Whether it’s a complete refit or just a lick of paint, you probably have plans for your new home. Perhaps you plan to change the kitchen or bathroom or add an en-suite bathroom. Perhaps the electrics need work, or the roof needs fixing, the stair carpet renewing, a couple of windows need replacing. Perhaps fitted cabinets need to come out – or go in. Maybe you are even thinking of an extension.
Gradually – or perhaps by getting the builders in at the start – you will shape this into a home that suits your tastes and needs.
THIS IS YOUR GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
It’s now, when you are carrying out work on your home, that you have a golden opportunity to include energy and insulation measures. Before the new cupboards go in! Before the new plumbing is completed! Before the attic is full of stuff! Before the new flooring goes down!
It’s a great chance, right from the start, to create a comfortable home which is protected against high energy prices and is easier on the planet. That’s good for all of us, especially for the next generation.
HOW ABOUT CREATING A 21ST CENTURY HOME?
Much of our local housing is now well over 100 years old. At various stages of their lifetimes, the buildings we live in have been transformed by the addition of electric lighting, running hot water, indoor WCs and bathrooms, central heating, and so on. Why? Because we’ve always wanted to be more comfortable in our homes – and that means a pleasant temperature, good lighting, good plumbing, and no draughts. The level of creature comforts we expect from our homes now is dramatically different from a few decades ago.
So far, we’ve achieved that comfort largely through the use of much more gas and electricity – but often even gas and electricity bills don’t ensure a cosy home, and nor do many of the improvements we love. It’s perfectly possible to sit in a fabulous new top-of-the-range kitchen and still freeze!
That doesn’t happen in a 21st Century Home.
A 21st Century Home means comfortable indoor temperatures, fresh air rather than draughts, good natural and artificial light, plenty of hot water, and low bills. It can even generate electricity through solar electric panels. It could have even more – such as the use of natural materials for paints and floorcoverings, and could collect rainwater not just for the garden but even to flush the loo.
Why not take a look now at these leaflets from the Centre for Sustainable Energy – on refurbishing living spaces, planning a new kitchen, or planning a new bathroom.
GET INSPIRED, SEE FOR YOURSELF – ONLINE RESOURCES + EVENTS
There are lots of online resources to inspire and inform. Here are a few….
- www.energysavingtrust.org.uk Plenty of information on improvements, including water management. And there’s an interactive home energy check you can do online www.yougen.co.uk/energy-saving/. This is an independent website for householders, with contributions from a wide range of professionals. The section on energy saving has links to good material on doors/windows, heating/hot water, insulation, lighting, ventilation/draughts, and more.
- www.oliverheath.com Environmental designer Oliver Heath’s website shows some inspiring construction and interiors design projects.
- http://mhsgroup.org.uk MHSG and and other local groups arrange occasional Green Open Homes visits to houses where householders have made energy-saving and other environmental improvements, and related talks and workshops.
- www.superhomes.org.uk The Superhomes network consists of extra energy-efficient homes – there are regular open days when homes are open to visitors. The website has videos, information, and links to advisors/builders.
- www.futurebuild.co.uk Each March the Futurebuild ( formerly Ecobuild) event takes place in London – designed for professionals and the public as well. A real eye-opener! It covers new construction and refurbishment.
And see what some of your neighbours have done in our CASE STUDIES section.