Grab Your Opportunities for a Greener Home

by Tom Bragg, Cambridge Carbon Footprint Trustee

First published in Cambridge Independent 

June had more UK house sales than any month before. Interest in home renovations is surging too, after all the time we’ve spent at home. Maybe we don’t want or can’t afford to move, but many of us are thinking about improving our homes, which gives great opportunities to make them more sustainable.

My wife, Anne, and I regretted not including solid wall insulation when we renovated our kitchen along with its dining and seating areas in 2004. We missed a golden opportunity to insulate it relatively cheaply when our kitchen was already disrupted!   It’s been the coldest room in our home, unless we heat it a lot. Now we’re finally putting this right, insulating the room properly with solid wall insulation and changing most windows and the door to triple glazed. It’s not finished yet, but it already feels much better. We expect these measures will cut the room’s heat demand by two-thirds. Our moto here is ‘no half-measures’.

The latest IPCC Climate Report emphasises that it’s vital to cut carbon emissions from our home energy, eg: with better insulation and heat pumps, and to adapt to more extreme weather events, like heatwaves, with better insulation (again), along with shading sunny windows and night-time ventilation.

So, if you’re planning to renovate your home, whether it’s recently purchased or long occupied, grab the opportunity of that building work for an eco-refurb that will cut your carbon emissions and energy bills, making it comfortable and ready for extreme weather too.  It’s best to get help making a whole house plan, so that the improvements you make fit with what’s needed in other parts your home.

To get inspired book some Open Eco Homes, with online home tours by Cambridge area homeowners, including Anne and me, showing and discussing what they’ve done to make their homes more sustainable and delightful. We’re not selling anything but want to enthuse and help you planning your eco-improvements.

Choose and book free tours and expert talks in September and October here.