So I am now a homeowner! For the very first time, we live in a house that is ours to paint, furnish and generally mess about with to our hearts’ content. You’d think we’d feel more like grown-ups, but so far I feel pretty much the same, just a lot more broke! But it’s very exciting – I’ve been frustrated so many times in our rental flats with the draughty windows, poor insulation, fume-ridden paint jobs and flimsy furniture. And now we have our own little hobbit house of a cottage and the draughty windows, mould, broken bits and everything else are ours to deal with. Suddenly it seems a whole lot harder…
The house is pretty old (1880) and whilst it has been decorated and restored very nicely, it has an energy efficiency rating that could make a dodgy diesel car look like a battery-powered Tesla car! And being the eco-fiend I am, that ain’t going to do. Long term, the plan is to get the roof and floors insulated, see what we can do with the old pre-cavity insulation walls, install a grey water system, get some veggies growing in the garden…the list goes on and on.
But straight away, in the first couple of weeks we have been able to make a few quick wins for relatively little cash and I can already feel the difference. Hurrah! They are:
Curtains – big, fat, thick floor-length curtains installed over the front and back doors have cut down the drafts considerably and stopped heat loss through the glass as well. Actually, the curtains are so very long that I think I’ll be able to use the off-cuts to make draft excluders too, double win.
Pipe insulation – when I was a child, I thought that those foam tubes (that I have since learned can help keep your water pipes cosy) were for balancing across the walls of the hallway to make jumps for us to pretend to be horses. Turns out they aren’t strictly for that, although if you have a spare one or two left over…
Chimney balloons – when not in use, an open chimney is essentially a nice little wind tunnel straight into your living area, it turns out. Give or take the face full of soot on installation, this chimney balloon has been completely awesome. Between this and the curtains, the room has gone from distinctly chilly to really rather toasty.
Bubblestream Tap Aerator – I think this might be my favourite gadget so far. It’s a little metal thingy that you attach to the end of your kitchen tap which mixes air in with the water stream. The stream feels just as powerful, but the air bubbles mean much less water is used. It also has a rotating head, meaning you can direct the water where needed, and also a ‘shower’ style function for rinsing more efficiently. It’s life changing. Seriously. (What’s that? I need to get out more? No way, I’m at home playing with the kitchen tap.)
We’re awaiting a visit from Anglia Water who come round to your house to do a water efficiency survey and can fit other water-saving bits and pieces for free, so hopefully we can get something for the shower to aerate the water then as well. Different water companies offer different perks, so visit www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk/free-water-saving-packs to see what’s available in your area.
Bokashi and compost bin – ok, this one is kind of cheating because it hasn’t arrived yet. I was pretty surprised to find out our new council doesn’t offer food waste collection, so we will have to become composters pretty quickly. Luckily, similar to water saving, if you visit www.getcomposting.com and enter your postcode, they’ll show you a range of special offer deals available where you. We have two bokashi bins and a big compost bin for the back garden winging their way to us as we speak.
So, that’s about where we’re up to so far. Expect more posts to come on the following topics:
How upcycling second-hand furniture is more difficult than it looks on Pinterest.
How, despite a year of decluttering, we seem to have SO MUCH STUFF! How did this happen?
What tips do you have for quick and easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly? Please share in the comments!