So you want to live a greener life, but don’t want to spend a fortune, grow your own food and weave your own chickens, right?
We’ve all got to do it – as yet we don’t have anywhere else to go, so we’ve all got to think about treating our planet a bit better. We’ve got some easy ways to live greener that’ll leave your bank balance happier, even if your chakras remain steadfastly unaltered.
If you are feeling a bit flush, install underfloor heating. Wall radiators take up too much space, look naff and just aren’t that efficient. Although more common in new builds, underfloor heating is easily retrofitted, and works well in bathrooms.
Insulate your loft. You’ll spend around £300 on the average UK loft, but you’ll recoup this in two years or so. Heat rises – it’s not rocket science! While you’re at it, think about metal cladding for your roof or even your walls, as through the magic of thermal dynamics, this can cut your heating bills by a quarter. Find a local builder, too. We all know about air miles, but how about motorway miles? If your builder’s coming to save the planet, he shouldn’t be dumping loads of CO2 into the air on his way!
If you’re renovating or having building work done, make sure your builder recycles window frames, rubble and so on. Otherwise, you’re just contributing to landfill.
Solar panels are expensive, but you will save long-term. You can even sell some ‘leccy back to the grid and get paid for it!
Double-glazing is a priority if you haven’t got it already. The amount of heat lost through windows is quite unreal, and many people have their heating on high, or for more hours of the day, to compensate for this loss. If you’re getting new windows, opt for wood-framed ones rather than metal or uPVC. Wooden window frames are easier to repair, last for decades and don’t pollute the planet in the same way as metal and uPVC ones do.
If you have an old boiler, replace it, as older boilers are often very inefficient. OK, boilers aren’t cheap, but you’ll recoup the costs in a couple of years.
Change light bulbs. Replace the older bulbs with energy-efficient ones. You might think they’re dim and miserable, but they’ve improved no end and are way more efficient than the filament bulbs we’ve grown up with.
Use thick curtains in front of doors and windows. We all went minimalist and started using blinds, but these let in draughts. Thick curtains slow down heat loss from a room. The same goes for the good-old draught-excluder. You don’t have to put up with a threadbare snake anymore; there are some funkier examples on the market now.
Turn down your thermostat by one degree and you can save £60 each year! Fact. Also, think about turning down your hot water, as most people have it on too high and end up adding cold water to avoid a trip to A&E.
Water-saving shower heads are brilliant. Many people think a quick shower in the morning is helping the planet, but they don’t realise that their power-shower is just as bad, if not worse than a bath. Choose a low-flow shower or an aerated one, and try to spend no more than ten minutes under it.