More and more people are taking action to make their homes more sustainable, opting for eco-friendly alternatives to traditional building materials, energy sources and furnishings. As well as being better for the environment, this also makes economic sense, as many of these changes and improvements can add value to a property. Here are a few examples of the choices now available.
Although there is an initial outlay, and they are not cheap, solar panels that will provide some free electricity or a solar water heater will undoubtedly save money in the longer term. A south facing portion of roof is ideal for solar panels, while solar water heaters can reduce bills for heating water by up to 80 per cent. Prospective purchasers will be delighted at the opportunity to save on household bills, so this is a real plus when it comes to selling a property.
Monitoring energy use is a great way to maximise efficiency, and technology to help manage energy in the home as well as the workplace is becoming increasingly popular. With the aid of an automated device, it is possible to analyse energy consumption and to adjust heating, as well as initiating actions including turning lights on when a room is occupied and off when it isn’t.
In the same way, quite a lot of heat is lost through windows and roofs, so finding the best solutions for these is crucial. Good quality insulation in the attic will make a big difference and windows can be made both more attractive and more energy-efficient by using shutters instead of curtains. When sourcing wooden shutters, check that they are FSC certified shutters that have been made using wood from sustainable sources. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was established specifically to promote responsible management. A registered charity in the UK, it ensures that manufacturers comply with the highest environmental and social standards.
The FSC logo will also be found on items of wooden furniture that have been treated in a facility supporting environmental biodiversity and choosing certain materials, such as bamboo, are a greener option as bamboo can be replaced really quickly, unlike oak for instance. Buying antique or second-hand furniture is an excellent way of recycling once-loved items and there are some classic vintage styles that will make rooms more attractive when people are viewing a property.
There is less indoor and outdoor pollution when a gas fireplace is installed as opposed to the wood-burning type. A direct-vent model is the most efficient option as it vents without a chimney. A traditional fireplace can be made more efficient by the installation of a wood stove or one that uses pellet inserts or natural gas. Again, anything that reduces heating costs will be of interest to potential new owners when selling a home.
Taking the time to research energy saving measures and green alternatives to traditional products will pay dividends in the longer term, making a home more attractive to potential buyers.