There aren’t many people out there who wouldn’t like to do a little more at home for the environment. Recycling and re-useable bags are definitely a front foot forward, but what if you want to go that little bit further?
Sure there is some government information about green building projects and tens of companies offering ‘green building services’, however unfortunately there is still an air of confusion surrounding environmentally friendly building.
Most elements of your home can be remodelled or made more energy efficient; however this often comes at a cost. This article aims to highlight affordable DIY green projects which will lower your carbon footprint whilst not breaking the bank at the same time.
Install an energy efficient front door
Some reports suggest as much as 15% of your home’s heat is lost through inefficient front doors. This means you could effectively save 15% on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint through installing a more efficient one. Door energy ratings are measured in U-values in the UK (the measurement of heat transfer through a given building material, glass, etc) the lower the U-value the better. (Source: http://www.darlington.gov.uk)
In Australia, look for the WERS (window energy rating scheme) label if your door has glass in it, which has a star rating for protection against cold, and a separate one for protection against heat.
Insulate hot water pipes
Without insulation the pipes carrying hot water throughout your home are effectively radiating heat. This means that due to heat loss, water which would otherwise be hot enough to wash with or fill a pot needs to be reheated; using unnecessary amounts of energy.
Pipe insulation comes in either rubber or foam tubing with slits down the centre making it easy to apply to pretty much any pipe you can see. Tests suggest that cooling rates are 3 times longer for insulated ¾ inch pipes than those with no insulation.
Install faucet aerators
Faucet aerators sound high-tech but basically all they are is thin mesh covers which are placed inside your faucets. The mesh results in more resistance which means that less water can pass through the same space, meaning your home wastes less water. A typical faucet without an aerator can allow as much as 18 litres a minute to flow; with an aerator installed this is reduced to around 3.5.
Wasting less water is important for itself, but unless you have solar hot water, saving hot water will also reduce your carbon footprint.
Insulate your roof
Out of this list, this is the update which will undoubtedly have the biggest impact on your energy bill. If your roof or attic isn’t insulated then unfortunately you have been effectively throwing money out of the window.
The energy efficiency of insulation in measured in R values; the higher the better. A layer of 80mm glasswool in your attic provides 1.5R’s in Australian terms. According to sustainability.vic.gov.au 3.0R’s of loft insulation in Melbourne translates to a 12% saving on energy bills annually!
The installation process is relatively straight forward if you aren’t using your attic for anything other than storage. If you have already converted your attic space the process is a little more complicated.
Install a programmable thermostat
If you haven’t got a programmable 7 day thermostat then go find one, if you have one but don’t use it to its full potential you are wasting a lot of money. Having a programmable 7 day thermostat allows you to customise when your heating/cooling comes on in line with yours or your family’s schedule.
If everyone is out until 7pm on Tuesdays there isn’t much need in heating the house for lunch! Keep in mind that for every 1 degree above 70 degrees F can increase heating costs by 1-3% and each degree below 78F can increase cooling costs by 1-3%. (Source: https://energyaudit-sdge.sempra.com/library/thermcon.asp)
Finally, take a look at the Victorian Government’s Smarter Renovations Planner (see image above). It’s specifically designed for Victorian climates, and if you live in Victoria you can select a location. But even if you don’t, it has some interesting information. Worth checking out, if you are trying to decide the most effective ways to spend your money.
This post was shared at IBOT. Do you blog on Tuesdays?