As more and more homeowners begin to make the subtle shift towards eco living, many “off the shelf” products now make it even easier to make your home eco-friendly. With the upcoming Grand Designs Live exhibition being held in Birmingham at the NEC, Kevin McCloud reveals his 5 top tips towards making your home greener!
- How do I get started? If your wondering what to do and what not to do in your quest to becoming the leading eco-warrior on your street, start by grabbing yourself a copy of Little Book of One Planet Living by Alastair Sawday. This book cleverley demonstrates how eco living can provide more choice and not less, whilst giving a key insight into sustainability and reusing everyday materials.
Reduce your energy usage
- In order to green your home, the primary objective is to reduce the amount of energy it consumes. A simple, cheap and effective way to get started is to to go around every door and window sealing off any draughts. You can purchase many different vareities from your local DIY store, and the results can be simply astonishing.
Use planet friendly products
- Insulate, insulate and insulate! Double insulatation in the attic area is crucial in reducing heat loss from your home. Heat rises when inside a building, so be sure to keep it inside your building to reduce your overall energy bills. Ecowool is made from recycled plastic bottles, whilst Blackwool is made from Welsh sheepswool. Great planet friendly alternatives to the usual stuff!
Utilise an electricity monitor
- Cut your overall energy consumption by fitting an electricity monitor – You’ll be surprised which devices in your home drink the most juice! Standby switches are useful to electronics such as TV’s, and if you looking to change supplier head towards Ecotricity or Good Energy. Aerator taps in your kitchen and bathroom will save you water, along with varible flush toilet cisterns.
Keep the heat in
- Thick curtains or shutters for your windows will keep heat in and cold out. Even poorly fitted, cheap shutters can have a dramatic effect towards keeping heat inside your home, whilst offering increased security also.
Head over to Grand Designs Live this October 2010 – Will you be going?
Source: Grand Designs Live
The cloakroom is easily one of the most neglected spaces in the home, quickly becoming host to store all unnecessary clutter from around the home, despite the fact that it almost always has great potential for a second bathroom. One way to take advantage of this space is to transform it into a downstairs toilet and washroom or mini bathroom. Here’s a few great options worth considering:
- Under Stairs Cloakroom – Simplicity is the key – It’s important to not over clutter the area. Small wash basins safe space both visually and practically. Combining a large wall mirror with bright Matt colours can provide a sense of openness. Utilising a heated towel rail is great way to keep the area feeling warm in the winter, whilst providing an attractive feature.
- Cloakroom – If your lucky enough to have a larger space to work with, it may the case that you want to create a second bathroom in your home for guests and friends alike. Incorporating a second shower is a great idea if you have a large family. With so many 900 x 900 shower designs and smaller available on the market, your bound to find something that works for you. In addition to the added convenience, a second shower is guaranteed to add extra value to your home.
A cloakroom bathroom solution makes the most of a small space, with stylish and contemporary detail adding a touch of glamour and practicality to any home. With complete solutions starting from as little as £1000, it’s a great investment for any homeowner that’s guaranteed to provide long term rewards.
Jumping out of the shower first thing on a cold morning isn’t a pleasant experience, and it can only be made worse by stepping onto an ice-cold bathroom floor. That’s partly why underfloor heating is quickly becoming the popular must-have in bathroom renovations across the UK. Here’s a few points to consider when installing your new heating system.
Some materials are far more effective at heating than others, due to the levels of conductivity, but it’s important to consider a material’s ability to store heat rather than just transmitting it. Tiled floors are very good at keeping the heat stored, but if the tiles are too thick it can take a long time to heat up. The thinner the tile, the quicker the warm-up times, but it can feel cold when barefoot if the heating system is not turned on. Carpet is comfortable regardless if the system is on, but be sure to use one with a lower tog factor otherwise the underfloor heat simply won’t get through.
Real hardwood materials warm quickly, and will continue to retain a good heat level throughout the day and feels comfy underfoot even when the system is off. It is important to note that engineered board should be used in order to prevent the board from shrinking or moving when heat is passing through. Underfloor heating can be installed under solid, natural timber flooring but be careful how you lay the heating system to avoid movement issues.
One element that shouldn’t be overlooked is running costs – Cheaper to install electric systems may seem like the wallet-friendly choice short term, only to cost a significant amount to operate on a regular basis. Water-based systems aren’t the cheapest, but running costs are far lower.
A towel and a bowl of steaming water may be a more effective way to tackle sinusitis than drugs. In a new trial, up to 300 patients will use inhalation to treat a condition that is often tackled with antibiotics. It comes in the wake of research showing that the amount of patients who recovered in ten days was about the same, whether they took an antibiotic or a placebo.
Acute sinusitis – inflammation of the linings of the sinuses – affects up to five per cent of adults. Symptoms include headaches, sore face and a blocked nose. In the trial, at Southampton University, researchers will compare steam inhalation and nasal irrigation, where patients flush 150ml of saline through each nostril daily for six months. The hot steam is thought to help clear the airways, which improves breathing and mucus flow.
Source: The Daily Mail – March 31st 2009
Camping is often associated with tents, the great outdoors, and campfires. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea due to the lack of luxury one can expect, but solar power is bringing a whole new scenario to consider. Imagine arriving back to base camp after a long hike around the neighbouring hills to a solar-powered outdoor shower?
Manufacturers claim this clever contraption is capable of heating 5.5 gallons of water to a refreshing 60º celsius, after just 2 hours on a sunny day (leave a few more hours charging time for a cloudy day!). Better still the solar-powered outdoor shower is fully transportable, so taking it from A to B shouldn’t prove to be too much of a chore. Maybe its time for all of us to reconsider our holiday destinations and keep camping a definite possibility!