How Do I: Make My Home More Eco-Friendly

I know, I know, we’re all packing away our thermals and getting the Fake Bake onto pasty legs, but in all seriousness summertime is the best time to think about keeping your house toasty next winter.

As a woman living for over 18 months in an unrenovated, unheated Edwardian house, I’ve become an expert on the practical considerations, costs and work involved in retrospective energy efficiency. In the same home we’ve had combi gas, electric wall mounted and free standing Calor gas heating and we finally now have some rooms fully insulated. I know first hand the cost difference investing in eco changes makes. So….. Real Homes magazine asked me to pop five ideas together to inspire their readers to invest and future proof their own homes.

13139145_10154167392899579_7200333126497707326_n.jpgLoft insulation : The best way to avoid having that house on the street whose roof snow melts within seconds is to properly insulate and prevent all that expensive heat you’re paying for literally going through the roof. It’s an easy DIY job, best done in Spring / Autumn to avoid high heat in a summer loft space. Clear everything out of the attic (a great time to declutter) and get a proper light fitted. Wear a long sleeved top, gloves & a protective mask. Take the time to clear old detritus from between the ceiling joists and maybe pop some loft boards down to balance on. A roll of 100mm loft insulation covering 14msq is approximately £17-20.

Additional note: we’ve been buying Knauf Earthwool from B&Q for Moregeous Mansions and the difference is astonishing. Note also that if you’re having an extensive renovation and using a rigid insulation between your sloping roof rafters, though there are others on the market, Kingspan is the best and you get what you pay for. The pink is better than the cream but the cream is way better than none at all if you’re on a budget and don’t have to comply with U Values. This LINK is worth checking out.


Insulated plasterboards : If you’re having any work done involving plaster removal back to brick, consider using insulated plasterboards. I’ve use many and they make a massive positive difference to heat retention in properties, especially on colder North or East facing walls. Expect to pay between £12-25 per 2.4m x 1.2m sheet dependent on thickness, as opposed to £5 for regular 12.5mm boards but boy, are they worth the investment.

Eliminate draughts : fitting DIY draught excluding strips and brush bars to door bases can make the world of difference to chilly halls. Likewise replacing lightweight drapes with heavier curtains come late Autumn can help keep heat in a room – Ikea & Next both sell stylish and inexpensive styles. If you have stripped timber flooring, consider raising the boards to fit underfloor insulation whether rigid or soft roll, or if this is too much work, fill the gaps between the boards using filler and woodstain. Costs – Under £50 (excluding curtains!)

Additional note: I’ll be doing a blog post v soon with my top tips about using 50mm rigid insulation between floor joists in our Edwardian renovation. It’s extensive work but nothing is better at warming up your floor, especially if you have stripped floorboards.

Central heating overhaul : Simply getting your boiler serviced, the central heating system flushed through and radiators bled can make a big difference to the temperatures achieved in a property. Consider investing in some double radiators if yours are the old single fin type, and check your radiators are the correct size for your room – either use an online calculator or ask a friendly plumber. Cost – £150 approx for service & time. Radiators – Dependent on size.

Additional note: Regular readers of Moregeous will know I’ve used tonnes of these at our rentals and they are unbeatable at warming walls. I’d never do a renovation without using them again. Here on our home renovation they’re going on every wall – I never intend to have a high heating bill again!!

Wood burning stove : Everyone’s dream buy and often on sale in summer, wood burning stoves are Hygge Heaven. Get a CERTAS engineer in to inspect your home’s suitability, the installation costs and to ascertain the correct size of stove. Get the chimney swept and ensure you’ve enough space to store clean dry wood. Cost £500-£1500 for the stove and approx £1000 for installation. Then relax and warm your toes 🙂

Additional note: Money where my mouth is again – I have my new Jotul one sitting patiently in it’s box waiting to be installed and couldn’t be more excited by the prospect of a real fire here at home 🙂

This might be a useful link if you’re thinking of getting a wood-burner.

Let me know if you’ve done any of these things or are planning to! x

4 thoughts on “How Do I: Make My Home More Eco-Friendly

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  1. We are planning on lifting our original floorboards and insulting between the joists. Worried that too many of the floorboards are going to get wrecked though – what is the best way to bring them up when planning on re-laying them? If too many get wrecked and we need to put down new boards, then we might do UFH while we are there – but then it’s getting even more expensive, albeit the end result would be much nicer. How much difference will floor insulation make though – enough that we don’t feel the need for UFH too?

    1. It’s very hard to lift tongue and groove flooring without damaging it, slow and careful is the only real advice. If you do damage the ‘tongues’, they can be sliced off and the boards just butted up neatly together when re-laid, especially if you are insulating underneath. UFH is expensive, there’s no two ways about it, and quite complex with suspended timber floors unless you are doing a complete rip-out and renovation as we did. Insulating is a great idea but do make sure you still allow a good flow of air underneath using air-bricks to outside to prveent any moisture build up. I know – there’s a lot to think about isn’t there! If you’re local to Mcr and need advice on site, get in touch x

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