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New Straits Times OnlineMini-revival in UK property pricesNew Straits Times OnlineTHE average United Kingdom property prices is up 5.1 per cent annually with official figures suggesting the housing market has undergone a summer mini-revival this year. In July, the average house price was £226,000 (RM1.3 million), up £11,000 compared ...and more »
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Martin’s Tips

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Top 10 Eco-Friendly Home Improvements


Martin's Top Tips for Eco-Friendly Home Improvements

07-12-2011

1. Flush Less - In the average home, approx a third of the water used each day goes down the loo! If you are upgrading the bathroom or toilet then opt for dual flush loo which uses considerably less water than a standard flush. Even if you aren't up to replacing the loo just yet you can reduce the amount of water used when flushing older, larger capacity cisterns, by fitting a ‘Hippo’ device or a ‘Save-a-flush’ bag.

2. Choose Eco-Friendly Products - An excellent eco friendly home improvement suggestion is to use organic products and renewable energy whenever possible. For example, you can use natural cleaning products, tote bags instead of plastic bags for groceries, energy saving light bulbs, to name but a few.

3. Go Solar Powered - When it comes to replacing your electrical water heater. go for a solar powered model. This step will ensure reduction in your electricity bill and will also cut down your power usage. Besides that even in case of power failure you can easily access hot water. To read more about solar heated water and ground pumps, read my article on Installing Central Heating here...

4. Redecorate with Eco-Friendly Paints - Most home improvements or renovation projects will involve painting at some stage. Generally paints contain high levels of VOCs which are harmful for environment as well as your health. To tick the Ec-Friendly box, select brands that use non-volatile organic chemical or non-VOC. You can find out about odourless and solvent free paints on the internet, but for starters, check out http://www.ecospaints.com/

5. Cork Flooring - When you want to renovate your flooring then you can go for cork floor. Besides being natural, cork flooring is comfortable to walk on, warm and durable. Cork floorings are available in a wide range of designs and colors.

6. Carpet Tiles - If you do need to have carpet on your floor (i.e. for warmth), the it is better to go for carpet tiles if you want to be eco-friendly as well as healthy. You can purchase carpet tiles are made up of 70% recycled material and that themselves are recyclable. As with paint, some research into the subject can lead you to products that have very low or trace levels of VOCs. If you do opt for carpet tiles then don't buy carpet padding unless you really have to. Avoiding padding will reduce the additional material, labour and chemicals required used to install. Carpet padding also increases the need to keep your carpet clean and it becomes hard to clean without using harsh chemicals.

7. Organic Bedding - Most bedding products are treated with formaldehyde chemical, which is harmful for environment as well as your health. Hence it is better to select organic bedding and eco-friendly mattresses. These mattresses are generally made up of natural latex rubber. Besides being eco-friendly they are also good for your health.

8. Recycle Furniture - If you're not going for a big renovation, then you can simply switch to eco-friendly furnishing. The best way to do this is to purchase used furniture this step will reduce the demand on forest and materials to be made from scratch. Used furniture besides being eco-friendly is also a cost efficient move.

9 .Energy efficient lighting - Energy saving lightbulbs use around 80% less electricity than traditional bulbs to produce the same amount of light. That's good news for the environment and your electricity bill. Similarly,  the more natural daylight you can employ in your property, the less environmental impact you will have from using artificial light. Consider using Sun Pipes to bring natural daylight inside - they can even 'bend' light around corners.

10. Home insulation & glazing - Insulation is one of the most effective ways to stop wasting energy in your home. For example, insulating an un-insulated loft could save you around £150 a year and reduce your carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions too. Even better, is that you may qualify for a grant to have your loft insulated. For more information on criteria to qualify for the Government Grant, click here.


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