While we’ve made big changes in our lives to be more sustainable, like installing an air source heat pump and solar PV system, we’ve done many small things to make a difference too. These are our top tips to make your home sustainable.
- We located and sealed all cracks and gaps in our ceiling and around attic/loft access points. These micro drafts were allowing cold air in and warm air to escape. We used caulk from Geocel to accomplish this as it’s is very cost-effective and easy to work with.
- We also filled all cracks and gaps around interior window frames using Ronseal hairline crack sealer.
- We replaced damaged weather stripping and gaskets around doors and windows, ensuring that all drafts were blocked. We had a few dodgy windows and a French door with the wrong gasket. Replacing those made a huge difference.
- We have a uPVC door leading to the back garden. The lock was poorly fitted and was drafty. We used clear silicone to seal the gap around the edge of the lock and that small fix has kept our hallway a few degrees warmer. Such a small fix has led to a huge result.
- We checked and sealed all our skirting boards. We were getting drafts coming into rooms from under the skirting boards. We caulked the bottom of the boards, then applied beading to hide the caulk and give the floors a better, finished look. This was costly as beading is expensive, but it has helped, especially in our garden room. You can check out our video of this project here.
- We installed an air source heat pump, which was an expensive investment, but it means we’ve not been burning 500 liters of oil a month to heat our house.
- We installed smart TRVs and thermostats to automate our central heating and to make it more efficient. This has been hugely successful as our house is kept warm 24/7, and has been snug throughout the winter.
- Insulate your ceilings. This is a project we’ve assigned for the summer as it’ll lock more heat into the house.
- We keep all blinds open on the west side of the house on sunny days. When the sun sets, we pull the blinds down to lock in the heat.
- On bitterly cold evenings, we’ll start a fire in our wood burning stoves. We can increase the temperature in the main living areas (and rooms above) very quickly which takes the pressure off the air source heat pump for a few hours.
- After heavy rains that leave water stains on windows, we give the windows a quick wash. The Karcher WV1 is great for this (review coming soon). The reason we do this, is that it allows more light and heat into the house.
Water Conservation & Domestic Hot Water
- Our air source heat pump takes care of our domestic hot water. We’ve set this to 42C. Even at this temperature, water will be scalding. So why heat it further (wasting energy) if you’re going to add cold water to make it more comfortable on your skin.
- We’ve insulated all the hot water pipes we have access to. It prevents heat loss.
- We’ve changed all our master and guest shower showerheads with low flow and aerator models to help with water reduction.
- Don’t let water run while you’re brushing your teeth.
- We installed a 6.16kW solar PV system to help offset our electricity consumption.
- We’ve replaced every bulb in the house to 2700K LEDs. We’ve opted for a brand called Crompton. The light from these bulbs is warm.
- We’ve installed automated plugs on lamps so that they switch on when it gets dark and turn off when we go to bed.
- We watch our electricity consumption and find appliances that love electricity. The biggest culprits have been the electric towel rail in the downstairs guest bathroom and the mini drinks fridge in the kitchen.
- We only do laundry when we have full loads.
- We only use the dryer (to fluff up towels) on days when we have high solar production.
- We keep our computer and TV screens on a lower brightness.
- We set our fridge to 7C.
- All our outdoor spot lights are solar powered.
- We don’t have or use a microwave. I’m not convinced about how healthy they are and they consume a lot of power.
- We have a gas hob, which is very efficient.
- We use a fan assisted oven to speed up cooking times.
- If we’re going to boil anything for dinner, we fill pots with water hours ahead so that they’re at room temperature, requiring less energy to heat them.
- Dishwashers are more efficient than doing the washing up manually. We maximise our dish washing sessions by doing full loads only and use eco tablets.