The carbon footprint of British homes
The challenge posed by climate change has forced the government into drastic action and it has set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 80 per cent by 2050. You may think achieving the target depends on big companies, but as it is estimated that more than a quarter of emissions come from domestic properties, it is clear that everyone will have to take steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their homes.
If you are interested in the environment and informed about the impact of climate change, you will probably have already begun moves to limit your carbon emissions. But even if you are not green-minded, you will find there are good reasons to cut your carbon footprint - not least that you can make sizeable inroads into your energy bills.
What is a home's carbon footprint?
Put simply, your home's carbon footprint is a measure of its greenhouse gas emissions. There are six different greenhouse gases, but you will normally see all figures expressed in terms of carbon emissions.
To work out your property's carbon footprint you will need to calculate your emissions from things like heating, hot water and electrical and electronic appliances. Don't worry too much about working out the figures yourself, as there are several online carbon footprint calculators available.
In an ideal world, everybody would own a carbon neutral property, meaning they do enough to counteract the impact of their emissions. This can be partly achieved by carbon offset actions, such as planting trees - but you would have to plant an awful lot of trees to make up for the emissions from an average 25-year-old house.
It makes more sense to start to cut your carbon footprint by tackling emissions or using renewable energy. If your home is older you are likely to have more work to do, as improved technology, changes to building regulations and greater awareness of environmental issues mean that modern properties often have lower carbon footprints.
The answer, however, is not to replace old housing stock with new, as retro-fitting energy-efficient features has a much smaller impact on the environment than the process of manufacturing the materials needed to construct new homes.
Instead, it is important to carry out work to bring older housing stock up to standard and ensure it is as energy efficient as possible. While some of the work may be expensive, there is a range of grants available to help people reduce the carbon footprint of their home.
What can you do to improve your home's carbon footprint?
There are lots of simple steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint, such as switching to energy-efficient appliances and using a Gas Safe-certified heating engineer to replace your boiler with an A-rated model.
Cutting heat loss is one of the most important steps in reducing your carbon footprint. Loft insulation could help you to lower your carbon emissions by 800kg a year, cavity wall insulation by 610kg and double glazing by 720kg. Having this work carried out to a high standard will also enable you to reduce your energy bills by hundreds of pounds a year.
As well as taking steps to reduce your carbons emissions, you can also improve your carbon footprint by generating some of your own energy from renewable sources. Using solar panels to generate electricity or heat your home's water is one of the simplest ways to do this. However, installing the panels is not a DIY job and you will need a qualified electrician to undertake the work.
Other options for reducing your carbon footprint by generating your own energy include domestic wind turbines and wood-fuelled heating systems. Some choices may require planning permission, so make sure you do your research before starting work on a project.
How can Rated People help you to reduce your carbon footprint?
Although there are simple measures you can take to help cut your home's carbon footprint, many of the home improvement and energy efficiency projects will require the help of skilled tradesmen. Rated People can simplify the process of finding reputable tradesmen with the skills you need in your area.
Just register with the site and post details of the work you need undertaken. Rated People will introduce you to a selection of suitable tradesmen who will provide quotes for the project.
Before making a decision about your choice of tradesman, you will be able to read recommendations and ratings from other people who have used them, helping you to ensure you select someone who you can trust to do a good job.
A dishwasher is a great investment for all types of home; if you have a family to look after, a dishwasher might cut the number of daily tasks around the home, while busy couples who spend a lot of time at work can relax in the evenings, letting the dishwasher tackle dirty crockery.
It can be easy to take your central heating and hot water system for granted, but you need to make sure you care for it if you want to be certain that it will continue working at its optimum level. This is why regular boiler services are so important.
If you need to hire an electrician to carry out some work to your property, it's imperative you ensure they are properly qualified to carry out the job in question. Many electricians will be happy to show you their certificates, but you might not know what you should be looking out for.
With utility bills on the rise, savvy homeowners are looking for simple ways to reduce their expenditure - and changing the kinds of lights you use in your property is just one option if you want to save some cash on your monthly electricity bills.
Building your own home can be incredibly rewarding, and there are many chances for you to get involved in the process. However, you will need some expert assistance to ensure the scheme is completed to a high standard and meets the required regulations.
If you are thinking of revamping your property - or even just a single room - there's nothing that makes a statement quite like new wooden flooring. If you are wondering whether this is the way to go, read our guide to wood floors and tips for fitting them.
If you are concerned about the state of the wiring in your home, it may be time to get it looked at by a professional and completely overhaul your electrical system. This is not a quick or easy job though, so make sure it is one that definitely needs to be done.
With the nights closing in and the weather beginning to get colder, now is the perfect time to think about your central heating. It might not be the most exciting prospect, but it's important if you want to have a cosy, warm home throughout the winter.
When it comes to decorating your home and having the best end result possible, you need do a bit more than just slap on a new coat of paint or re-paper the walls. If you don't have a good base to start with, nothing will look as great as it could.
The power of kerb appeal should never be overlooked. Not only can a poor property facade cause visitors to form a negative opinion of your house before they have even stepped inside, but it can also strip value off it and put off potential buyers.
In order to ensure your house is in the best condition it can be, there are a few maintenance jobs well worth doing - and summer is the perfect time to do them as the days are long and the weather is good. Read on to learn more.
Part of the beauty of owning a property is being able to get stuck into a renovation and transform the house you have bought into a home that is perfect for you. However, while DIY can be fun, it is worth contacting the professionals on some occasions.
Vintage is big news in interior design at the moment and no matter what age your property is, you can achieve it. From investing in retro furniture to having a heating engineer install an antique-looking gas fire, you may find it's easier than you think to create.
Moving into a new property is a significant task and once you have unpacked the final box of your belongings, you may be keen to simply collapse on the sofa with a takeaway pizza. However, there are a few tradesmen you should call during the first week in your home.
If you're fed up of high energy bills and worried about the effect your home is having on the environment, there are people you can consult to help you change this. From roofers to gas engineers, there are several tradesmen qualified to make houses greener.
Do you fancy yourself as a property developer? If you would love nothing more than to rise to the challenge of converting an existing building, there is a lot to think about to be sure you will succeed in your ambition - far more than simply when to hire the builders.
When it comes to home decorating, selecting the flooring might seem like a far more straightforward job than choosing new soft furnishings and coming up with a colour scheme. However, thanks to the wealth of options available, it can take more time than you think.
Your home is your castle - and therefore it is wise to make sure it is as well defended as a fort. After all, this is where most of your valuable items are stored, so calling a security specialist could provide you with extra peace of mind that your house is protected.
Although it may be cold outside and therefore you aren't using your garden at present, there are numerous jobs you can do to ensure it is in top condition as soon as spring rolls around. Here are a few suggestions of some tasks you can take on.
From floor tiles to hardwood, the list of materials you can use as flooring in your home is seemingly endless. If you are considering updating your interior by laying a new floor, it is important you thoroughly research the process. Read on for our guide.
A plumbing disaster can be just about the worst emergency you have in your home but should one occur it is vital that you do not panic, as there are some steps that you can take to prevent the problem getting worse. The very first is to contact some emergency plumbers.
Losing a loved one is hard and one of the toughest experiences we ever have to go through. Having a place in your own garden where you can go whenever you simply feel like remembering them is a good way of keeping their memory alive and honouring their passing.
There are so many occasions when you may find you benefit from the expertise of a metal working expert, both inside and outside your home.
Your home is likely to be your most valuable possession, which is why it makes sense to keep it secure.
Home renovation projects can be some of the most fulfilling ventures you undertake, but they can also involve a lot of time and money. For tips on how to restyle your home for less, read on.
Owning and managing your own shop can be a fulfilling experience enabling you to be your own boss. But before you start thinking about the decor of the premises or speaking with a security specialist there are a few things you must consider.
When you decide to throw yourself into a home improvement project you want to be sure of the best possible outcome, which may prompt you to hire professionals to help out like builders in the UK - but just how do you go about finding them?
If you fancy yourself as something of an amateur kitchen designer, it is likely that you dream of having an ultra-modern cooking space within your home.
It is always important to look after your home, but never more so than during winter. So, if you're looking for advice on how to weatherproof your property, read on.
There is nothing better than splashing about in your very own water hole during the warm months of the summer, but come winter the top priority will be swimming pool maintenance.
There is nothing worse than arriving home from a two-week holiday to discover that a burst pipe has caused extensive water damage to your property, but aside from contacting an emergency plumber to get the leak fixed, what else can you do?
New bathroom installations are one of the most popular ways of transforming your home - but if you want to ensure that the project is finished to the highest standard possible then there are a few things you must keep in mind before you start.
Designing your own property from the ground up can be a dream come true for many people but being in a position where you can call in luxury home builders is even better.
There is a time in every household where almost overnight it seems as though there is no longer the space you need in your home for your growing family, but moving can be an expensive option.
There are a number of improvements that can add value to your home and few more so than a makeover of the attic, which could have you looking for your nearest loft conversion specialists!
Every year when the weather improves, you may find yourself keen to get hold of some gardening tips in order to create a desirable outdoor space that you and your family can spend time in.
Boiler servicing is one of the most important jobs you can have carried out in your home and is something that you should never attempt yourself.
Fitting complete kitchens is a big job and no matter what your level of DIY expertise, there will be a point where you will need to contact the professionals - although you can still have a go at doing much of the work yourself.
Drainage is an important consideration while a property is under construction and maintaining and looking after your drains is vital to ensure they last for many years - and that your home does not become damaged by water.
It is easy to forget that the home extends outside of the walls of your property and with this in mind, you may wish to make garden design a focus of any improvement ambitions you have.
In recent years, you may have read and heard a lot about the digital switchover currently underway in the UK.
Your property is one of the best assets you have for showing off your own tastes and personality and this could prompt you to consider hiring a professional when it comes to choosing a decorative scheme for it.
Converting your garage into an office is a great idea if you want to be able to spend more time working from home - and you are sure to be able to find a builder who has worked on a similar project before.
Home improvement jobs such as decorating can seem overwhelming when you don't know where to start.
If you want to make substantial changes to your home then rather than tackling the job yourself, you will need the services of professional tradesmen.
If you've ever thought about starting an organic garden, you may feel overwhelmed with all your choices. What vegetables will you grow?
If you are looking for a way to maximise your living space without packing up and moving to a bigger property.
Solar heating systems work in a similar way, except that the energy captured is used to heat water rather than to produce electricity.
If you're keen to cut your property's carbon footprint and save money on your energy bills, double glazing could be a great way.
If you are planning to undertake some DIY work in your home, you may need to do a bit of research when it comes to building regulations.
When it comes to carrying out a home improvement project - or even a larger-scale home remodelling - it is easy to get in over your head!
If you're planning a home improvement project that involves repairs to your roof or a loft conversion, you may wish to turn to a professional for help.
When the winter sets in and the temperatures plummet, you may find yourself keeping the central heating on for longer as you attempt to stay warm.
If it's high time your property had a makeover, something you'll need to give careful consideration to when planning any work is the various ways of financing home improvements.
Rising fuel prices and climate change means the topic of energy efficiency is on many people's minds at the moment.
When it comes to replacing a boiler, you will be able to find a professional who will do the work in next to no time.
Indeed, converting the garage into a living room, dining room or using it to extend an existing room - such as the kitchen.
Carrying out home improvements on your property - such as replacing pipes, fitting a new heater and installing a bathroom suite - can be a daunting task.
At the first sign of warm weather, gardeners often rush out to prepare their lawns, allotments, vegetable patches and flowerbeds for the summer ahead.
You might have a number of reasons for wanting to renovate your property. Perhaps there are a few repair jobs that need fixing.
If you are looking for ways to make your property more eco-friendly, there are a number of options you can consider.
Are you looking for flooring that is both affordable and stylish? Armstrong vinyl flooring could be the ideal solution.
Most new build properties and many older buildings now feature double glazing, whether it be throughout the property in the form of windows or used to the rear or side of a house in a conservatory.
We all dream of living in a stylishly decorated, light and spacious new home like one that we may have seen on television or in the pages of a glossy magazine but tight budgets mean this isn't always possible.
If you are toying with the idea of a home remodelling plan, it is likely that the bathroom is the room you wish to start in.
If you are planning a green home improvement project this year then you will certainly not be alone.
Green home improvement is a much-discussed topic at the moment, allowing you both to save money and do your bit for the environment.
Insulating your property can be a green home improvement that benefits not just your pocket, but also the planet.
If you are looking for a home improvement project that will be practical and give your rooms a whole new look then why not invest in new wood flooring?
Embarking on a home improvement project can seem daunting and costly, but there are plenty of ways to brighten up your property without breaking the bank.
In today's society, sustainability, energy efficiency and carbon footprint are increasingly becoming buzzwords as more people look to the benefits of green home improvement in an effort to do their bit to help the planet.