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Making your home sustainable: Eco-friendly solutions for greener living
by
Checkatrade

In this sustainable living project guide, we’re going to discuss what it means to be sustainable, how making your home eco-friendly benefits you, and what steps you can take to reduce your environmental impact.

The greener revolution

Green home improvement grantsGlobal warming is a subject that dominates our news feeds. The need to limit our impact on the planet is the reason eco-friendly alternatives are becoming increasingly popular. Thankfully, there are several benefits that transforming your home into an environmentally conscious haven has to offer.

Benefits of a green home

  • Your health improves, especially with conditions like asthma, eczema and headaches, which are linked to household toxins, damp and excessive moisture
  • Improved energy efficiency that keeps your house warm and insulated all year round, reducing sick days due to cold weather or household toxins
  • Cheaper household running costs with energy-efficient appliances and greener insulation options
  • Increased house value due to most buyers being happy to pay more for a sustainable home
  • Lower impact on the environment

Before we discuss what sustainable living at home looks like, it helps to define sustainability as a concept.

Definition of sustainability

Sustainability is about longevity. It seeks to maintain resources to avoid the depletion of natural materials that disrupt the world’s ecological balance. A sustainable ethos covers profit, people and the planet (aka: the economy, society and environment).

By embodying a sustainable way of living, you accept the world has finite resources that we can’t replace once they’re gone. In order to carry on living our lives as we know it, we need to change our habits and find greener, more sustainable alternatives. In short, we need to become conscious consumers.

Sustainable living ideas

white living room ideasSustainable living is a lifestyle choice, with those who choose to live this way attempting to reduce or limit their impact on the world around them. Environmental sustainability includes an eco-friendly ethos that’s also known as ‘earth harmony living’ or ‘net zero living.’

Practitioners will make conscious choices, such as:

  • Stopping or limiting their use of plastic
  • Reducing their energy consumption
  • Sourcing local produce
  • Growing their own food
  • Reducing their food waste
  • Only using sustainable materials
  • Conserving water
  • Cycling where possible

Not every person who lives sustainably will do every single one of these things. Sometimes, we can’t do everything, but we pick something and do it well. Choosing one or two greener alternatives is enough to make a difference.

Making a sustainable living haven

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re interested in finding out how to make your home as environmentally sustainable as possible. In the following section, we’re going to focus on what you can do to limit your impact and benefit both your quality of life and the planet.

Insulate your lofts, walls and ceilings

Sustainable living eco insulationCellulose is made up of around 85% recycled newspaper, making it the top environmentally friendly insulation alternative, whilst other green options include cotton or sheep’s wool. Consider installing one of these eco-friendly options to save on energy bills and remain environmentally conscious.

Check out our loft insulation cost guide for more information on the average price of loft insulation installation.

Install underfloor heating

In terms of air quality, underfloor heating is cleaner than radiators. This is because they don’t circulate moisture, thereby reducing the potential for damp or mould to form. Think about installing underfloor heating to limit your impact and improve your health.

Use our underfloor heating cost guide to understand the typical costs involved in installing underfloor heating.

Install double or triple glazing

Double or triple glazing is an easy way to insulate your home and limit noise pollution, improve air quality, and retain heat. That said, it can get a little pricey. If you’re strapped for cash, a cheaper alternative is to hang thermal backed curtains.

Our curtain fitting cost guide has all you need to know the price of hanging curtains.

Check efficiency ratings

Save EnergyIs everything in your home as efficient as it can be? This can include what lightbulbs you’re using, what energy efficiency rating your appliances boast, if you have solar panels, and whether you’re with a green energy provider.

These small changes can have a large impact, so take a look around your house and see if there are any quick wins you’ve missed.

Recycle and upcycle

Wherever you can, choose recyclable products – be it food, fashion or furniture. Do your research and get in the habit of checking labels on everything you buy. Better yet, invest early on to avoid premature replacements.

If you’re going to throw old furniture away, consider repurposing or upcycling it. For example, old cabinet shelves make great garage storage units, while upcycling an aged chest of drawers is as simple as adding some new feet, knobs and a lick of paint.

Pick local, non-toxic building and cleaning materials

Mindful building and buying is key when it comes to sustainability. You want your purchases to last as long as possible, so make sure you choose the right eco-friendly materials or products from the start. Buying local also cuts down on transport costs (i.e. your carbon footprint).

This includes cleaning products such as dishwasher tablets, laundry detergents, face washes and shampoos. Check for official green seals of approval (Defra has the full shoppers guide here) and avoid using anything that contains harmful or harsh chemicals. Your skin and the environment will thank you.

Eco-friendly building materials

Sustainable livingSome eco-friendly building materials for sustainable development include:

  • Bamboo – a structurally sound and naturally sustainable wood that grows quickly
  • Precast concrete, which is more eco-friendly than concrete that’s mixed and poured on-site
  • Reclaimed or recycled wood
  • Sheep’s wool for clothing, bedding or home insulation
  • Recycled steel, which saves on energy costs and is readability available
  • Straw bales as an alternative insulation solution due to their minimal environmental impact and high-efficiency ratings

Use and cherish natural resources

Despite the fact they’re rarely seen together, the sun and rain are best friends (which explains the rainbows). They’re both renewable energy sources and they’re both useful when it comes to building your sustainable living dream house. Utilise these two elements by heating your house through solar panels and collecting rainwater in specially designed tanks.

Plant bee-friendly flora

Green fingers don’t just benefit your mental health, they benefit the environment, local wildlife and our dwindling bee population. Think about turning a patch of your garden into a haven for bees or other endangered wildlife. Even if you’re a city-dweller, a window box brimming with wildflowers will give our busy friends a fighting chance. And if you can, hang a bird feeder or two for an extra nod to nature.

Green home improvement grants

Sustainable livingWith the government introducing a £2 billion Green Homes Grant for England, eligible homeowners can apply for funding to upgrade their homes, cut their emissions and reap the benefits of an eco-friendly environment at the same time.

To learn more about this grant and whether you’re eligible, click here.

Summary of sustainable living

  • Sustainable living is an easy way to join the fight against climate change
  • Eco-friendly designs are stylish and beneficial
  • Making sustainable changes to, in and around your home reduces your environmental impact and improves your health
  • The government will offer funding grants to eligible homeowners looking to improve their property’s energy efficiency
  • Buying local where possible and researching any materials or products you want buy before purchasing them keeps you mindful and informed

If you’re thinking environmental sustainability sounds good right now and you want to embrace a sustainable lifestyle, then you might need to call in a professional to help you with some upgrades. Our expert tradespeople are on hand to make your dreams a reality, so get in touch today to see what they can do for you.

In the meantime, check out our green home ideas for some beautiful and eco-friendly decor inspiration.

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