We’re making some big changes to our homes to support this – introducing air source heat pumps as standard in our upcoming developments to replace gas boilers, together with underfloor heating on the ground floor in detached designs. And these are in addition to our latest designs benefitting from a 10% reduction in heat loss compared to our previous builds.
If you’re wondering how to be eco-friendly at home, and save money at the same time, there are lots of small things you can do to make a difference. Ahead of Compost Week (March 13 – 19) and Global Recycling Day (March 18) we’ve put together a handy guide detailing how to make your home more eco-friendly.
1. Reduce, reuse, recycle
The ‘three Rs’ are a great starting point when thinking about the little things you can do at home to help the planet. Reduce your household waste by choosing items with less packaging. For example, a veg box delivered to your door is likely to create less waste than prepacked supermarket produce. Reuse things before you throw them away. Takeaway tubs are great for storing leftovers. If you’re decorating a room, think how some of the accessories or furnishings could be repurposed for another part of the home. If they really won’t fit with your colour scheme, think about upcycling them with a lick of paint or recovering in a different fabric. Or you could donate your preloved items to a local charity. You can usually find out if your local council collects household waste and how to recycle items including mobile phones, computers, packaging and green waste online.
2. Save water
If you’re home is on a water metre, reducing the amount of water you use will save you money as well as help save the planet. Taking shorter showers, using just enough water to cover pans of food and only running the washing machine with a full load, are just some of the ways to save water in the home. All of our new homes include low-flush toilets, low flow taps and showers and lower capacity baths, which combined can save an extra 20 litres per person per day. World Water Day is on March 22, read more about how you can save water daily.
3. Use eco-friendly home products
From cleaning products to toiletries, many of our everyday essentials are now available as low waste or plastic free options. In the kitchen, switch to biodegradable scrubbers made from pumice or peach pits. In the bathroom, swap plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner for low waste bars or find a local stockist who can refill your containers. Eco-friendly cleaning products are widely available in supermarkets and high street stores. Batch cooking may save time and energy, but the plastic bags they’re stored in the freezer in are no good for the planet. Try reusable silicon bags. If you want to reduce your single use plastic consumption further, search online for the global Plastic Free July campaign.
4. Plant bird and bee friendly flowers
When you’re choosing the plants for your garden, think about the birds and the bees, and other creatures. The flowers of a honeysuckle attract a range of insects and provide a night-time nectar for moths, while its berries provide food and shelter for thrushes, warblers and bullfinches. Ivy leaves provide food for caterpillars, plus nesting or roosting shelter for birds; while insects feed off its flowers and birds from its berries. Opt for nectar-rich flowers to provide food for bees and pollinators all year round. Think spring flowers like pussy willows, crocuses, lungworts and winter heathers; allium, catmint, poppy, snapdragon, sweet pea and thyme in early summer; buddleia, cornflower, echinacea and lavender in late summer into early autumn. Read more on how to encourage wildlife into your garden here.
5. Grow your own
Whether you choose to utilise a corner of your garden, a pot or take on an allotment, there’s something satisfying about growing your own produce. Along with reducing your food miles, it also provides a functional fitness activity and can help children learn about where food comes from, while encouraging them to try new things. Chives, mint, rosemary and thyme or strawberries, tomatoes, peas and beans can also help feed the bees. You can use your kitchen scraps and garden waste for compost. Plus, if you manage to grow more produce than your household can eat, you can share with your neighbours. We’re proud that many of our new developments features allotments and you can find out about allotment availability locally on your council’s website.
6. Make small changes to your energy use
If you’re wondering how can homes be more energy efficient, there are lots of small changes you can make to the way you live that can make a big difference. The oven is one of the appliances that eats up energy, which is why the air fryer has become the ‘must have’ in any domestic kitchen. Whether you’re topping up the kettle to make a brew or covering a pan of pasta, only boil the water you need to save energy. It’s estimated that turning the thermostat on your heating down by 1°C could save the average household £145 a year. Making sure all your light bulbs are lower impact is another way to reduce your energy consumption.
7. Shop smart
Shopping with the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” in mind will help your home become an eco-friendly house. Reduce your food miles by stocking up on locally grown, in season produce. Take your own bags and reuse them and avoid items with single use plastic. Think how the packaging or the waste from your purchase could be recycled or repurposed.
8. Cosy styling
You want your home to feel warm and welcoming on all levels and layering textures can create a sense of cosiness. Choose velvet or heavy weave curtains, hung floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall for added warmth. In spaces with ceramic or wooden floors, which may feel a little cold in winter unless you benefit from underfloor heating, add a rug in a natural texture such as jute, sisal or wool. Layering throws and scatter cushions to sofas and beds in warm colours and contrasting, tactile textures including wool, boucle, faux fur and felted fabrics, are perfect for getting cosy with loved ones. For more sustainable interiors inspiration, watch our podcast.
9. Move to an energy efficient home
New build homes are more energy efficient than their older equivalents. Our homes are 63% more efficient than homes built in the 1970s and benefit from a 10% reduction in heat loss compared to our previous designs.
Our move to use air source heat pumps to provide heating and hot water to our homes on all our upcoming developments is an industry first. This will help to future proof our homes, making them completely gas-free and ‘zero-carbon’ ready, while helping our customers lower their energy use.
10. Opt for eco-friendly upgrades
Our homes are already energy efficient, but we have also introduced an extended range of optional eco-friendly extras to help you reduce your impact on the planet. Adding PV panels should mean lower electricity bills, with the potential to receive payments if you generate more energy than you use. It also means our installers can build the PV panels into the roof, rather than them sitting on top of tiles, which is often the case when retro-fitting. Other options available via My Redrow include adding an eco-waste bin or steaming hot tap.
Find out more tips for making your house an eco friendly home