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How to make your home environmentally-friendly and reduce bills

Improving your home’s energy efficiency is one of the best ways to decrease your utility bills and be kinder to the environment. The cost of making these improvements might put you off at first, but on second glance, it may not be as bad as you think.

There are a lot of grants and government backed schemes to help bring your home into the 21st Century. Even if you don’t qualify for financial help, the rewards will soon outweigh the cost as fuel prices continue to rise.

Saving energy should start becoming second nature instead of a chore. As a nation Brits are starting to realise the value of going green beyond our wallets as the winters get warmer and the rain stops falling.

Most people already know of the term ‘carbon footprint’ but in case you don’t it is the amount of carbon dioxide, or CO2, released into the atmosphere that we are individually responsible for. Each year the UK dumps a staggering 564 million tonnes of CO2 directly into the atmosphere, around 30% of that comes from household energy production.

There are literally hundreds of things you can do around the house to start saving energy. If the threat of global warming isn’t enough impetus then maybe the cost of fuel will convince you. By 2020 the Government plan to cut emissions by 34%. What will you do to make sure you don’t get left behind? Here are some Ideas to get you started.

Insulate and modernise
It’ll come as no great surprise that many homes are not running as efficiently as they could be. For example, think about the double glazing in your home. French doors, windows and conservatories should all be double glazed; if they are not then you’re just throwing money away. Boilers, fridges, dishwashers and ovens should also be carefully scrutinised too. Seal gaps in doors; insulate the floors, ceilings and pipes. Leave no stone unturned.

This is an obvious one and very effective. Stop complaining about the cost of petrol and diesel; get on your bike, walk or take the bus! If you really have to drive for work think about the long-term price of fuel or consider at what price you will forced to stop driving. It may be sooner than you think, so it’s sensible to consider an alternative before you’re priced off the roads.

Generate your own energy
Solar panels and wind generators are becoming more common, and with added competition between suppliers and government incentives to install them the cost of installation might even be free (depending on your circumstances). There are so many options available, so the first step is to work out what is right for you.

Did you know that as much as 30% of your home energy bill is spent on heating water? Saving water is relatively easy and is therefore the fastest way to start saving money. If your house has a water meter you are already paying by the litre. The simple ways to reduce waste are always the best: shower instead of bathe; collect rain water for the garden and flush the toilet less.

Some changes may seem small at first but psychologically the effects are huge. Every little step you take will make the big ones seem less daunting. Sooner or later everyone will wonder what the fuss was about and adapt to this new way of life.

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