October 16, 2012

Going Green Shouldn’t Have To Cost More

A lot of convincing needs to be done in order for most people to adopt any green measures but as soon as they find out it will cost more most of those people will not be willing to make those changes. If you asked someone if they wanted to be more environmentally friendly, reduce pollution or adopt any other positive green measures most would say yes. However when it comes to actually doing something most are apathetic.

If you put barriers in the way of positive change then change is not going to happen. Adopting green measures needs to be painless, have clear benefits and not be prohibitively costly. It therefore makes sense to offer consumers ways to make a difference but also have something in it for them; people will always want to know what direct benefits they will get. Ironically saving the planet in no something many people can see the benefit to themselves, after all why can’t someone else do it!

Making green technologies more financially attractive is one way to give homeowners a clear benefit whilst having a positive environmental impact. Many countries now have a feed-in tariff that rewards homeowners for generating clean energy, particularly from solar. In some countries such as the UK this has lead to secondary schemes where households can get free solar panels fitted to their homes. It shows that the private market can also help provide a positive outcome.

Reducing energy use

When you talk about reducing energy or water usage most people automatically think that this will impact their current standard of living. The fact is that your standard of living can be maintained by using less and as a result reduce the amount you pay out on water, heating and energy costs.

There are many building standards such as PassivHaus that build to much higher green standards so the finished homes are better insulated and less draughty. A home built to this standard requires much less heating in the winter and cooling in the summer and so saves the owner on fuel bills. Due to the higher building specifications this type of home is generally more expensive to build and so this puts off many prospective self builders and home builders.

There are however ways to reduce the cost such as using faster building techniques that means lower labour costs. Reducing costs means that you still get a home that is cheaper to heat and cool but the final product is more competitively priced compared to homes built to traditional standards. If you offer two homes to a family where one home is cheaper to run and all other things being equal the family will more than likely choose the PassivHaus.

If people can see the clear benefits to them then they will naturally gravitate to that option. As energy bills continue to rise the choice of a lower running cost home will be an even more attractive option. By giving people an option that is more favourable and beneficial means that we can reduce harmful emissions globally without impacting on current standards of living.

Allan Burns is passionate about promoting green alternatives over at his site, Free Solar Panels UK where you can find information on different ways to save money and reduce your environmental impact.

5 Ways a Greener Lifestyle Can Reduce Your Home Insurance

Investing in making your home more eco-friendly can at first seem like an expensive and laborious task. However the long terms benefits can far outweigh that initial cost. Not only can you save money on your utility bills but you can also lower the annual premium of your house insurance.

Here the moneysupermarket home insurance team suggest five green investments you can make today.

1. Make money with solar panels

The coalition government is offering a number of incentives for the UK homeowner to invest in solar panels. Possibly the best incentive is the chance to feed energy back into the national grid potentially making you 40p per unit.

Solar panels are covered as part of a home insurance policy as standard so it wont cost you any more to insure them. They can also save you a considerable amount on your electricity bills as they can be used to power your home. Probably best used in areas of the UK that get regular sunlight, like the South West.

2. Double Glazing

As with solar panels, the benefits of double glazing are two fold. Again they will help save you money on both your gas and electricity prices as double glazing will help keep the heat in your home. The Energy Saving Trust has stated that a homeowner would look to save around £135 a year by having double glazing installed.

Home insurance companies look favourably on double glazing as they provide state of the art locking mechanisms. Because of this you are less likely to be burgled and the frames of double glazed windows are able to withstand the most extreme weather conditions.

3. Cavity wall insulation

Another method to save you money on both your energy prices and house insurance premiums. Cavity wall insulation can prevent up to 33 per cent of heat loss from your home saving both the environment and you money.

Because cavity wall insulation reduces the chances of damp occurring around the home and damage due to condensation, home insurers will again look to decrease your annual premium.

4. Upgrade your boiler

The older your boiler, the more expensive your home insurance is likely to be. This is because there are literally thousands of claims each year for broken down boilers. Not only that but less efficient boilers have higher energy usage therefore increased emissions.

By investing in a new boiler you could reduce your energy bills, home insurance premium and carbon emissions in one go. Boilers do not come cheap though and will also cost extra to fit. You may be able to get a grant for a new boiler by visiting the energy saving trust.

5. Loft Insulation

Another way to bring energy usage down and decrease your home insurance premium is loft insulation. Again this limits the amount of heat that can escape from your home. Home insurers look favourably on this because it reduces the chance of any water pipes that are located in the loft freezing during the winter months.

Last winter was one of the coldest on record in the UK which led to record call outs for flooded houses due to frozen pipes that eventually burst.

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