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How to climate-proof your home

Worried about climate change? Estimates show that winters in the UK could soon be up to 23% wetter, while summers could be up to 24% drier. That means we could face severe flooding and more properties overheating from as early as 2050.

If you’re wondering how to protect your home from climate change, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to your home to make it prepared for climate change. Here’s the lowdown.

How to create a climate change-resistant house

Creating a climate change-proof house is all about making changes to your home that will help it to withstand the increased risks that come with climate change – primarily, flooding and overheating.

There are lots of steps you can take, both large and small. Some are more expensive than others, but if you’re on a tight budget, there’s still no shortage of things you can do.

So, without further ado, here’s how to adapt buildings to climate change.

Add external shutters

Installing external shutters is a great way to keep your home cool in hot weather. Plus, they can add tons of character to your house at the same time. The average external window shutter installation cost is £260 per m².

If your budget doesn’t stretch quite that far, another solution could be to add curtains or reflective blinds to your windows. That way, you can use them to keep the sun’s heat out of your home during the sunniest parts of the day.

Paint brickwork white

Want to know another way of keeping heat out of your home? Paint outside walls white. That way, your building will reflect rather than absorb the sun’s heat.

The average painter decorator day rate is around £220 – £400, but you’ll also have to factor in the cost of materials and scaffolding hire. In total, you can expect to pay between £1,000 and £3,000 to paint the exterior of your house.

Plant trees to create shade

Trees are great for climate change as they absorb carbon dioxide from the air. But they’re also handy at keeping homes cool, as they create extra shade that can help to shield your home from the sun.

The average tree planting cost? Around £200 to £300 to supply and plant a small tree, or £220 to £950 for a large one.

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Insulate your loft to keep heat out

We all know that insulating your loft is a great way to save money on your energy bills by keeping the heat in your home during winter. But did you know it’s also handy for keeping heat out during summer?

That’s right, insulating your loft could help protect your home from overheating on the hottest of days. The average cost to insulate a loft with basic quilt insulation is around £500. The cost will vary depending on the type of insulation you use and the size of your loft.

Keep windows small on the south side of your home

We’re so used to installing massive windows to let the sun in. But as climate change progresses, you’ll probably be best off keeping windows smaller on the south side of your home. This is to keep rooms cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

We get it; replacing your lovely large windows with smaller ones might not sound too appealing. If you’re considering installing bifold or regular patio doors, a non-sunny wall would be best, so you don’t have to cover them up in the summer months. The cost to install bifold doors starts at £900.

Install ceiling fans

It might sound simple, but have you thought of installing a ceiling fan? It’s a relatively easy and cost-effective way to cool your home down. The total cost of installing a ceiling fan is around £275.

Of course, air con could be another handy addition, although it’s more expensive. The average air conditioner installation cost for a double bedroom comes to between £2,250 and £3,000. Air con also uses a lot of energy, which is not good for your bills, or for the environment.

Get a green roof

Not only do green roofs look really cool, but they can also help reduce heat penetration to prevent your home from overheating. Plus, they absorb more runoff water to alleviate the risk of flooding.

As if that wasn’t enough, green roofs also provide a brilliant habitat for biodiversity and even absorb pollutants. The average green roof cost per m² is between £75 and £130, depending on what type you go for.

Climate change proof house

Install flood-resistant windows and doors

If the worst happens and your home floods, you want to make it as easy as possible to recover. By switching your doors, window frames and sills to a waterproof alternative – or treating them with a preservative to keep water out – they’ll be able to get wet and then dry out with minimal damage.

One easy and cost-effective option is to install uPVC windows and doors. The average cost of a uPVC front door replacement is £450, while you can expect to pay around £400 per uPVC window replacement. Our guide on the cost to prevent flood damage has more information.

Opt for tile or concrete floors for lower levels

Similarly, replacing wood flooring with concrete on your home’s lower level will help increase your house’s resilience to flooding. True, the cost of polished concrete flooring doesn’t come cheap, with prices starting at £1,950. But studies show it could help reduce insurance claims by up to 80%, so it could be a worthwhile investment – especially if you live in an area prone to flooding.

Alternatively, if concrete is out of your price range, you could consider tiling your ground floor. The cost of tiling a floor is around £100 per m², making it a cost-effective solution that could still have a big impact.

Use permeable materials outdoors

Want a way to reduce the risk of flooding altogether? Why not use permeable materials outdoors?

Lawns are naturally great at absorbing water and allowing it to drain away. Plus, they’re cost-effective. The average cost of real grass is around £10 to £30 per m².

Alternatively, if you need a driveway, gravel is a brilliant option. It allows water to soak through it and drain away, unlike paving. Luckily, gravel is one of the cheapest options at just £40 per m² on average.

Climate change resistant house

Move appliances and sockets higher up

If your home does flood, the last thing you want is to fork out money to replace all your electrical goods. So, why not keep appliances like washing machines and boilers out of harm’s way by moving them to the first floor of your home?

Moving your appliances often won’t come cheap, though. The average cost of moving a boiler is around £750. However, you can save money by making the move when your appliances are due to be replaced anyway.

Moving your plug sockets so that they sit above the likely flood level is also a good shout. The cost to move a plug socket is around £150.

Climate proof house infographic

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FAQs

How can we make our house climate change-proof?

Creating a climate-proof house is largely about putting measures in place to prevent your home from flooding or overheating. However, it’s also wise to carry out steps that will help your home to recover quickly if the worst happens. For instance, replacing wood flooring with concrete on lower levels will reduce damage if your home does flood.

What will climate change mean for your home?

Climate change is likely to result in wetter winters and drier summers in the UK. That means our homes will be more susceptible to overheating and flooding.

What is climate-resilient architecture?

Climate-resilient architecture refers to buildings designed to withstand serious damage inflicted by climate change – such as severe flooding or droughts. This is a term we’re likely to see more of as cities begin to think about how they can prepare to combat the effects of global warming.

What are the benefits of homes designed for climate change?

Homes designed to be climate change-proof will be safer and more comfortable to live in as they’ll be less prone to overheating. Living in a climate-proof house is also likely to save you money in the long term.

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What others think of this article:

Almas Ladha

Thanks for the information and I think it's a great way to stay ahead of the crisis ahead

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