7 Easy Ways to Be a More Environmentally-Friendly Home Owner
Before COVID-19 struck last year, the focus on protecting our planet was growing in strength1. Nonetheless, despite 2020 being the year when most things got put on pause, research2 has shown that the pandemic actually heightened people’s concerns over the urgency of climate change. It seems the health of our population has led people to reflect upon the interdependent relationship we have with our environment, and 70% of those surveyed stated they were more aware of the threat we pose.
Taking care of our planet’s health is a responsibility for us all; one we need to undertake for future generations. However, embracing a more sustainable approach does not have to mean a complete life overhaul. There are some easy adjustments you can make to do your bit. To inspire you, Granite and TREND Transformations have compiled a list of 7 simple things you can do to become a more environmentally friendly homeowner.
1) Reface instead of replace
We’ve written previously about the significant impact building and construction has on the environment. As it accounts for more than 35% of global final energy use and nearly 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions3, we’re keen to make a difference in this area.
If you are looking for a kitchen or bathroom makeover, perhaps consider updating it rather than replacing it. With our ‘top that fits on top’, you can still achieve a high-quality, luxury finish to your room without having to start again from scratch. Our etherium® by E-stone surfaces are made bespoke to your requirements and fit directly onto existing structures, such as worktops, splashbacks and flooring. This approach means fewer manufacturing processes, a significant reduction in builders’ waste and less upheaval for you. In fact, often our surfaces can be installed in less than a day.
Our etherium® by E-stone surfaces not only look beautiful but are hard-wearing too, meaning they’ll stay that way for years to come. We offer surfaces to suit traditional, classic and contemporary kitchen and bathroom styles, made of the highest quality quartz, granite and recycled glass. Using innovative manufacturing processes, we incorporate recycled, post-industrial and post-consumer material into our surfaces. And by building up subtle layers, the finished product has a stunning blend of colours and patterns, creating a one-of-a-kind piece for you to enjoy.
We also apply our ‘top that fits on top’ technique to our kitchen cupboards, refacing your kitchen doors, rather than replacing the whole unit to create an elegant new look for your kitchen with a lot less hassle and environmental waste.
2) Save energy and water with more efficient appliances
With cooking accounting for an average 13.8% of electricity demands in UK homes and freezing or cooling taking an additional 16.8%, on average4, this is an area where you can make a significant difference. White goods, such as dishwashers, fridges and ovens, have to display their energy efficiency rating by law. Ratings range from A+++ to G, (although this is soon to be revised and simplified5). Selecting more energy-efficient appliances will help the environment and save you money on your household bills. Granite and TREND Transformation offer a wide range of kitchen appliances to complement your kitchen style, specially selected from trusted suppliers for their exceptional reliability and functionality.
3) Cut down on energy usage
Don’t worry if a new oven or fridge is not currently on the agenda. There are other simple things you can do to reduce the energy used by your appliances while saving money too.
Other than fridges or freezers, make sure you turn off your appliances at the socket or unplug them completely. Any device, such as washing machines, microwaves or televisions, will use up valuable energy if left on standby.
Check which light bulbs you are using and next time you need to buy some more, choose the eco-friendlier options. LED light bulbs are more energy-efficient compared to their traditional counterparts. Although they are more expensive initially, their lower energy use and lifespan (around 25 years) mean they could soon save you up to £70 per year6.
Turn down your thermostat by one degree, and you could be kinder to the environment and save as much as £80 per year7. The average temperature for a thermostat in a UK household is 20°C, although many people select a much higher setting. Of course, keeping warm, especially in winter, is a priority. However, anything between 19 and 22°C is regarded as comfortable8, and just one degree lower will make a significant environmental impact over time.
Wash clothes on a cooler cycle
Lowering the temperature of your wash cycle will use less energy. The Energy Saving Trust9 advises that washing clothes at 30°C, rather than higher temperatures, will save around 40% of the energy used each year. You’ll also find newer washing machines offer a 20°C washing cycle but check with the manufacturer first to see for what items this is suitable.
At Granite and TREND Transformations, we have a long-standing commitment to sustainability and hold a number of certifications that recognise the value of our eco-friendly products and services. By refacing and re-utilising existing structures, our installation methods allow over 22 million lbs (9,821 tonnes) of waste to be diverted from landfill, annually. And by placing a continual focus on improving our processes’ efficiencies, using less energy, raw materials and natural resources, we can feel confident that we’re doing our bit to take care of our planet too.
4) Investing in insulation
A properly insulated home will deliver significant energy savings. For example, you can lose an estimated 25% of heat10 through the roof of an uninsulated house. However, small changes can make a difference too. Draught-proofing your home by blocking unwanted gaps that let warm air escape is a cheap but effective way of keeping your house warm and saving energy. It could also save around £20 per year. If you are looking at a DIY option, be aware of areas that require proper ventilation, such as the kitchen or bathroom where moisture is produced.
5) Eco-friendly cleaning products
Using cleaning products with harsh chemicals can do more harm than good. The toxic ingredients used to kill bacteria can get into the air and water, causing pollution to our ecosystems. Instead, choose natural, non-toxic cleaning products that still do a satisfactory job of cleaning your surfaces, without harming the environment.
Our etherium® by E-stone surfaces are non-porous and easy to maintain, requiring just warm soapy water or a mild household cleaner for a thorough clean. All our surfaces also have built-in Microban® protection, incorporated during the manufacturing process. This antimicrobial technology creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria, inhibiting their growth and reproduction. While not a substitute for regular cleaning, Microban® product protection keeps surfaces cleaner between cleans and lasts for the product’s lifetime.
6) Recycling and buying the recycled
Recycling our waste means less energy is used to source and process raw materials, leading to lower carbon emissions and reducing the amount of waste going into landfill.
Buying recycled goods is another way to promote sustainability. Making products from recycled materials requires less energy and avoids using already depleted natural resources. As pioneers in promoting environmentally friendly processes, we regularly use recycled materials and upcycle to create our high-quality, beautiful products. Our most up-to-the-minute product lines contain up to 72% post-consumer recycled content.
7) Reduce water waste
Using less water for everyday tasks is something we can all easily do to lead a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Opt for a shower rather than a bath, turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth and don’t overfill the kettle or pots when boiling water. Making sure the washing machine or dishwasher is full before running is also an excellent way of saving water and energy. Additionally, you can also fit a water-saving ‘hippo’ to your toilet cistern, cutting the amount of water used at each flush.
There are many simple strategies you can implement in your home to become a more environmentally friendly home-owner. From more sustainable makeovers to energy efficient light bulbs and recycling your waste, if we all do our bit, we can have a clear conscience that we are looking after the environment for future generations.
To find out more about Granite and TREND Transformations’ eco-friendly approach to home design, please get in contact with our team.
1 Climate Policy Watcher, The Growth Of Environmental Awareness, January 2021.
2 Nicolas Kachaner et al., BCG, The Pandemic Is Heightening Environmental Awareness, July, 2020.
3 United Nations Environment, Global Status Report, 2017.
4 Energy Saving Trust, Top five tips to save energy in the kitchen, October 2018.
5 Top Ten UK, The new energy label, 2021
6 TheGreenAge, Lighting Choices: How to Choose the Best Eco-Friendly Light Bulbs, May 2019.
7 Uswitch, PR Newswire, UK Households Could Save £1.4bn By Turning Thermostats Down By Just 1°c, October 2020.
8 Stephen Marcus, OVO Energy, What’s the ideal room temperature for your home?, December 2020
9 Energy Saving Trust, Save Energy in Your Home, June 2017
10 Energy Saving Trust, Energy at home, Reducing home heat loss, 2021
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