Brits Shown to Favor Green Home Improvements

Eco-friendly home improvements appear to be increasingly sought-after by Britons, it has been reported.

In research carried out by Legal & General as a part of its ongoing Changing Face of British Homes study, it was revealed that making greener changes to lifestyles is an evermore popular option for members of the public. The study showed that some 37 per cent of people have installed either draught-proofing or double glazing. Meanwhile, 25 per cent of respondents were shown to have fitted additional loft insulation.

For those consumers looking for an effective way to carry out eco-friendly improvements to their property, such as double-glazing and loft insulation, taking out a low-cost home loan may be useful.

The study also showed that just under three-quarters of Britons use low-energy light bulbs, with 23 per cent of respondents looking to recycle rain water. Making sure electrical appliances are not left on standby and making use of reusable shopping bags were also revealed to be popular eco-friendly lifestyle changes. Meanwhile, recycling rubbish was indicated as the most sought-after means in which people lead a greener lifestyle. Overall, 98 per cent of people claimed to be taking steps to improve their environmental efficiency.

However, it appears a significant number of Britons only want to make environmentally-friendly changes when it suits them, with more than half of those questioned said to be unhappy about being charged for waste removal services. An estimated 23 per cent are said to be irked at having to pay for plastic carrier bags at supermarkets and shops.

Commenting on the figures, Ruth Wilkins, head of communications for Legal & General’s general insurance business, said: “While people are annoyed by the implementation of green initiatives the efforts being made to force residents to recycle more of their rubbish are beginning to pay off, with recycling rates jumping from seven per cent to 33 per cent in the past ten years. Legal & General’s recent research would support these findings as the Changing Face of British Homes research shows that a large number of us are taking steps to become greener. Brits simply want to make their own decisions regarding how and when to be green.”

Ms Wilkins went on to report that it is important for those homeowners thinking about carrying out major improvements to their property which are of an environmentally-friendly nature “to check their insurance cover to make sure they are covered under the terms of their policy”.

For consumers wishing to renovate their house – and at the same time help take steps to save the environment – applying for a homeowner loan could be useful. In obtaining this kind of home loan it may be possible that the cost of installing eco-friendly improvements – such as cavity wall insulation, biomass heaters, draught proofing and solar heating panels – can be met quickly and affordably. Indeed borrowing for the purposes of financing home improvements could be rising in popularity after a recent Lloyds TSB study revealed a 19 per cent increase in loan applications for such purposes this month in comparison to August 2007.

Some Tips for Green Home Improvement

Today, people are realizing how important it is to keep our environment healthy. They do not want to waste their hard-earned money by living in an inefficient home. This is the reason why most homeowners, nowadays, are keen to improve their house and make it greener. Going green does not necessarily mean making drastic changes in the house. Even simple alterations can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your house. Listed below are some useful green home improvement tips that can help you make your property environment friendly.

* Maintain a nice herb garden. The good part is that it would not take up much space. So, you do not need to be a skilled gardener for maintaining it. There are a lot of herbs that can be easily grown indoors, which means that, even if you do not have enough outdoor space, you can still enjoy the flavor of home-grown herbs. Herbs, like mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, chives and marjoram, can be planted in cute small pots and lined up with the kitchen windowsill. By doing so, you can always have the basic herbs within your reach, anytime you need. In addition, the aroma which it would bring to your kitchen would be an added advantage.

* Paper and plastic bags, that are used by the stores, cause a lot of environmental issues, right from overflowing landfills and oil consumption to soil pollution and more. Investing in reusable bags is the best possible way for avoiding these problems. You can use the reusable bags while going out to shop for groceries, clothes, equipment or any other stuff.

* Paying the bills online is also a step towards saving the planet. If you pay the bills online, then you not only save your time but also the environment, by lessening the amount of paper which is used for the monthly statements. So, always have all your bills sent at your email address and not at your letterbox at home.

* If you have those old traditional light bulbs at home, then replace them with CFLs. CFL bulbs are more durable and energy-efficient than the ordinary incandescent bulbs. Thus, if you switch to CFL light bulbs, then you would surely save a lot of money by cutting back the energy consumption.

* Buy green home products. Apart from being safe for the environment, eco-friendly products also benefit people by saving their money. Moreover, by using these products, you would not be exposed to toxic chemicals, which in turn would reduce health issues. In short, by switching to environment friendly products you get, not one or two, but a lot of benefits.

So, follow these green home improvement tips and play your role towards Mother Nature as a responsible citizen. None of the above listed tips would cost you much. Making slight changes in your lifestyle would do the trick. So, make the most of these ideas by implementing them and enjoy their financial and health benefits.

5 Hot Water Heater Options for Green Home Improvement

If you’re remodeling your home, thinking about the water heater might seem rather dull. However, this is one place where a home renovation can save you money. Here are some descriptions of energy efficient water heaters.

Gas Heaters: If you want to go with a traditional gas water heater, choose one that is Energy Star certified, guaranteeing the most efficient technology. They are slightly more expensive than less efficient models, but it is estimated you gain back this money in fewer than three years.

Tankless Heaters: Conventional heaters use energy 24/7 to keep your water hot, even when you’re not using it. Tankless or demand heaters heat the water as it flows through the pipes, so it only heats what you need. This creates a substantial savings on energy costs. Demand models provide hot water continuously, so you don’t have to worry about it running out. They are also quite a bit smaller than conventional tank heaters and some can be installed outside, saving space indoors. They make an ideal home improvement project because they have a life expectancy of 20 years, far more than conventional heaters.

Heat Pump Heaters: A new technology, electric heat pump water heaters could save the typical family quite a bit each year when compared to a standard electric heater. They work similarly to heat pumps that are used for heating and air conditioning purposes and combine with your HVAC system. They work by drawing in warm outside air to heat the water, so they are only effective in warm climates. Homeowners can recoup the higher initial investment over time. (Most estimates are around three years.)

Gas Condensing Heaters: This is an even newer technology, only introduced in 2010. Using more efficient heat exchangers to capture heat from the fuel source, gas condensing water heaters can shave 30 percent off your energy bills and reduce your carbon dioxide emissions. Greater efficiency allows them to provide a continuous stream of hot water, so you don’t have to worry if you’re the last one to shower!

Solar Heaters: Solar heaters can cut your water heating bill and your carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent compared to an electric heater. This is the equivalent of not driving your car four months a year; a solar heater’s average lifespan is 20 years, much longer than that of a traditional gas or electric heater. Although solar heaters take 5-10 years to pay for themselves, you can offset this cost with a federal tax credit. Enterprising do-it-yourselfers can save thousands by building their own systems.