How do you make your house ‘Eco-Friendly?’
Research has shown that eco-friendly homes sell for an average of around £17,000 more than conventional homes. And a study in Washington D.C. between 2008 and 2013 revealed that properties with eco-friendly measures sold 23% more than standard properties. Apart from doing your bit for the environment, making your home eco-friendly could be a cost-effective move — adding significant value to your property in a relatively short space of time.
But with an ever-increasing choice of eco-friendly technologies on the market, which are the most effective at adding value? Whether a homeowner or investor, here are a few tips for making ‘eco-friendly homes.’
1. Eco-friendly homes – Insulate your loft
A cheap and effective way to preserve heat in your home is to insulate your loft. The more heat you can stop from escaping, the less energy your property will consume — saving you a considerable sum on your energy bills along the way. Heat rises, so it makes sense to trap it at the highest point in your home. And at an average installation cost of between £250 and £350 for a standard house, this is probably the first measure you should take.
2. Install a water butt
The average garden hose pipe can deliver up to 1000 litres of water every hour, depleting precious water reserves during the drier months of the year, leaving a significant carbon footprint — an enormous amount of energy is needed to process drinking water. By installing a water butt in your garden, you can collect rainwater throughout the year and use it on your lawn, plants, trees and shrubs. With a water butt, rainwater diverter and a pump, you can slash your home’s water consumption in a day.
3. Block draughts
Blocking draughts is another relatively cheap and straightforward measure you can take to preserve heat and energy. Search your property for draughts, whether they’re in chimneys, under doors or around windows. In some cases, the draughts may be a result of poor quality or substandard materials. To maximise your home’s efficiency, you might want to arrange a building pressurisation test, which assesses how airtight your property is, and the exact location of leaks.
Among the other areas where heat may be escaping include:
- Skirting boards
- Electrical outlets
- Cable TV and phone lines
- Loft hatches
4. Install solar panels
Many eco-friendly houses will have solar panels, as electricity is an expensive energy source, so better to get it free, if possible! The ideal roof for a solar panel is south facing with a pitch of between 30 and 45 degrees. If your home is hooked up to solar energy, it uses a higher percentage of renewable energy than a home that isn’t. Crucially, this means you aren’t using as much electricity from the National Grid, so your energy bills should fall substantially. In fact, there’s a chance you could actually “sell” energy to the Grid – using eco-friendly homes actually to generate money.
The prospect of significantly lower-than-average energy bills for a home’s lifetime is often attractive for house buyers, which drives up the open market price.
5. Insulate your walls
The walls in your home may be the single biggest source of heat loss. According to Haringey Council in London, around 35 percent of heat loss in the average residential is through the walls. Fix this by having cavity wall insulation installed, which involves drilling small holes in the property’s exterior — through which is pumped insulating foam. Substantial home improvements like insulation can add value to your home.
6. Install energy-efficient windows
The windows in a home are always one of the most significant sources of heat loss. Drastically reduce the loss of heat from windows by installing energy-efficient, double-glazed windows throughout your property. Storm windows, for instance, reduce air leakage through a combination of weather-stripping and caulking. A range of different coverings and treatments can also protect against heat loss.
Except for installing solar panels, none of these changes is particularly expensive for making eco-friendly homes; but combined, energy efficiency measures are ways to increase your property’s market value.