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Make your property eco-friendly

Below are a number of tips as to how you can help make your property eco-friendlier.  They apply to any property, whether it is let, owner-occupied or anything in between.

These are very practical minor tips that you can do something about without needing a budget the size of NASA’s in order to install things such as solar panels and heat exchangers.  They may be small but they’re also effective and every little bit helps both to keep your bills down and to save the planet.

Fix doors and windows

A huge amount of heating energy is wasted thanks to draughts originating in unevenly fitted doors or windows etc.

A few minutes DIY with a plane, some wood filler and draught excluder, can fix most of those at a cost of a pound or two.

Insulate your loft

Most modern property should already have such insulation but if yours is an older one without it, do something.  This is not a vast building job in most cases and it’s going to save you huge amounts of otherwise wasted energy for not a particularly large outlay – and for some types of insulation, you may be able to obtain government grant assistance.

Re-use your slightly soiled water

Much of the water we pour down the sink is, by many definitions, perfectly clean.  Examples include after we have rinsed our hands, washed some fruit or vegetables or perhaps done some light washing up.

This water can be trapped (through a bit of minor plumbing under sinks) and reused for things such as watering the plants.  In Japan, many handbasins and sinks have outflows that feed into WC cisterns where it is re-used for flushing – which seems an excellent idea with another bit of relatively minor plumbing.

Install appliance timer switches and use off-peak electricity rates

There is nothing new about this idea – it has been around for decades but there are still many properties that are not taking advantage of it.

True, this is more about personal economy in your pocket than overall energy consumption reductions but it is still worth considering in terms of helping to reduce overall demand at peak times.

Make more use of indoor and outdoor plants

Plants typically take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and turn it into oxygen.  That’s great news for the environment.

So, if you have an unimaginative grass-only patch of garden, put some plants into it and do likewise inside your property.

Clean your electrical appliances

If an appliance is dirty or dusty anywhere around its electrical or moving parts, then it is probably running inefficiently and burning more electricity than necessary.

Top appliances to clean with a brush or vacuum cleaner:

  • your refrigerator’s coils;
  • the dust filter on your dryer;
  • the air intake on your PC and other high-tech devices.

Turn down the domestic water temperature on your boiler

It’s amazing how many people heat their domestic water supply until it comes out of the taps far too hot to even touch. To solve the problem, they then add cold water to it to cool it back down again for practical use.

This is clearly madness and an appalling waste of both electricity and money.  So, turn your temperature down to a level that is sufficiently hot for domestic purposes and one where you can wash your hands in a hot stream alone or likewise use it exclusively in your shower without needing to run cold water at the same time.

Plan the distribution of your mirrors

If you find you are having to put on electrical lighting even during daytime in order to illuminate dark room corners, try and achieve the same effect without burning electricity by positioning mirrors near doors and windows, aiming to reflect light falling on them into the further reaches of your room.

These ideas and others like them will mean you are paying your part in helping protect the environment.

Visit the Energy Saving Trust and British Gas for more eco-friendly money saving tips.

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