In his summer statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced that the Government will be issuing UK homeowners up to £5,000 worth of vouchers to make their homes more energy efficient.
The Green Homes Grant Scheme is part of a £3billion green jobs package, which aims to create 100,000 new jobs to kickstart the road to recovery of the economy following lockdown and bring the UK closer to its 2050 target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions.
The grants, available to landlords and homeowners from this September, will enable eco-upgrades, which could save family households up to £300 a year on their utility bills.
Wall insulation, roof insulation and double glazing for windows and doors are three improvements covered by the grant but here are some other ways to make your home more eco-friendly.
Switch energy supplier
If you’re not already with a green energy provider then look to switch to one. It’s the simplest way to go green without having to make any physical changes to your home. While usually more expensive than traditional suppliers, the good news is that the choice of renewable energy companies is growing so tariffs are becoming more competitive.
Get a smart meter
Keep an eye on your energy use with a smart meter. Most energy providers install them free of charge and watching the pennies go up on the gauge will soon make you more efficient at turning things off when they’re not in use or dropping the heating down a degree or two.
Mainstream household cleaning products are packed with nasty gases so switch to eco-friendly brands or try natural products such as vinegar, citric fruit acid and bicarbonate of soda to get rid of grime. Air fresheners (aerosols in particular) are especially harmful to the atmosphere, so try a natural spray alternative.
Buy a house plant
Studies have found that having a leafy plant in your house can help absorb harmful volatile organic compounds, one of the main categories of pollutant gases. The most effective plant for this is the bromeliad, which is said to remove over 80 per cent of nasties in the air.
Install solar panels
Solar panels aren’t cheap so consider this a long-term investment – depending on where you live, it could take up to 20 years to break even. However, the money you’ll save on energy bills after that is well worth the investment (sometimes they’ll make enough to allow you to sell some back to the grid) and that’s not to mention the good you’ll be doing for the environment.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
Drawing heat from the soil, these pumps are a good alternative for those who lack the roof space needed for solar panels but have larger grounds.
Solar water heating
Another alternative if you don’t have the space for solar panels or find them incongruous, a solar water heater uses solar thermal technology to heat your domestic water.
Upgrade your boiler
Boilers are rated on a scale of A to G, with A being the most energy efficient so if yours is rated at the lower end of the scale, it’s worth considering an upgrade. An inefficient boiler can add hundreds of pounds to your energy bills too so not only is an upgrade a great way to dramatically reduce your home’s carbon emissions, but will help you save money too.