that a host of towns and cities across Europe have been in touch with the authorities in Modbury to find out how they can follow suit.

But recycling goes further than just the obvious small consumables that we come across everyday. Using recovered or restored furniture, or even more satisfyingly, restoring pieces yourself, is a great way to avoid the production of new pieces. They also have the advantage of character and presence that is lacking in pristine pieces that can be found anywhere else. Salvage yards, flea markets, boot fairs and upholsterers could become your new haunts, which must surely be more fun than spending a Saturday afternoon in Ikea, MFI or B&Q.

At the same time, try not to throw away things for which that you no longer have a use. Instead, think of who might be able to use it - a relative about to buy their first home or someone buying a holiday home, for example. Alternatively, there are charities who will take your old, unwanted furniture and put it to use. Some of these charities will even come and collect the pieces from you.

Also...

There are always other things that can be done to help the environment, from leaving the car at home to go to the station, the pub or to see friends, to buying energy-saving lightbulbs for your whole house.

For example, should you prefer to buy brand new furniture for your home, try to buy products that have been made from wood from sustainable sources. Consider the impact of the cleaning products that you buy, as some of the chemicals present in the most popular brands are full of harmful acids and bleaches.

For many of the home improvements that you might wish to undertake, from insulation to renewable energy sources, there are grants available to help with the costs. Visit the Energy Saving Trust for details of what is available in your area.

With thanks to BuyAssociation.