Green is serene, especially when it comes to how you live. And while there are changes you can make to your day-to-day living to help the environment, what can you do to create a greener home? After all, home is where we spend most of our time, so it makes sense for it to be a more environmentally-friendly place.
Homeowners can make changes to their houses, leading to eco-friendly results. When you're renting, however, you don't have as much freedom to implement green features, but you can search for homes that are environmentally friendly before you move in.
We've put this guide together about what you should look for in an eco-friendly home when you're on the move. From energy-efficient appliances to the EPC, read on and become a green expert with these handy tips.
Energy performance certificate (EPC)
The EPC can tell you plenty about how much energy a homes uses, as well as information about the number of CO2 emissions it produces. Properties are ranked between A and G, with A being an incredibly energy-efficient home and G being, well… not very good.
New legislation means rental homes have to have a rating of at least E, but really, you want to aim for a property between A and C if you're environmentally conscious. Higher ratings also mean cheaper bills because you're using less energy in the home.
All of the lights
While some aspects of renting are set in stone when it comes to a property's configuration, the light bulbs are usually something you have control over. 50w, 60w – it's up to you which bulbs you screw into the lights.
There's only one answer if you're looking for eco-friendly lighting options: LED lights. Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are small and solid light bulbs that last longer than normal ones. Therefore, they're much more energy-efficient – around 90%, to be exact.
Rental homes with built-in smart technology are usually more friendly to the environment, and they're fun to use, too. They can keep track of your energy usage, lowering your water and heating bills in the process and include things like smart energy meters and thermostats.
Homes that implement smart tech are usually more sustainable than ones without. Whether you're scheduling when lights switch on and off or saving water, renting a property with smart tech is a surefire way to live in an eco-friendly home.
Look outside my window
Homes with double glazing – rather than single glazing – are more friendly to the environment as they don't consume nearly as much energy trying to heat up the property. And if you can rent a place that doesn't use UPVC, then even better, as it releases toxins.
Window frames should be made from wood or metal because they insulate well and use fewer toxins, which is better for the environment. Plus, they'll last forever. So whether you stay for six months or 10 years, you can benefit from robust double glazing.
Insulation is a vital component in the search for greener homes. It improves thermal performance, which significantly reduces bills and cuts down on carbon emissions. So it's a win-win if you move into somewhere well insulated.
But what constitutes a home with top-notch insulation? Sheep's wool, recycled plastic, cotton and cork are high-level insulators that will keep the home well insulated. They're non-toxic and biodegradable too.
Who would have thought that keeping your feet toasty in the morning was also helpful to the environment? It turns out that radiators quite as good when compared to underfloor heating, with the latter being more efficient and friendlier to the environment.
Underfloor heating isn't solely reserved for newer homes either; it can easily be installed in older properties. Bathrooms and kitchens are the most common places for underfloor heating. Cleaning your teeth has never been cosy.
You're well on your way to living a green lifestyle at home if you move into somewhere with solar panels. They are becoming increasingly popular for generating your own energy and are a more common feature in homes these days.
Even with their rise in popularity, don't expect all homes you look at to have solar panels just yet. But the ones that do will generate less electricity and keep the overall costs of maintaining the home on the lower side. Plus, you'll get bonus points every time you tell someone you live in a home with solar panels.
Clean living at home
Even if you can't find somewhere with all the features on our list, there are still plenty of ways to make a home eco-friendly. From changing the style of light bulbs to moving into somewhere with a good EPC rating, you can go green with your next home move and live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle while reducing costs around your home.