By James Strawbridge, eco-campaigner, TV presenter and author
James is working for our client BFRC, the regulatory body for energy efficient windows, as the face of the look for the label campaign (see Top Tip 1 below).
Borough PR is bringing you this article (soon to be seen in homes and interiors pages around the UK) in our role as experts in homes and interiors PR, building trade PR, and not to mention environmental PR. Please read, digest and feel free to share.
1. Energy efficient windows
Heating bills can cost a fortune and fuel prices are only going to increase. One very effective way to reduce your bills and make your house worth more is to replace your old windows with more efficient rated windows. Energy efficient windows are a no-brainer! Look for the BFRC energy rating label – that looks just like the energy efficiency labels on all household appliances – and rates the window from ‘A’ (most efficient) to ‘C’. By making the switch to a well rated window you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint in the process. To find your nearest installer of energy efficient windows visit the website – www.bfrc.org
2. Insulate your Loft
Insulation is another way to reduce the amount of heat escaping from your home in the colder months. I’d recommend doing it yourself to save money but make sure that you put up at least 270mm thickness.
3. Energy Monitors
Working out how much electricity you currently use in your house is the best way to start reducing it. The best gadget out there is an energy monitor that displays how many KW/hrs you use at any moment, how much CO2 you are producing, and how much money you are spending. Some good models are available to buy at my online shop - www.practicalselfsufficiency.co.uk
4. Green Electricity Tariff
One of the easiest changes to make in your home or business is to switch to a green electricity tariff. Check out Ecotricity or Good Energy - both are competitively priced and supply energy from renewable sources.
5. Solar PV
The most glamorous of green technologies has to be solar power! You can generate your own electricity with a Solar PV system, also known as ‘photovoltaics’. They are more efficient than ever and now is a good time to instal them as the government’s feed-in tariff is still available.
If your water usage is metered then you can cut usage in minutes every time you flush the loo by making a ‘Hippo’. Simply take a small plastic water bottle and cut the top off. Lift the lid of your cistern, flush the loo and place the cup-shaped bottle into the empty cistern so that it sits on the bottom. Put a small stone in it to keep it upright and replace the lid of the cistern. When the new system fills up it will use less water and you’ll be saving money!
7. Get Organised!
Put your recycling in a bin that has different sections for different sorts of waste. Its much tidier.
Composting is an eco-activity that is growing in popularity. Now there’s no need for unsightly heaps – use one of the small, well-designed, stackable wormeries from Bubblehouse Worms because you can also plant in the top of it! www.bubblehouseworms.com
If you have a decent sized garden then you’ve got to get a couple of hens. For more information go to the British Hen Welfare Trust http://www.bhwt.org.uk/
10. Build a cold frame
The problem with growing your own veg is the weather. You can protect your produce with a cold frame made from an old window on a raised wooden frame.
It tells you how on this website - www.allotment.org.uk/greenhouse-growing/build-coldframe.php
‘Practical Self Sufficiency – The Complete Guide to Sustainable Living’ by James and Dick Strawbridge is available in all good book stores.