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7 Ways to have a more eco-friendly and energy-efficient home, room by room

One of the best ways of adding value to a home and saving yourself money at the same time is to make it more energy-efficient and eco-friendly. There are multiple things (both alarmingly major and pleasingly minor) that can be done in each room to help the entire structure retain more heat and let less of it escape. The techniques you choose will be dictated by the amount that you feel actually needs to be modified in each room – for instance, a small room can probably be comfortably heated by a radiator.

Here is one way for each of the seven areas of the home, from the top down, to become more eco-friendly. They range in scope and difficulty to pull off, but it’s not an exhaustive list – there are hundreds more to discover and implement as you see fit.

Roof

House roof with solar panel

Source

More and more houses are incorporating solar panel technology as a means of reducing their reliance on fossil fuels. Even on cloudy days, significant levels of power can be generated by the solar panels depending on their size and placement. Installing contractors, such as San Diego-based OneRoof Energy, are easily found these days and the most successful operate across the country. Those who live in areas with high levels of wind may also be able to install a small wind turbine to harness the wind power and turn it into electricity in the same way that wind farms do.

Loft

With heat waves travelling up via convection, it makes sense that the majority of heat generated within a home would be lost through the loft, as the home’s highest point. This means that the loft has to be properly insulated in order to minimise or completely eradicate the chances of any heat escaping through it. Insulation materials such as fiberglass rolls are not expensive and do not have to be installed by a professional – all you need to do is insulate to the recommended thickness of 270mm. Owen’s Corning and Johns Manville are two of the most reliable and affordable suppliers out there, and both can point you in the direction of installation professionals if required.

Living room

Living room

There are a number of ways you can make your living room more eco-friendly – an increasingly popular option is the installation of underfloor heating from a company like STEP Warmfloor. A system like this has been proven to be a more effective method of heating a large room than a radiator, because the heat is evenly distributed rather than being concentrated in one spot. With different systems available, you can even install underfloor heating yourself if you’re a competent DIYer.

Bedroom

Bed sheets

Source: Boll & Branch

You can make your bedroom more eco-friendly by taking more care when it comes to choosing your sheets, blankets and mattresses. Natural materials are much more desirable than manmade fibres – for instance, organic cotton sheets are better than conventional cotton sheets because the cotton hasn’t been treated with insecticides and other toxins. Online retailer Boll & Branch, recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Forbes, offers a comprehensive range of sheets, duvet covers, pillowcases and even cableknit throws, all made from organically-grown cotton.

Bathroom

Water wastage is a huge problem in most households, but it’s an easy one to rectify as far as bathrooms are concerned. One of the best ways of using less water is simply to turn the tap off while brushing your teeth or shaving – it doesn’t need to be on all the time. In addition, a lot of water is wasted (the average flush uses nine litres) when the toilet is flushed, but to get round this you can buy and install a flush reducer, which can save up to three litres of water per flush.

Kitchen

Samsung Energy Star refrigerator

Source: Samsung

While doing your best not to use more water than is necessary, the same as you would in the bathroom, you should pay attention to the appliances (washing machine, fridge, etc) you purchase for the kitchen because they’re usually rated for their energy efficiency. Energy-efficient appliances will be labelled with the Energy Star logo, which is awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to appliances such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers and air conditioners that significantly exceed the minimum government standards in energy efficiency. Manufacturers that have earned Energy Star certification include Samsung, Frigidaire, LG and Whirlpool.  

Snaidero IDEA kitchen

Furthermore, Snaidero USA offers Italian kitchens manufactured with non-toxic materials through processes with limited impact towards the environment. The wood panels use low formaldehyde emitting glues and resins, in compliance with international standards. In multi-family living quarters, Snaidero's cabinetry lines can receive LEED points towards the obtainment of certification by the US Green Building Council. Snaidero offers cabinet doors available in wood, matte and high gloss water-based lacquers, high pressure laminates and matte polymeric laminates.

Garden

Solar Assist Composter from Williams-Sonoma

Source: William-Sonoma

As far as gardens are concerned, a compost heap should be your main priority (though if you’re a keen gardener you’ll already have one). Using food scraps and grass clippings as compost adds nutrition to the soil, helping to produce healthier plants (and more fruit and vegetables if you grow them) and saving space in landfills, which is where they would end up if you threw them away.

What other techniques and products have you embraced to have a more eco-friendly and energy-efficient home?

Post by Yasmine Bachir (content writer)