How to Make Your Home Greener – And Save Money!

According to a 2019 study reported in Forbes, 77% of people want to learn how to live more sustainably, and numerous reports have shown that the coronavirus pandemic is making people more focused on creating a better, healthier world. There has also been a significant increase in demand for eco-friendly homes. 

Investing in green home improvements will not only ease your conscience it can also cut hundreds or even thousands of pounds off your annual energy bills. With soaring energy bills and calls for MPs to take action that will curb the spiralling cost of living, few of us can afford to ignore the opportunity to make our homes more energy-efficient. What’s more, boosting your home’s eco-rating could bump up its value when the time comes to sell.

So how can you make your home greener and save money?

Loft Insulation

This stops heat from escaping through the roof — over a quarter of heat from your home is lost this way — and can shave over £100 off your annual heating bill. It has the added benefit of reducing the impact of external noise on your home life

There are several types of loft insulation to choose from; the most common type for accessible lofts is mineral wool insulation. Rolls of material are used to cover the floor of your loft, minimising the amount of heat that can escape. 

This is one of the most cost-effective ways to make your home greener and save money. Rolls can cost as little as £20. The total cost will depend on the type of material used and the size of your loft. 

Cavity and Solid Wall Insulation

According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), approximately one-third of heat lost from a home is released via the walls. Cavity walls typically lose less heat than solid walls and are easier to insulate. Cavity wall insulation involves filling air space with insulating material to prevent heat from escaping. Solid wall insulation achieves the same goal by adding a layer of thermal material to the existing wall.

Not sure which type of wall your house has? If they are more than 260mm thick, they’re most likely a cavity wall. The cost of wall insulation will depend on the type you need and the size of your property. Cavity wall insulation costs around £200 per two-storey wall, so a terraced house could cost as little as £400. A detached property will be more expensive because it has more exterior walls. According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), solid wall insulation for a standard semi-detached home costs around £7,400 for internal walls and £13,000 for external walls. Efficient wall insulation can shave hundreds of pounds off your annual heating bill — over £400 for a typical detached house.

Under-Floor Insulation

Insulating the ground floor of your property will cost between £500 and £1,000. Adding an insulating layer beneath the floorboards will make your home more energy-efficient and save you around £50 per year. It can also make your home more comfortable to live in by eliminating unpleasant draughts. 

Floor insulation is usually installed when a new floor is fitted, but it can be added later. The method will depend on what material your floor is made from and how it has been constructed. 

If you are confident with DIY, this could be a project you can complete independently, saving you even more money. 

An Eco-Friendly Boiler

Traditional boilers typically release carbon monoxide and other waste gases. These are not only bad for the environment but can also be harmful to your health. 

Installing an eco biomass boiler powered by renewable organic materials, such as wood) or an eco condensing boiler powered by gas or oil is one of the most effective ways to boost the energy of your home. 

This is not a budget option, and the cost of purchasing a green boiler and having it installed will run into thousands. However, in the long run, it will reduce your energy bills (as well as your carbon footprint) significantly. It will also be a major plus point to any eco-conscious buyers who view your property should you decide to sell. In today’s competitive property market, any way you can add value and make your home stand out will help if selling your house quickly becomes a priority.  

Solar Panels

If you have the space, solar panels or “photovoltaic” systems are a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can also make money from any surplus energy your panels produce by selling this energy back to the national grid via the Smart Export Guarantee scheme.

While there are no grants to cover the upfront costs of installing solar panels, the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RH) allows eligible homeowners to claim quarterly cash payments for up to seven years. These payments can contribute significantly to your setup costs, even if retrospectively. And according to the EST, solar panels typically cut your electricity bill by 15 – 25%. 

And the good news is that the government offers various grants and financial support for carrying out eco-friendly home improvement projects. You might not be able to get all your costs covered, but schemes such as the Green Homes Grant provides eligible homeowners with vouchers worth up to £5,000 towards improvements such as draught-proofing windows and installing better insulation. 

So, investing in home improvements to make your property greener can reduce your carbon footprint — the impact you have on the environment — and significantly reduce your energy bills. What’s more, if you decide to move, green features can add to your property’s value and make it easier to sell.

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