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7 Ways To Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly 

Going green and making your home a more eco-friendly place can benefit not only the environment, but can also save you money by improving energy efficiency and, therefore, bringing down your bills. While there is a whole host of information available, we've decided to put together 7 of the simplest ways you can make a big impact on your home's energy efficiency and transform your living space into a more sustainable, green place. 

1. Insulate Your Loft 

While most houses will have loft insulation as a standard, there are still many older homes which don't utilise this incredibly easy yet highly effective way of retaining heat. Any reputable DIY store will have insulation you can pick up cheaply and it's easy to install.  
To make this change even more eco-friendly, try hunting for insulation made from natural or recycled materials. 

2. Install double-glazed windows 

Again, while most modern houses will have double-glazing already installed, there is still a surprising number of properties that don't yet take advantage of this easy energy efficiency improvement and could benefit from its improved heat retention. A lot of air is lost through windows, but properly sealed double-glazing should help improve this in your home. 
Looking out of a white window with plants on the window sill

3. Buy second-hand furniture 

Second-hand doesn't always mean tacky, unsalvagaeble rubbish. There are many gems to be found on the likes of eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Preloved, etc. Even if the furniture does have a few scuffs or scratches they normally can be cheaply fixed up to look good as new (assuming the damage isn't too excessive).  
Not only is buying second-hand furniture cheaper than buying new (there are some real bargains to be had!), you're also recycling, helping both your wallet and the environment. It can also turn out to be some of the most characterful furniture in your home. 
Sofa and coffee table

4. Install smart plugs and thermostat 

We've all heard that devices left on standby use electricity, slowly adding to our bills while we're not even using them. While many devices have improved to use less over the past few years, switching them off entirely is still the best option.  
Many of us either forget or don't have time to switch everything off at the plug in the mornings before heading out to work or at night before heading to bed. Thankfully, there is a simple solution: smart plugs. While they do require some initial investment (ones available on sit at £15-£30 each at the time of writing), as with any money-saving investment; the savings will appear over time with lower electricity bills. 
Another technology becoming more and more prominent in today's homes is smart thermostats. Nest is currently one of the leading innovators in this field, with their Nest Thermostat being one of the most popular smart thermostat choices, having 'saved over 8 billion kWh of energy in millions of homes worldwide'.  
Smart thermostats essentially 'learn' your routine and adjusts the temperature accordingly. It even knows when you leave the house, automatically switching itself off to help save on your heating bills, and is fully controllable from your smartphone. 
Nest follow the leaf advert

5. Invest in solar panels 

The cost of solar power has plummeted over the past few years due to the demand and efficiency of solar panels growing exponentially. Unfortunately, you do need a south-facing roof on your home in order to maximise the amount of sunlight the panels can utilise, but if you do have a one, solar panels could be a fantastic addition to your home. You can also take advantage of the 'feed-in tariff'; this is where the government pay for any electricity you produce whether you use it or not. 
If your happened to be looking to replace your roof at some point soon, Tesla's Solar Roofs have recently been made available in the UK. Made from Tesla Solar Glass which houses the solar panels inside the tile and available in 4 different styles, these tiles are stronger than traditional roof tiles and come with an 'infinity' warranty. 
Read this article by Money Saving Expert for more information on solar panels. 
Solar panels

6. Install a daylighting system 

Daylighting systems such as the Solatube 160 DS and 290 DS can help save you money by eliminating the need to switch on lights during the day (and you get the benefit of beautiful natural light over artificial light). Solatube daylighting systems also offer greater insulation efficiency than traditional skylights (as visualised in the graphic below), with the double-glazed ceiling diffuser further retaining heated (or cooled) air in the room. Some daylighting systems from other brands are double-glazed at the roof level, allowing your precious heated (or cooled) air to be lost through the tubing as it passes through the roof void. For even greater efficiency, see the Solatube Energy Care Optima upgrade, which won the 2016 Build It Award for Innovation In Insulation – it features multiple additions to the standard system and is designed to improve insulation to Passive House levels. 
Even at night, our daylighting systems can provide night lighting via the innovative solar-powered night light. These clever gadgets are installed inside the highly reflective tubing and power up the rechargeable batteries during the daytime, switching on LED night lighting to illuminate your home after dark. 
Daylight system vs skylight thermal efficiency

7. Replace your shower head with a water-saving one 

While many of us prefer the convenience of showering instead of bathing, it can, in fact, end up using the same amount (or sometimes more) water than a bath if you spend long enough in it. To combat this, a high-quality water-saving shower head can work wonders when it comes to cutting down the amount of water used. To cut down the length of time you spend in the shower, consider picking up a waterproof timer and challenge yourself to soak, wash and rinse in 5 minutes, your wallet and the planet will love you for it. 
Shower head spraying water
30 October 2017 
Transforming your home with daylight 
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