A modern luxury home is a wonderful place to live, built to perfection to comprise bright, airy spaces and open-plan layouts and stylishly decorated to within an inch of its life. Better yet, they more often than not come with all the mod-cons – and if you haven’t got an Aga, an outdoor hot tub, your own gym and a heated indoor pool, then is it even luxury at all?
There is a downside to all of this though, and luxury often comes at a price. Outdoor lighting, heated floors and that surround-sound cinema room all consume a lot of energy – and while that may not be a problem for your pocket, it doesn’t bode quite so well for the environment.
Thankfully, it is possible to live a lavish lifestyle in a more sustainable way, and considering how and when you use the most energy will help you to make the small adjustments needed to reduce your carbon footprint. To help you get started on your journey towards eco-conscious living, we’ve pulled together some simple tips you can implement this year.
Insulate the ground floor
If your house is of the older variety, you may be losing as much as 10% of heat through your floor – so it pays to have it insulated, in more ways than one. If you have suspended floorboards, these can be easily lifted so that wool insulation can be laid underneath. Have some spray foam applied into any gaps, too, so ensure you have a good seal.
Always check credentials, and find a fitter who belongs to the National Insulation Association to ensure a high standard of work.
Assess your office
If you have a home office, assess your set-up and look at how much energy is being used in there each day. If you have an air conditioning unit or a server, you could be consuming considerable amounts of energy costing thousands – so look for other ways to reduce this by unplugging appliances that are not being used and turning computers off standby at night.
Drafts can instantly make a home feel colder when outdoor temperatures are low, encouraging you to turn the heating up just that little bit more. But rather than reaching straight for the boiler control, have those gaps sealed up first.
Stop up your chimney when it’s not being used, as this can cause one of the biggest drafts in your home. It’s possible to buy specialised balloons designed for the job, and will make a huge difference.
If you’ve already filled in any gaps in the floors, then purchase draft excluders to place along any exterior doors to keep the heat in.
Upgrade your windows
If you live in an older building, your single-glazed windows may well be the source of drafts, so look to have these replaced with new windows that are rated A+ by the independent British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC).
If rules allow, opt for double-glazing with a robust weatherproof seal. The more airtight your home, the more effective the envelope – and the warmer and more energy efficient your home will be.
Bleed your radiators
Radiators can soon become effective due to a build-up of air inside, so be sure to bleed them annually to ensure they are working at full capacity. How will you know when it’s time? When they start to make odd noises or gurgle – it’s a sure sign there is some air that needs to be released.
Bleeding is a simple enough practice that can be done using a radiator key. Be sure to keep one on hand in your home for when needed, and switch the heating off before you start.
Make your kitchen appliances work harder
If you’re using the oven to cook dinner anyway, then why not make use of the heat? Leaving the oven door open once you’ve finished will allow warmth to seep into your home, reducing the need to turn the heating up.
Keep your fridge and freezer working at full capacity by having the cooling pipes behind them cleaned annually. This will mean that you don’t have to keep turning the temperature down even further to chill or freeze food as required.
By making a few small adjustments to your home, you can easily create a more energy efficient space – and best of all, you won’t even feel deprived. It’s worth the effort to know that you’re doing your bit to help our planet, and will allow you to continue enjoying your luxurious lifestyle to the full.