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5 Sustainable Improvements for a Greener Home

Written by MS
26/04/2021 10:00:53


The UK government recently announced the end of their Green Homes Grant at the end of March 2021. This was a new scheme that gave homeowners a voucher of up to £5,000 to make sustainable improvements or additions to their homes. 
 
A large range of upgrades were included in the grant, such as the installation of solar panels and secondary glazing to prevent heat loss. Those who signed up for a Green Homes Grant will be able to spend the money up to 90 days after the acceptance of their application. 
 
Though the scheme lasted a little over six months, here at The Plastic People we wanted to take a look at some easy improvements you can complete to make your home more sustainable and greener. Many of our tips in this blog are DIY projects, and we’ve tried to prioritise low-cost improvements too. 
 
Whether you are looking to revolutionise the way you live and go totally green, or just want to make a few changes around the house to help you save on bills, this guide will definitely have a tip or two for you! 
 
Over on Pinterest, we’ve put together a brand-new board all about sustainable home improvements. Feel free to check it out for some ideas and pictures/visuals, if you need inspiration. Click here to head over now. 
 
1. Insulation and Windows
 
Reducing heat loss from your home is perhaps the easiest way to create a more sustainable environment - and lower your energy bills in the process. There are several ways to go about this too, here are just a few examples:
 
  • Adding insulation materials: The majority of heat escapes our homes through the walls, so adding extra insulation is a sure-fire way to lock warmth into your home. If your home was built before the 1990s, the walls likely have gaps in them already. 
 
  • Double or Triple Glazing: Windows are also major heatsinks. Getting double or triple glazing installed throughout your home will help keep the heat locked in during the winter months. This can be costly, though (see next tip).
 
  • Secondary Glazing: Secondary Glazing is our very own cost-effective and DIY alternative to double glazing your home. This involves order cut-to-size acrylic panels that you can stick to the inside of your windows using our MagnetGlaze kit. This is a lot cheaper than other energy-saving home improvements - and you do not need to seek permissions if you live in a listed area. Click here to find out more about Secondary Glazing today!
 
2. Bathroom Upgrades 
 
Bathroom appliances are continually being upgraded and updated to become more environmentally sustainable. By choosing to replace just a few of your bathroom facilities, you can reduce your water consumption dramatically, and so save a few bucks every month.
 
Toilets actually account for some 30% of water usage in our homes. By installing a new toilet on a low-flow system, you can reduce this and save some money (some homeowners are saving up to £90 per year!). Similarly, there are new showerheads available that decrease the amount of water you use during your morning wash. 
 
Making sustainable improvements does not mean you have to entirely remodel your bathroom and so it is not as expensive as it may first appear. If you are looking for some DIY bathroom improvement inspiration, we wrote a blog recently about this year’s bathroom design trends. Click here to check it out. 
 
3. In the Garden 
 
There are a whole host of improvements you can make in your garden and other outdoor spaces to create a more sustainable way of living. Investing in eco-friendly gardening tools is a good start for anyone with particularly green fingers. 
 
Composting is another important step you can take to becoming greener. Having your garden and flower beds professionally fertilised can be costly, yet creating your compost is free! Compost piles can be any size too - perfect for smaller gardens.
 
Through collecting your kitchen, garden, and consumable waste, you can save money on fertiliser and lower your carbon footprint! This has the added benefit of decreasing the amount of waste sent to landfill too. 
 
A few other things to keep in mind when it comes to sustainable gardening are:
  • Try to use natural pest repellents (such as certain plants like mint).
  • Consider companion planting, where you mix lots of different plants/flowers to improve soil quality. 
  • Install a pond (or make your own) to encourage more wildlife into your garden!
We recently put together a blog all about garden improvements and design tips for the Spring and Summer! Click here to check it out for some extra inspiration. 
 
4. Sustainable Materials 
 
When it comes to building, you can also stay sustainable. Not all materials are made alike, and some are worse for the environment than others. As a rule of thumb, look for non-toxic materials whenever you are working on any home improvement projects. 
 
For instance, you might choose reclaimed wood flooring over a brand new alternative - which will save you money too. Other sustainable materials include bamboo, natural linoleum, cork, and some recyclable plastics. 
 
5. Long Term Investments 
 
If you are looking to make long term improvements, the budget becomes a big factor. Some sustainable improvements come with hefty price tags but, over time, they do pay for themselves. 
 
Solar panels are initially expensive, but more than pay for themselves across the decades with the amount you will save on energy bills. Some local councils also offer grants to homeowners looking to splash on solar and renewable energy alternatives. 
 
Underfloor heating is a great alternative to normal radiators in your home. It is a more direct and longer-lasting form of central heating but can be expensive to install as it requires ripping up your current floor and, in some cases, digging a little bit lower into the ground so the pipework can fit. 
 
That just about brings us to the end of this blog on Sustainable and Green Home Improvements. We hope this has given you a good taste of what options are out there if you are looking to lead a more environmentally sustainable life. 
 
If you would like to read about what we are doing here at The Plastic People to lower our carbon footprint as a business, click here. 
 
We are always grateful when readers and customers get in touch with us to share their projects! Feel free to reach out to us via social media or email. Our Twitter and Instagram are @barkstonplastic, and you can contact us by emailing service@theplasticpeople.co.uk. 
 
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