Five ‘Green’ DIY Projects for the Home

Smarter Renovations Planner | SustainableSuburbia.net

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?

  16 comments for “Five ‘Green’ DIY Projects for the Home

  1. March 24, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    If only I was a bit smarter when we built this home, oh the things I would change. I do hope I get ‘the next time we build’ so I can do my bit for the environment!
    Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me recently posted..Warning: this post is about…My Profile

  2. March 24, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    I never knew that front doors had energy ratings! 15% is a lot. I wonder if there is a way to see what my current door is. Hmm, off to research.
    Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages recently posted..Books I’ve been ReadingMy Profile

  3. May 5, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Green home remodeling is a key for greener and more cleaner environment. These are all great tips and ideas on how we can do our part and help our planet. I would just add a roof painting as one more solution in order to keep my house cool with out AC.

  4. July 4, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    I’m doing all the things you’ve listed here except installing an energy efficient front door, I want to try this in my home.I agree that programmable thermostat save energy and money.I had a programmable thermostat and I can definitely say it has been worth it.

  5. August 2, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    The only thing i have done most of the things on your list except for the efficient door. I live in a tropical country so insulating the roof really makes a difference. I also installed a solar panel so that it helps with the electricity bill in a green way. I shall try to get the efficient door though. Thank you for sharing this

  6. August 10, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Insulating the roof was very helpful. The temperature of the house is in our liking. It did help in lowering electricity. Thank you for sharing this and I hope to see more great articles from your blog.

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  9. November 3, 2016 at 4:46 am

    The roof insulation was a nice tip. Implicating the installation process with this insulation product can save money, just as you shared.

  10. January 12, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Hi

    Thank you for sharing with us such a great information. I agree with you. Making the entrances of your home energy efficient – an action also known as fenestration – can be an excellent way to save money on your electricity bills.

    In addition to the fact that a properly fitted door can save you money on your monthly energy bills, most companies that sell these units will install them for free, and many manufacturers will include a factory warranty.

    Regards,
    Robert Gill
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  11. January 20, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Installation of all the above mention things really help in saving energy,which can be used in many other purposes like cleaning,washing,cooking,heating etc.I will try to use these ideas.Thank you very much for posting!

  12. August 3, 2017 at 1:46 am

    Big thanks for sharing this with us. Going green is the best thing to do right now because of climate change.
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  13. November 20, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Insulation is an acknowledged way to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels which add to the greenhouse effect. Golden Fleece insulation products are environmentally friendly.

  14. December 13, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Waterproofing Kills Mold & Mildew and Keeps Them Out of Your Basement Mold and mildew love to make themselves at home in your basement. If it is dark and has any signs of water or water damages, chances are it has mold and/or mildew. Sadly, many homeowners simply accept the mold and mildew as part of having a basement. However, the truth is that both mold and mildew are very dangerous to your health! Mold, especially black mold, can be fatal, especially to children and pets. Mold spreads and reproduces with air-borne spores. These spores get into the air in the home and will make their way upstairs into the main air circulation of the home.

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