It’s been really fashionable over the past few years, well, forever really, to buy an old house and renovate it while you live there. With the evidence of global warming and being energy efficient at home, old residences, better known as ‘character homes’, need a lot of work to be classified in that category. They didn’t make old house with any thought for a future filled with all the nasties we seem to be aware of now. Conversely, modern homes are all about creating a green environment. Design and construction are based on using natural elements to save home running costs. Sunshine, glass, airflow, natural shade, and insulation come readily to mind.

Eco Sensitive Improvements

Insulation is going to do wonders as a starting step to making the house more energy efficient. Products in this category have improved 100-fold over the past 10 years and you can now use recycled, shredded newspaper treated with fire retardant that can be blown into cavities. Neat!

Furniture can be found that is designed with ‘green’ in mind. It doesn’t have to be a simplistic or minimalist style either. Shop around and see what’s available on the market.

Recycled furniture is always a great alternative to buying new. You will scratch your head and ask yourself why some items have been discarded. Not all but many have been solidly made if they are more than 40-50 years old and some elbow grease and paint and varnish can give you a piece of furniture that will last another 50 years

Has your home got a fireplace? Tile fires have almost killed off the open log fire but an alternative to wood is recycled coffee grounds, believe it or not. They burn cleaner and last longer.

Paint is no longer made with lead in western countries. You will still find that toxic element in paint used in 3rd world countries, unfortunately. When repainting, as you certainly will be, investigate the non-toxic types that are available.

Dishwasher and Refrigerator should both meet the energy standard requirements that give it a 5-star rating. They use less water and less power. The extra expense of purchase is repaid 10-fold over the lifetime of the appliance.

Such a simple mechanism as an aerator for the tap helps with water savings. They are cheap and just allow more air into the water so you don’t have to use as much pressure which equals more water!

I’ve left a biggie till last – Solar Panels. Not only do these panels save you on power, big time, but if you install enough to make excess electricity, then you can sell back to the grid. The technology improvements in solar panels sees it as a big business now and almost becoming an essential in new homes as part of the design. Unlike a giant wind generator, solar panels are unobtrusive and give your roof that modern space-like look.

These are just a few areas that you can look at to green up your home. We’ll look a few more next week.