Earth Day: 7 eco-friendly home improvements costing from just GBP20

Earth Day, an annual global event to raise awareness about the climate crisis, is back. This year’s theme for Earth Day is Invest in Our Planet. It encourages citizens, businesses, and governments to do their part to make a difference. However, it can be difficult to know where to start. The answer is obvious. Happiness, including for the planet, begins at home. Although eco upgrades are very popular with millions of home-owners every year, they can be expensive and government schemes like the Green Homes Grant can be difficult to access. These are seven easy interior upgrades that can make a significant impact on the energy efficiency of your home. For 50 pieces, the expected cost is about GBP30. Avoid paints that contain Volatile Organic Compounds. These can trigger asthma, nausea, or other allergic reactions. Look for limewash, clay, plant based, or mineral paints. Sir Lutyens’ Sage and Invisible Green are low-VOC paints made from eco-friendly Little Greene. Handout. House of Hackney launched its first eco paint line, The Art of Nature. This range is inspired by the natural world and the notion of home as a sanctuary. The collection includes 42 colours, all based upon minerals, roots, and berries. They are low in VOCs and come with a wooden stirrer that is made from by-products. The tin and exterior packaging can also be recycled. HoH also protects 35 square meters of forest for every tin sold. This is a very expensive option, starting at GBP65 per 2.5-litre tin. Frenchic Paints, Lakeland Paints and Victory Colours are all good options. However, this is a high-end option. A 2.5-litre tin costs GBP65. Linda Barker Paints is a cheaper option. Mike Fairman, trade directory Checkatrade, says that materials are relatively inexpensive and cost between GBP5 and GBP10 per window for a good quality silicone sealant. “For labour, you can expect to spend between GBP20 and GBP70 per window. Smart thermostatsYou can control your heating remotely, so you won’t forget to turn it off when you leave or when your evening plans change. People are more likely to adjust their thermostats to a few degrees via an app than manually. According to Fairman, the cost of a smart thermostat ranges from GBP120 up to GBP220 depending on which make and model you choose. You should also consider the cost of installing a smart thermostat. This is usually between GBP30 and GBP80, depending on how much labor an electrician will need to install it. Have your boiler serviced. A more efficient boiler will use less energy. An inspection of your boiler’s efficiency is a good idea. However, upgrading your boiler can be costly. It could cost you anywhere from GBP500 to GBP13,000 for a basic model to GBP13,000 for a more advanced one. Additional installation costs will apply. Fairman says that an annual boiler service fee can be in the form of either a one-off fee for a 30-minute service, or an annual insurance charge. “Boiler and central heating coverage costs range from GBP180 to GBP300 on average, but it will cover you for any breakdowns. While a one-time fee may be cheaper, the annual coverage will provide you with complete peace of mind. “Loft insulationLoft insulation can help you cut your energy bills and keep the warmth in your home. Fairman says that loft insulation is a mandatory building regulation for extensions and loft conversions. GBP600 is the average cost of blanket loft insulation for a detached home, which includes labour. Blanket insulation is the most affordable per m2 (GBP5). It is followed by loose fill (GBP7.50), sheets insulation (GBP10) and spray foam (GBP55). Swap showerheadsThe average cost of roof insulation labour is GBP175. They have more holes so they produce a mist-like spray effect, rather than wasting litres of water. Amane’s model promises to increase shower power and save up to 60% of the water used in an eight-minute bath. It is priced at around GBP115. Pipe insulation Although some pipes are difficult to reach, professional help should be available to complete the job in a matter of hours. The cost of insulation should start at GBP20. Fairman says that properly insulating pipes around your house can be difficult. “The right type of lagging and the right size are crucial for each pipe to ensure it is 100 percent effective.”