When most people think of making eco-friendly changes to their home, they automatically think big. Solar panels, heat pumps and underfloor heating are all excellent and well-known ways to make your home more sustainable, but they tend to cost a lot of money to install. This can be off-putting, and so many people ignore them.
Luckily, there are plenty of smaller options that don’t cost the earth, which you can install yourself, saving the cost of a specialist tradesperson. There are plenty of good DIY videos available on the internet if you’re unsure about how to do something, or just want inspiration.
FSC-friendly wallpaper and natural paints
Redecorating a room can be a great way to bring some new life to an existing space. This doesn’t mean that you need to start ripping out walls or putting down new flooring – a splash of paint or a fresh new wallpaper can make a huge difference.
When choosing your materials, think about the environmental impact of the products that you’re using. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark is an easy way of checking that your wallpaper is sustainably produced, made from trees in responsibly-managed forests.
If you prefer paints, then look for ones that have a label showing that they do not contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs let off polluting gases which can cause nasty side effects like headaches, nausea and dizziness. Not only does choosing a low or no VOC paint minimise the risk of these health issues, but they also tend to have a lack of other chemicals, which is better for the environment.
Water is a vital global resource, and is essential for humans, plants and animals alike. It’s important to save water so that we can all share it, as well as reducing the energy consumption that goes into pumping and filtering water. This is an easy thing to do in your home, as you can directly control how much water you are using.
This doesn’t just mean taking a quicker shower, either. Installing water-saving devices such as a low-flow showerhead is a good way to ensure that your water consumption is reduced every day, rather than just on the days that you remember to time your shower. If you’re renovating your bathroom suite, you can also opt for a low-flow toilet, where the user can choose a short flush or a longer one. These are fairly common now, but less so in period properties, so it’s worth looking into.
Perhaps you want to update your old furniture to suit a modern room, or just change up the colour scheme? Whatever your aim, upcycling or revamping existing pieces of furniture can be a great way to both reduce waste and save money.
If you’re keen for a new piece, why not buy second-hand? You can get furniture and even full kitchen suites pre-owned online, which saves them going to landfill and will be a fraction of the new cost. Grab some wood paint and get decorating to make them fit in well with your existing items.
Jervise Penton, Content Producer and Researcher