Green design for the home: Saving energy, saving money

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How to make a new building not only look good but be good has become a key issue for architects and interior designers. However, even if a home is an ‘old’ build, there are still ways to make it suitable for the green era, while retaining style.

Changeable planet

Almost every country on the planet has been subjected to changeable, some might even say freak, weather over the past few years, and this situation has sometimes meant that homes are not exactly fit for purpose anymore; new ways need to be found to make them more energy-efficient.

But this can mean even worse news for our pockets. Homes that are not properly insulated or weatherproofed can mean that heating bills rise dramatically or that house maintenance costs spiral out of control.

The small things

There are small changes that can be made to save energy and thereby save a little money. Simply changing ordinary light bulbs for compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs can mean that the emission of greenhouse gases is reduced by more than 400 pounds.

Rather than spending money on bottled water, it can be cheaper and just as healthy to install a filter beneath the kitchen sink. This filters tap water to make it as clean as a filter jug kept in the fridge, and obviously cuts out the use of plastic for water bottles, which then need to be recycled.

Paper is perhaps one material we like to think we have a handle on, with so many companies shouting out that they plant a tree for every one they cut down, but our modern lives gets through paper and its derivatives at a frightening rate. In the home, consider using washable cloths, such as microfiber towels, or even old, cut-up clothes, for chores rather than paper towels.

To keep warm in the home, rather than turning up the thermostat, simply add a few layers of clothing and change the timer on the heating system to come on only at certain times of the day, and then only for a limited time. It would even pay to do a casual survey of the home, identifying cracks and gaps where drafts are coming in. Put down draft-excluders at the bottom of doors, and seal gaps around window frames.

Bigger changes

To save even more money and energy, bigger changes may be needed in the home. These, however, can even improve the aesthetic quality of an interior. Installing plantation shutters, for example, will help to create a tight seal around window frames, keeping warm, heated air inside a room rather than it leaking it out through gaps, and these shutters have an incredibly attractive and fashionable appearance.

To complete the insulating process, install heavy-duty installation in both basement and attic areas. This will make the home a great deal warmer, helping to keep heating bills low, and thereby using far less energy.

Some of these changes could involve a significant initial outlay, while others just require a change of habit. Whichever steps are taken, it is guaranteed that the planet and bank balances will be better for them.

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