The Natural History Museum explains that a person is carbon neutral “if they balance the carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere with the amount they absorb or remove from the atmosphere.”
Residential properties alone contribute between 17-21% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions, according to a BBC article. Fortunately, though, there are various cost-effective ways a home can be improved in order to facilitate a carbon neutral lifestyle.
Replace products and appliances with more energy-efficient alternatives
Your home probably has a wealth of electrical items – from kettles to washing machines – on which you have come to heavily rely.
However, if you have any such items that were originally bought quite a while ago, it could be worthwhile for you to upgrade. That’s because many modern products and appliances for the home have been made with energy efficiency very much in mind.
Insulate your roof and loft
How much insulation is already up there? The answer could be: surprisingly little! Many lofts, including some that have been converted, tend to leak a lot of heat due to a lack of insulation.
In many homes, as much as 25% of the property’s heat is lost through the roof, according to HSBC. It’s reassuring, then, that roof insulation grants are available for helping homeowners to keep more heat in their attic rooms.
Plug other sources of heat leakage in your home
HSBC has also indicated that, often, 35% of a home’s heat escapes through the walls, while windows, doors and the floor are collectively responsible for 40% of a property’s heat loss.
Encouragingly, you can tackle an array of unwanted gaps by insulating your home’s ground floor and walls and double or triple glazing the windows.
Generate more energy from renewable sources
Through arranging for renewable energy systems to be installed at your home, you can help it to lessen its reliance on fossil fuels.
For example, you could have a solar PV system put in place, enabling you to produce electricity from sunlight. Another option would be an air source heat pump, which works by fetching heat that naturally occurs in the air.
Use sustainable building materials for home improvement projects
Shocking though it may be, about 10% of global energy-related emissions are caused by materials used in construction and maintenance of buildings.
It would therefore be in your carbon footprint’s interest for you to abandon emissions-heavy concrete and bricks in favour of more eco-friendly alternatives. These include timber, hemp, cork, bamboo and straw bales, with any organically grown materials capable of locking in carbon.
Where possible, use building materials you already have
This would obviously be a win for your bank balance – and also be good for sustainability, as the process of creating new materials itself produces carbon emissions.
So, if you want to demolish, say, a garage or extension, look into carefully deconstructing it instead so that materials like bricks could be reused elsewhere at your residence. Meanwhile, non-reusable steel beams can be melted down and turned into new, usable steel beams.