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How to Have an Environmentally Friendly Home

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Environmentally friendly home save water

Everyone is trying to live “greener” and become more environmentally friendly. Many people don’t realise is that it’s also much cheaper.

Choose Environmentally Friendly Products for an Environmentally Friendly Home

– Use recycled paper plates, paper towels and napkins. These are available beside the normal paper products. There are even coupons available which make them the same price as similar products.
– Say no to bottled water. Filtered tap water is perfectly safe. Plastic water bottles do not decompose well and are filling up the landfills too fast. PET bottles can be recycled, but why are we making so many of them in the first place. We drink 3 litres of water a day. that’s 6 plastic bottles. Now there should be a cut off point – these bottles are completely re-usable. We should already have no need for plastic bottles as we have a stock in our home. Sadly not, we throw them away and buy another tomorrow. This is disastrous for environment and significantly increasing our carbon footprint.
– Switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products. These products do not contain toxic chemicals that they are between up in the sewers, ocean and water supply. In addition, they produce very little if any fumes so they improve the air quality inside the home.

Environment friendly cleaning

Environment friendly cleaning

Energy for an Environmentally Friendly Home

– Install a programmable thermostat. This one is a no brainer and can possibly save the most money. Remember less energy waste equals more household savings. It also means less use of renewable energy we create, and therefore less reliance on fossil fuels.
– Insulate the home better – cavity wall insulation and loft insulation can make significant differences to your heating bill, and subsequently, the amount of energy used in the home.
Weather strip and caulk all doors and windows. To determine if this needs to be done, hold a lighter near the cracks of windows and doors. If the flame flickers, there is a draft that needs to be sealed. You’ll see the flame drawn and pushed away from the window quite easily.

 

Washing Clothes in an Environmentally Friendly Home

– Skip the dryer. Instead get a clothes line, or simply hang the items up on hangers in the closet to dry. If the closet door remains open most clothes will dry fine by themselves. If there’s plenty of sunlight and wind, your clothes will be fresher for it as well.
– Always wait until there is a full load of laundry before running the washing machine. The same goes for the dishwasher too. Setting off half a load is extremely wasteful, not the detergent, I am sure you put less in, but the same electrical energy is used. We can’t afford to waste our solar power.

Drying clothes outdoors

Drying clothes outdoors

Outdoor Ideas for an Environmentally Friendly Home

– Don’t throw away hazardous waste. Not only does this apply to paint, paint thinner, automobile oil, and chemicals.
– Use a manual lawn mower. These require no gas, make no noise and allow users to get a little exercise while using them. This is a win-win for both the home owner and the environment.

Save Water to Have an Environmentally Friendly Home

– Install a low-flow toilet. Low flow toilets save tons of money and water. If a new toilet isn’t in the budget, place a clean brick in the tank of the toilet will achieve the same benefit.
– Stop leaks. Check all of the faucets, inside and out, and make sure that there are no drips or leaks. Water is precious, don’t waste it.
– Trying to have a more environmentally friendly home is not only good for the environment it’s good for the family too.

Don’t replace, sash window repair is the new eco hack

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sash window repair

Don’t replace, sash window repair is the new eco hack

Whatever you do, don’t replace your sash windows, there’s a dozens more alternatives out there before replacing your original joinery and we will take a look at them together. It’s possible you have some rot, and your sill or sash need a splice, many companies will tell you they need entirely replacing, in fact some unscrupulous companies hide behind the ethos of repair, to validate the fact they condemn all windows and offer a hard sell. Just take an example poor customer who was duped into having all her sash windows removed for an inferior UPVC, when all she really needed was a good bit of sash window repair.

There are dozens of articles out there about sash window repair and how to fix sash windows with broken cords, and then there are even more comprehensive sash window repair resources available here which detail exactly how to go about repairing sash windows rather than costly replacement. Sash windows can also be draught proof and there are several government incentives to go green with your sash windows. Basically depending on your London postcode theres a fair chance your windows can be repaired, draught proofed, and if lucky you might even be entitled to double glazing. This is incredibly good incentives from governments, who are being forced to aware of the perils of climate change and carbon footprints which in recent studies have proven to be of significant cause for concern.

We highly recommend you carry out sash window repair before replacing, the damage to the environment is not limited to the glass that needs to be manufactured, trees also need cutting down to make new windows and then the energy required to process the tree into a window is no small matter. Sash window repair on the other hand is sympathetic and cost effective making it the perfect eco hack.

 

Solar Lighting

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pathway-lighting

One of the most common ways to light your home at night in Asia is solar lighting. Amazingly China are leading the way in the battle against use of outdated lighting methods. They are mass producing solar lighting which are lasting for over ten years as well as costing the home absolutely nothing to run, now don’t call me a conspiracy theorist but why on Earth is a part of the planet this is so over populated coming up with brilliant ways to not necessarily save money but actually produce power that a centralised government simply is not capable of doing.

Now take a look at a developed country such as The UK or anywhere is Europe for that matter solar lighting is extremely expensive and very scarce. I’ll give you an example. This nice little light that produces ample visibility for your garden path is 1$ for one in China, now in the UK this very same item is £15 in most retail shops.

solar-lighting-projectLook I’m getting out of control here with my rants this was supposed to be about solar lighting and I am going off on a tangent. Here’s the bottom line. Solar lighting in China costs peanuts, please if you have a night light use it. They work in a simple but brilliant way. They have a small storage capacity which will allow the solar panel to absorb energy enough that the light can stay on all night whilst the next morning the power will be close to low and the charging process will begin all over again. By making sure the power charges up and down slowly everyday the battery will continue to hold power for ten years no problem at all. For the small cost of plastic the saving to the environment is massive. Just imagine if we all swapped over to this form of lighting. The savings in electric produced would be phenomenal as we ll as the jobs that are created by manufacture! Seriously guys solar power is affordable and we’ve got to start taking advantage of it.

If you think we will buy a normal light there really is no damage to the environment at all as it’s simply a case of swapping over the method in which we light our homes. Solar lighting is one way we are going to keep our homes relevant and up to date. Now you might be wondering if this truly is the future because Elon Musk has released unbelievable roofing technology for solar power however, for the average home it just is not viable yet and he is being hit by governments not willing to reduce tax on increase property value, as well as the cost of the install itself.

Sash Window Repairs London

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Sash window repairs London are one of the best eco hacks for any period property homeowners. The cost to the environment of entirely replacing sash windows with ugly UPVC , which was once considered high tech and good quality is horrendous. We are simply running out of places to throw away all this plastic. At least when a wooden window is replaced like for like it is disposable and a renewable source. So always best to carry out sash window repairs, London rather than replace if at all manageable.

It’s been said sash window repairs in London can be considerably more costly than replacement. Typically the homeowner needs to research further because plenty of sash window companies in London will repair windows for a fraction of the cost of replacement, even a fraction of nasty plastic windows. Normally sash window repairs can be carried out for less than half the cost of replacement, and in some cases not even a quarter. It’s a brilliant saving in money, and even more of a saving in carbon emissions. We must all do our bit when we can.

The latest technologies are used when carrying out sash window repairs London, a super new invention called epoxy resin is used to fill areas that have rotted away. Firstly the Sash Window Repairs London company will cut away the rot and then use the resin primer to seal in the repair. Once the resin cures it’s a simple case of sanding and priming. Once complete we are as good as new then without the damage to our environment.

Sash windows can be repaired in many ways. Sill sections can be cut out and replaced. Normally this will be with a hard or softwood at the discretion and budget of the homeowner. Hardwood is recommended for a longer lasting finish. The labour costs more than the timber and makes sense to invest in your home first time, properly.

Broken panes of glass can be replaced and putty made good. Window pulleys that are stiff or squeaky can be repaired, replaced, or lubricated. Normally lubrication is sufficient to take the edge off a squeaky pulley wheel.

Sashes that are rotten need not automatically be binned. The Sash Window Repairs London Company can make good in most cases and even offer a five year guarantee on these repairs. Normally when these repairs are done a draught proofing system will be installed because it does not increase costs and is a fantastic upgrade that drastically improves the comfort of a period home whilst reducing energy use. The primary energy is gas which is a great positive for the environment . Any time we can save energy, save money, and improve the environment we should be taking full advantage of that opportunity

Are Solar Panels Affordable?

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Solar panels and solar setups work in two distinct ways. One is on grid, the other off grid. Off grid is currently rather expensive because the cost to replace batteries is prohibitive. As technology has improved, so has the viability of an off grid system because batteries are holding more power, longer. It’s still not quite there in terms of a cost efficient mechanism to replace coal power stations. We are not that far away however.

If you have access to the grid, then you should have solar panels installed. It’s as simple as that. In most countries around the world solar panels are relatively cheap. A full 5000 Watt system should not cost anymore than £4000 and another £1000 to install. This will power most homes comfortably to the point minor top up may be required from the grid, however that’s unlikely. You are more likely to be feeding the grid.

One major requirement for solar panels is roof space. To get a 5000 Watt system on your roof would require 40m2 of free space. This is normally going to be ok for your average 3 bed home. The maintenance is absolutely minimal and mid quality cells from China are still going to last fifteen years providing an astonishing payback. By the way after fifteen years your solar panels are not useless they will have lost a fair amount of performance however, in the region of 30%. It is certainly not even close to throw away. Many homes run on 3000 Watt systems according to varying sources. There is every reason to think a solar system will last twenty five years.

The only thing stopping this revolution is the upfront cost. Government incentives will hopefully make this all the more attractive proposition in the near future and continued improvement in battery technology allowing for homes without grid to become normal. Government have already recognised many other technology savings, such as sash window draught seals, so why not cut solar tax? It’s an exciting time in human history. Think about it – Elon musk has just announced his new high tech roof will only cost a mere $22 a square foot. Now combine the over supply of electric with an electric car – and that is a warm thought to not be powering our vehicles and home on dirty fossil fuels. He’s also gone on record as stating that his wonderful system may only require 40% roof coverage in the high tech beautiful solar tiles, the rest being ordinary. That means the remaining 60% can be used to power our car, or heat our water with electric, and maybe do away with gas in the home as well. I believe the future to be solar and it’ll be in every home as standard pretty soon.

Cavity Wall Insulation

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Cavity wall insulation is a great way to reduce the cost of your energy bills whilst improving the quality of your home comfort. Cavity wall insulation serves to reduce heat loss, and a handy bi product is the reduce noise transfer through walls, leaving you feeling extra snug and secure.

Cavity wall insulation is an epoxy foam that is pumped into the cavity of your walls. This stops draughts and air transfer as well as binding the walls together nicely. Many holes are drilled externally so that the foam does not need to be injected into one area alone. Multiple holes ease and assist the transfer through the cavity reducing friction, and increasing the likelihood of completely filling the cavity without leaving spaces.

Once the holes are drilled and the foam is filled entirely the compound is left to set and cure. Once cured any foam that escaped can now be trimmed off and the drilled out holes can be made good. It’s a little difficult on exposed brick homes as you can clearly see the drilling which is unfortunate but the benefits far outweigh the negative impact on aesthetics. If your home is rendered then the impact is minimal. The render is patch and then painted over leaving no visible marks from the installation of foam.

20% of heat is lost through walls and it is the second most important part of improving the conditions in your home. Loft Insulation being the only better value job pound for pound. I suggest you take a look at loft insulation first if you haven’t already.

This is the second largest heat loss area, second only to the loft. The cost of cavity wall insulation has risen dramatically in the last few years mainly because the amount the government will subsidise this important energy saving job has reduced significantly. Most homes that are large, will need to contribute more than the government now does if your unlucky. The costs contribution your end might range from £200 to £500. However much the cost, the job provides assured heating payback as well as making the home more comfortable. I highly recommend cavity insulation as long as your house brickwork does not suffer from damp or your in coastal areas.

The last remaining important factor to discuss is the quality of tradesman you use. There is a big difference between a poor and a good cavity wall installation. If your installer does not drill enough holes close together the chance of having pockets of air is quite high. You also must consider a good installation will have as smaller impact on the aesthetics of your home as is possible.

Draught Proofing Sash Windows

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Eco hack draught proofing sash windows.

There are dozens of good reasons to draught proof your original period sash windows. There are almost no reasons not to do it, other than the initial upfront outlay which may be prohibitive. However looking at a short three years we cannot name the upfront outlay as a reason not to do it either, because payback is already in full.

Draught proofing sash windows, above all, stops annoying, draughts! the brush pile creates a complete perimeter seal to block air movement both in and out. This will significantly improve the heat retention. It’s said that each window draught proofed will save  £50 per year on heating.  It’s only beaten in value by loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. This is a typical figure and will vary on size, as well as how draughty the windows were before the service. A room with a bay window of sashes will still have single glazing and therefore the heat loss through glass will still be significant, although you’ll be surprised just how much more comfortable the room feels with draught proofing. In the case of a room with one or two small sash windows the impact is significant. The heat retention is almost instant.

Draught proofing also helps to cut down on noise. It will not stop piecing noise but it will keep the drone out as well as reduce that piercing noise to something far more bearable. Some homeowners consider double glazing of sash windows in the event sound is the main issue.

Sash window draught proofing provides an opportunity to serve your sash windows. If your windows are stuck, or painted in, or need an overhaul it’s a great time to get a draught proofing system as the installer will need to remove sashes as part of the draught proofing system.

Draught proofing your sash windows will stop annoying rattles of the sash to frame. If you’ve ever been on a bus route, all too common is the rattle from a throaty engine passing by. This is will be eliminated instantly from the point of professional draught proofing system installed.

Typically sash window draught proofing in a ten window home will reduce energy consumption by £500. That is a lot of gas! If we consider the payback may be around 3 to 4 years every single home should be looking for this upgrade. Sometimes draught proofing is combined with heavy curtains, in an attempt to create, similar conditions to secondary glazing. You can checkout these London Draught Proofing Sash Windows Specialists. Heavy curtains really work, and some are not all that expensive. It normally boils down to the preferences of the homeowners, some prefer modern blinds and shutters which do not offer the same protection from the elements.