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Being green doesn’t just save the environment, but can also save you money
Wood burner – approximate saving = 10 percent off your gas bill a year
Wind turbine – approximate save = £200 a year
Loft insulation – approximaate saving = £180 a year
Double glazing – approximate saving = £170 a year
Floor insulation – approximate saving = £50 a year
Geothermal heat pump – approximate saving = £700 a year
Air to water pump – approximate saving = £700 a year
Solid wall insulation – approximate saving = £460 a year
Greenhouse – approximate saving = varies on use
Vegetable garden – approximate saving = varies on use
Watter butt – approximate saving = £10 a year
Cavity wall insulation – approximate saving = £140 a year
Solar panels – approximate saving = £645 a year
Benefits – get paid for the electricity you generate by selling surplus electric.
Maintenance – a little cleaning may be required. Professsional cleaning costs around 30
Cost – the average domestic solar PV system costs around £7,000 (including VAT).
Savings – a 3.5 kWp system generates around 3,000 kWh of electricity a year, three-quarters of a typical household’s needs. If eligible for the Feed-in Tariff scheme it could save around £645 a year (based on a 3.5 kWp solar PV system).
Benefits – get paid for the electricity you generate through feed-in tariffs (roof-fitted or free-standing).
Cost – domestic wind turbines cost between £500 and 1,000. A turbine should last 20 years, but the inverter may need changing for around £700. Maintenance every few years costs 100 to 200
Savings – on average you could save £200 a year. Savings are highly dependent on the speed and direction of the wind.
Considerations – only consider a turbine if the annual average windspeed is 6 m/s or more and there are no significant nearby objects such as buildings, trees or hills that will reduce the windspeed. Some areas may require planning permission.
Drought-proofing roof, cavity wall, solid wall and floor insulation can all reduce your carbon footprint and energy bills.
Loft insulation – cost = £300, savings = up to £180
Cavity wall insulation – cost = £450, savings = up to £140
Floor insulation – cost = 300, savings = up to £50
Solid wall insulation – cost = £7000, savings up to £460
Benefits – use rainwater to water the garden and wash your car and garden furniture.
Cost – a normal water butt costs around £30. Some UK Councils sell them at a reduced price.
Savings – you may only save money if your water is metered. However, a typical water butt will save around 5,000 litres of water a year.
Benefits – grow your own organic fruit and vegetables. Reduce your use of imported foods which cause large carbon emissions.
Cost – with the equipment needed for a vegetable garden and depending on the vegetables you wish to grow, expect to pay up to £50
Bonus tip – use old coffee, bananas and peelings to make compost
Savings – savings may be minimal once you’ve paid for cloches, netting and tools. Vegetable gardens are a good investment for those who have the time and like gardening, rather than those looking to save money.
Benefits – grow nearly any plant or flower in your own garden. Reduce reliance on air-freighted, high carbon supermarket food.
Cost – a 10′ x 6′ greenhouse will typically cost around £350 and smaller greenhouses can cost as little as £60.
Savings – savings can vary drastically depending on what you grow and your greenhouse size. It really is a labour of love in terms of the time you need to invest to make significant savings.
Geothermal heat pump
Benefits – uses the earth as a heat source (in the winter) or a heat sink (in the summer). Can be combined with solar heating to form a geo-solar system to increase efficiency.
Cost – a typical system costs around £10,000 to 17,000
Savings – you could save around £100 a year on gas bills and 600 on electric bills
Restrictions – you will need a garden suitable for digging a trench or borehole which is accessible to digging machinery.
Benefits – chance to reclaim unused wood. Reduce reliance on gas or electricity to heat your home.
Cost – wood burners retail for around £500 to 1,000 with installation a further £1,500 to 2,000. 1 m3 of wood costs £90.
Precautions – safety precautions should be taken with children. Check you’re not in a smoke control area.
Savings – savings vary depending on the size of the room, other heating, price of fuel and whether it has a back boiler providing hot water. You could save an estimated 10 percent on gas heating bills.
Benefits – reduce heat loss through windows. Reduce heating bills.
Cost – estimated cost for a semi-detached house is £5,000.
Savings – replacing all single-glazed windows with B-rated double glazing could save you around £170 per year.
Bonus tip – using heavy curtains, seated blinds and shutters can save even more by reducign drafts and heat loss.
Green household tips
Use distilled vinegar to clean – vinegar and water makes an effective multipurpose cleaner (1 part vinegar and 1 part water)
Green washing machines – use cooler temperatures to cut your electricity bills – modern washing machines are designed to be effective at cleaning at lower temperatures, requiring less energy to heat water
Reuse plastic bags – as bag liners, dog poop bags or just reuse them at the supermarket – savings aren’t huge but add up if your supermarket charges for plastic bags.
Freezers – don’t buy a freezer that’s too big for your needs. If it is more than 10 years old, consider buying a new one.
Grocery delivery – although a delivery van uses five times more carbon dioxide than a car, it can carry 20 times as much shopping – depending on how far from the store you live, you could also save money on fuel.
Line dry your laundry – using the wind to naturally dry your washing requires no energy at all – you could save more than £50 a year off energy bills.
Buy second hand – second hand furniture can save you a fortune when kitting out a new home. You’ll stop good furniture from filling up landfills.
Use sites such as eBay, Gumtree and Freecycle to find good quality furniture for bargain prices.