Dream about making your home more environmentally friendly but worried about the cost? You might not have the time or funds to create a Grand Design worthy top Eco Home but there are interior and structural options that may be within your reach. If you are thinking about making changes in 2019, here are some eco-friendly ideas to consider.
Fitting solar panels is perhaps more of a financial gamble now than it has been in the recent past because of upcoming changes to how the UK government rewards households for exporting electricity back to the grid. However, if you manage to complete the project and have your panels certified before March 2019, you’ll still qualify for what is known as FIT payments. And of course, if you fit solar panels after this date, you’ll still benefit from having lower energy bills for your home. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to get your solar panel installation funded although the price of panels has come down significantly. You’ll, therefore, need to balance the initial investment against how long you’re likely to stay in your home.
Paint is just paint, right? Well, while it may look the same when splashed on your walls and furniture, the components used in paints and varnishes can differ widely. Some paints and varnishes use components called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are toxic. This may not seem like such an issue until you learn that they release low-level emissions into the air for years after application. While low-VOC or no-VOC alternatives can be slightly more expensive to buy, they’re a relatively low-cost eco-friendly upgrade to commit to if you’re redecorating your home.
Acrylic and plastic fixtures in bathrooms have become the norm in many homes because of the lower price point they generally offer. However, along with a luxury look, a steel bath comes with a couple of eco-benefits that may just make them your bathtub of choice. Fitting a long-lasting durable steel bathtub will help your bath to retain heat for longer. If you like a long soak, this means you’re less likely to need to top up your bath with more hot water. Steel is also more chemical resistant so it should stay looking new for longer. Plus, the fact it’s a 100% recyclable material is a really strong selling point.
You don’t have to be into the vintage look to take advantage of upcycling items in your home. Though if you love the look of retro tiles or fireplaces – reusing old fixtures and fittings in your home is a smart way to keep such items out of landfill. Just be mindful to look out for potential hazards such as asbestos floor tiles.
Wooden doors are another easy to get hold of item that have lots of recycling potential beyond their original use. You’ll find reclaimed door tables and benches to purchase online or at maker markets. Better still, do you know someone who could achieve the look for you?
It’s worth noting that wood alternatives such as laminated furniture, particleboard and MDF like paints can also contain VOCs. So, if you’d like to reduce levels of toxic chemicals in your home and do your bit to reduce landfill and carbon emissions, buying second-hand solid wood furniture is a sensible step. It may cost a little more than flatpack, but if it’s already lasted a number of decades, you can probably trust it to do the job for a few more!
Having indoor plants in the home is superbly good for you. Some species are especially good at cleaning the air of toxins and it’s great for indoor oxygen levels. And, along with helping you to breathe more easily, plants can look great too. One interior trend with real staying power is living walls and the use of greenery and plants for decoration. Some of the fanciest living walls can cost a pretty penny to buy in readymade. You don’t need to go all out with a wall though. For a more affordable option, try vertical planters or integrate plants into your shelving units or pot and place on surfaces such as mantelpieces and windowsills. Use cuttings from friends and relatives for a really affordable way to give your home a quick eco-friendly lift.
Do you consider the environmental impact when making interior design choices for your home? If you’re a Grand Designs fan, what eco-feature would be a must-have in your dream build?
This is a collaborative post