33 ways to green your home

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Appliances Wind Turbines Photovoltaics Lighting Insulation Water saving Furniture www.rra-arch.com Hereford T 01432 278707 F 01432 266339 RRA Architects Ltd Packers House 25 West Street Hereford HR4 0BX [email protected] London T 020 7402 4156 35b Sussex Place London W2 2TH [email protected]

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A guide how to green your home using 33 simple things that can transform your home to save energy and save the planet too.


  • Appliances Wind Turbines Photovoltaics Lighting Insulation Water saving Furniturewww.rra-arch.com

    HerefordT 01432 278707F 01432 266339RRA Architects Ltd Packers House 25 West Street Hereford HR4 0BX

    [email protected]

    LondonT 020 7402 415635b Sussex Place London W2 [email protected]

  • InTRoducTIonThis handy little RRA Architects booklet contains...

    33 clever ideas for making your home more environmentally friendly.

    Handy websites, contacts and literature.

    A start for your exploration into ways to green your home.

    A look into cost effectiveness, overall environmental benefits and practically.

    Generally homes produce over 27% of the uKs co2 emissions, even more than cars. Household energy consumption has increased by 28% since 1970 largely due to increasing household numbers; rising income; and lifestyle changes, such as increasing numbers of appliances. An average existing home requires four times as much energy to heat it as the average new home.

    Investing in energy standards for your home has benefits beyond addressing climate change. It helps to reduce energy bills, tackle fuel poverty, improve the security of our energy supplies and create jobs.

    undergoing an RRA Architects home energy check is useful before you start to plan a new extension or new build. This will involve answering a few simple questions about your home and lifestyle. We will also give you free impartial advice telling you how to save money each year on your house hold energy bills

    RRA Architects can guide you to research every material used in design, appliance selection and building.

    The processing of materials inevitably requires the use of energy and results in waste generation.

    Energy factors for consideration, determined by materials qualities are:

    Energy required to produce the material,

    CO2 emissions from manufacturing,

    Transportation of material.

    A bit of information about material selection to help you become more energy-efficient can help your pocket and the environment RRA Architects 33 Ways to Green Your Home is just the start. Should you wish to investigate your own home or commission a new build project contact:


    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com RRA - private house / Rock Cornwall

  • PuRPoSERRA Architects believes the individual, as consumer, investor and member of a local community, can play a direct and crucial part in efforts to meet the renewable energy target.

    This can be through:

    Reducing electricity use.

    Turning down the thermostat.

    Improving insulation.

    Driving less and more efficiently.

    Working more from the home office.

    Improving bio-diversity around your home, or buying energy efficient products.

    Personal decisions at home, work and en-route between them, are critical to reducing the uKs environmental footprint.

    Here are a few decisions that you may think about:

    Have a household RRA environmental audit.

    Tackle energy efficiency in the home.

    Tackle water efficiency in the home.

    Seek alternative transport for short trips (less than 3miles).

    Avoid short-haul domestic and intra-EU flights.

    Use low carbon vehicles.

    Buy local and seasonal food (certified where possible).

    Waste less food.

    Since May 2008 all new-build homes are required to have a code rating to encourage their owners to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

    The code for Sustainable Homes demands that greater co2 reductions are made from new-build housing.

    Emissions need to be reduced by 25% from Building Regulations Part L 2006 levels for code Level 3 and 44% for code level 4.

    The aim is to reach Level 6 by 2016. RRA Architects can assist you in achieving high standards in environmental design.

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 01RRA Architects rates the performance of a window in three ways:

    1 u-values

    2 Solar gain (how well it absorbs warmth from the sun)

    3 draughts

    Windows are rated according to their u-value, or the heat loss through the glass and frame. The lower the U-value the more efficient the windows. For example, double-glazing has a u-value around 1.1 and triple glazing around 0.7.

    There are two other main factors to take into account, these are; how well the glazing absorbs warmth from the sun (solar gain) and heat loss through draughts.

    Wooden framed windows are seen as more renewable and regarded as a more eco-friendly resource however, maintenance like painting, preservatives can reduce this. uPVc is made of oil so sustainably speaking wood is the winner

    The British Fenestration rating council (BFRc) rates windows using all three factors. Be aware that this council doesnt include smaller manufacturers yet!

    It may be difficult to find a manufacturer who specialises in highly efficient windows.

    Before investing its worth doing a little research on the internet and also to find a local builder to do the fitting. This will help reduce travel distance.

    Take a look at:The British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC) 020 7403 9200 www.bfrc.org

    Ecomerchant 01795 530130 www.ecomerchant.co.uk

    Green building store 01484 461705 www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk

    01. GLAZInG

    Our Rating33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com RRA - Top 25 Best Grand Designs House / HerefordshireRRA - Wood Awards 2006 / private house / Beechcroft / Herefordshire

  • 02Modern houses built between 1920 & 1990 were built with two skins or brick with a cavity between them. The chance is that these builds have no insulation in between these skins.

    This is easily solved by drilling a small hole and injecting insulation into the gaps. It is now included in Building Regulations that in all new homes the cavity is to be insulated

    RRA Architects can advise on the best form of insulation to use. Moisture can become a problem in cavities and you should seek good advice.

    PROs - Up to one third of your heating is lost through the walls of your home. It is not expensive; around 250 for a 3-bed semi, and free for those receiving income support.

    Our Rating

    02. cAVITY WALL InSuLATIonTake a look at:Energy Saving Trust 0800 512 012 www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 03Look for furniture from sustainable wood sources, locally made, carrying the logo of Forest Stewardship council (FSc). Wood furniture is preferable to that made of non-renewable materials such as steel, PVc and plastics.

    If you can, reclaim your furniture, there are small outlets that specialise in retro or second hand furniture. You may find something bespoke that adds the character to your room

    An antique passed down the generations is a very sustainable way to furnish your home.

    Our Rating

    03. FuRnITuRETake a look at:Friends of the Earth Good wood guide www.foe.co.uk

    Association for Environment Conscious Building 0845 4569773 www.aecb.net

    Living concepts 01488 608020 www.benchmark-furniture.com

    One eco home www.oneecohome.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 04Photovoltaics (PVs) can be a bolt-on solar panel or tiles that can replace your existing roof fabric.

    Photovoltaics turn light into electricity. The electricity PVs generate is free for you and any extra electricity can be sold back to the national grid.

    Photovoltaics reduce the total embodied and in-use energy impact about 40% and co2 emissions by 35%.

    check beforehand that your electricity company allows you to sell your electricity to them before proceeding.

    PROs - electricity is free. Grants are available from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme.

    CONs - expense. Up to 24,000. Long pay back period.

    04. PHoToVoLTAIcS

    Our Rating

    Take a look at:National Energy Foundation 01908 665555 www.pv-uk.org.uk

    Low Carbon Building Programme 0800 915 0990 www.lowcarbonbuildings.co.uk

    Energy Saving Trust 0800 512 012 www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com RRA - private house / Rock Cornwall

  • 05one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve the insulation quality of your home. 20% of your homes heat loss is through poor ventilation and draughts. It is worth Investing in, proper curtains, sealants on doors and windows and blocking up those fissures between floorboards and skirting boards.

    PROs - easy to do. Cheap if you do it yourself, but there are many companies who will do it for you.

    CONs - choose products and companies wisely.

    Our Rating

    05. dRAuGHT PRooFInGTake a look at:Energy Saving Trust 0800 512 012 www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 06Wood can be used in a stove to complement the existing heating, or a biomass boiler. This wood might come in the form of logs, wood chips or wood pellets, (which is reconstituted sawdust). Wood is still renewable so better than gas and oil. Biomass is not carbon neutral so aim for companies that aim to be as neutral as possible. Grants are available from the Low carbon Buildings Programme.

    PROs - A pellet boiler can reduce your standard boilers CO2 output by 50%.

    CONs - Expense. 6,000 + for a boiler. Changing can be difficult.

    Our Rating

    06. BIoMASS HEATInGTake a look at:Bio-mass energy centre 01420 526 197 www.biomassenergycentre.org.uk

    Low Carbon Buildings Programme 0800 915 0990 www.lowcarbonbuildings.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 07up to 35% of heat is lost through walls. Adding external insulation involves wrapping the entire building in insulation, then adding render on top.

    PROs - A good way to sure up the decaying fabric of the building. Not only weatherproofing it but also making it much more thermally efficient.

    CONs - The Energy Saving Trust estimates costs from 1,900 to 4,500 for a semi.

    Changing can be difficult.

    07. EXTERnAL InSuLATIon

    Our Rating

    Take a look at:Insulated Render and Cladding Association 01428 654011 www.inca-ltd.org.uk

    Energy Saving Trust 0800 512 012 www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

    Lime rendering on top of insulation try: Calch Ty Mawr Lime 01874 658249 www.lime.org.uk

    StoTherm wall insulation www.sto.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 08Be sure to measure your wind speed before you invest. If your wind speed is 5 m/s youre in business and 6 m/s is a good site. Be aware that quoted performance is at 12 m/s, which is way beyond normal velocity in the uK mainland. not all buildings are suitable for wind turbines so check with local authorities before erecting elsewhere.

    You can pick up a d.I.Y. wind turbine kit from online stores for 500- 1000.

    The turbine should have a good South West perspective and be placed away from any structures to avoid turbulence or vibration

    They work by storing the generated power in a battery that you can later run devices off. With d.I.Y kits the output is 12V so only appliances that run off this voltage may be used.

    Our Rating

    08. WInd TuRBInESTake a look at:British Wind Energy Association www.bwea.com

    Warwick wind trials www.warwickwindtrials.org.uk

    Anemometers from the Weather Shop 0845 680 1805 www.ukweathershop.co.uk

    Low Carbon Buildings Programme 0800 915 0990 www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 09Increasing urbanisation and rapid run-off have a tremendous strain on conventional storm water drainage systems. More tarmac non-porous driveways mean a lot more water runs into our drains instead of being soaked into the ground.

    Permeable pavement allows heavy rain to infiltrate through into a sub-base that is then released in a controlled manner into drainage systems. These systems are known as SudS Sustainable urban drainage Systems.

    Our Rating

    09. PoRouS PAVInGTake a look at:CIRIA www.ciria.org.uk/suds

    Sustainable Urban Drainage www.sustainabledrainage.co.uk

    For SUDS solutions try; 01242 521480 www.illman-young.com

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 10Timber from sustainable sources is widely available, easy on the budget and thermally efficient. Make sure the timber is from certified sustainable stocks. B&Q, for example, has long had sustainable sourcing in place. The centre for Alternative Technology recommends using plywood, as opposed to MdF or chipboard as less glue is used in the manufacture.

    Try and use the poorer quality softwood ply or source-board that is accredited by the Forest Stewardship council (FSc).

    Be aware that some timber may be transported from overseas, which adds to your carbon footprint. The FSC certifies timber in the UK that is from sustainable forests.

    If timber from the uK is not an option do your research into timber from Scandinavia, as itll travel a shorter distance than canadian sources.

    PROs - Sustainably managed forests mean that important carbon sinks are not being depleted.

    CONs - You might have to pay a premium, although prices are competitive.

    Our Rating

    10. TIMBERTake a look at:Forest Stewardship Council www.fsc.org.uk

    Greenpeace good wood guide www.greenpeace.org.uk

    The Centre for Alternative Technology has relevant books 01654 705950 www.cat.org.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com RRA - private house / Dukes Barn / MonmouthshireRRA - Wood Awards 2006 / private house / Beechcroft / Herefordshire

  • 11Turn your vegetable peelings, grass cuttings etc into top-of-the-range organic compost. Organic matter that gets sent to landfill sites produces methane gas as it decomposes underground, but it wont do that in a compost bin. Many councils in urban areas now collect compost.

    Also if you use worms to compost your garden waste you can improve the bio-diversity of your garden.

    PROs - Free soil conditioner and a clear conscience. Your local council may offer a discount on a compost bin.

    CONs - less incentive if you dont have a garden.

    Our Rating

    11. coMPoSTInGTake a look at:Garden organic www.gardenorganic.org.uk


    Wriggley wormers www.wigglywigglers.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 12He or she is part of an emerging discipline requiring number crunching and surveyor skills, which all contribute to helping your home run in a more eco-friendly way.

    Having the help of a consultant could help avoid mistakes in the future. RRA Architects can advise you on whom to contact in your area.

    PROs - A green consultant will have the answers to your queries of cost, eco routes and which equipment to invest in.

    CONs - Another expense. Expect to pay 470 + with an in-depth report costing as much as 1,500.

    Our Rating RRA - Team Profile

    12. GREEn conSuLTAnTTake a look at:Consultants include Centre for Alternative Technology 01654 705 991 www.cat.org.uk

    Encraft 01926 312 991 www.Encraft.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 13They act as a buffer zone between your house and the elements. Allowing heat into the rest of your house during summer months, reducing demands on your boiler. Be aware that double-glazing is about six times worse as an insulator than a standard brick-built cavity wall.

    RRA Architects can design a bespoke conservatory that maximizes the potential to receive solar energy into your home.

    PROs - An extra room. May not need planning permission to build it and it should add value to your home.

    CONS - A heated conservatory could increase your carbon footprint. The exterior on a wood or uPVC extension requires a lot of upkeep.

    Our Rating RRA - private house / The Firs / HerefordshireRRA - private house / Beechcroft / Herefordshire

    13. conSERVAToRYTake a look at:The Energy Efficient Home 16:99 by Patrick Waterfield

    Conservatories Association 0870 042 4255 www.ggf.org.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 14By introducing LEds to your lighting system, you can save on energy and reduce your bills. Swapping compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) for standard incandescent lamps would slash this by approx 75%. LEds are ideal for use in applications that are subject to frequent on off cycling, unlike fluorescent lamps that burn out more quickly when cycled frequently.

    code for Sustainable Homes 2 requires 75% of fixed internal fittings are dedicated and energy efficient. Lighting typically accounts for up to 30% of the total electricity costs of your home.

    By installing dedicated energy efficient lighting you can save 9 per luminaire. By installing dedicated fittings into locations of constant use, e.g. a family house where landing lights are left on, savings of up to 20 per luminaire can be reached.

    Also remember improve day light levels by adding windows and light wells into the house. RRA Architects can help you work out the best way to accommodate better daylight into your home.

    PROs - LEDs last more than fives times longer that CFLs and save even more power.

    CONs - CFLs are required to use less mercury in their manufacture, which means they dont last as long.

    Our Rating RRA - Watershed / Herefordshire

    14. LIGHTInGTake a look at:www.ultraleds.co.uk

    Green Lighting Ltd 01905 610 200 www.greenlighting.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 15Heat pumps transfer latent heat from water, ground or the air to your homes heating system. Water and ground heat is absorbed via pipes laid in the ground or in the nearby areas of water. Heat taken from the air requires no elaborate heat pump system of pipes in the garden. once theyre up and running it is technically heat for free.

    Super insulate your home first and if there is cash left look into heat pumps. dont forget heat pumps require electrical energy to power the pump; there are opportunities to make this greener too.

    RRA Architects has installed many heat pump systems and can advise you on the best solution for your home.

    PROs - Once installed, they are very low maintenance.

    CONs - Prepare to spend at least 10,000 for an air source system and more for ground and water.

    Our Rating

    15. HEAT PuMPSTake a look at:The Heat Pump Association www.heatpumps.org.uk

    The Heat Pump Centre www.heatpumpcentre.org

    Heat Pump Network www.heatpumpnet.org.uk

    Energy Saving Trust 0800 512 012 www.est.org.uk

    Low Carbon Buildings 0800 915 0990 www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk

    National Energy Foundation 01908 665 555 www.nef.org.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 16Many paint and wood treatments are oil based and contain synthetic chemicals, which makes them hard to dispose of. Some of the processes involved in their manufacture create up to 10 tonnes of waste for every one tonne produced. They give off Volatile organic compounds (Vocs), which can be extremely bad for your health. Green paints consist of naturally occurring ingredients. They tend to be water based, with minimal or no petrochemical elements.

    PROs - Green paints are better for the environment and better for your health.

    CONs - Very expensive compared to the bog standards. Colour options are limited and bright colours are hard to find.

    Our Rating

    16. PAInT & Wood TREATMEnTTake a look at:The brands: Auro, Holzweg Oscolor

    The Green Shop www.greenshop.com

    Green Spec www.greenspec.co.uk

    Ty Mawr www.lime.org.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 17Traditionally, many uK dwellings have relied on natural air filtration. I.e.: draughts. This costs money in lost energy and adds to your carbon footprint. controlled ventilation, either as one system or a room-by-room basis will save your energy and reduce carbon emissions.

    Start small with affordable heat recovery fans in the kitchen and bathroom (recover up to 80%, while you decide on the other rooms).

    Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery results in an energy and co2 reduction of 10%. Be aware that mechanical fans run off the electricity.

    PROs - In a well designed system you can clean air with the minimum of heat loss.

    CONs - This could involve an awful lot of ductwork and expense.

    Our Rating

    17. HEAT REcoVERYTake a look at:Residential Ventilation Association www.feta.co.uk/rva

    Heat recovery domestic fans from Airflow www.airflow.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 18Your house uses a range of thermostats, these include a room thermostat to control the central heating; a thermostat on your cylinder to tell the boiler to heat your water when it gets too cold, and thermostatic radiator valves, so you only heat the rooms you need to. Add everything together and you could cut your bills by 17%.

    By reducing your thermostat by 1 degree you could cut your heating bills by up to 10%. Thats 50 per year.

    You can control each rooms temperature by installing thermostats room-by-room. This allows disused rooms to be less heated than used room.

    Our Rating


    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 19This involves insulating the walls of your home from the inside, typically with plasterboard backed with insulation material. You can also batten the wall and infill behind with insulation. Alternatively, look at insulating wallpapers made by Mould Growth consultants.

    care is needed as moisture travel through the fabric of walls can lead to condensation problems. RRA Architects can advise on the best methods for your situation.

    PROs - Reduced carbon footprint, cheaper than fitting double glazing. Can be on a pay-as-you-go or room-by-room basis.

    CONs - Youll have to move sockets and switches depending on which route you take.

    Our Rating

    19. InTERnAL WALL InSuLATIonTake a look at:Association for Environment Conscious Building www.aecb.net

    Mould growth consultants www.mgcltd.co.uk

    Green Spec www.greenspec.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 20Youre really spoilt for eco-friendly flooring options. Your options include weaves, reeds and fibres such as carpet, sisal and coir. Wipe-clean materials such as linoleum, rubber and cork; and hard flooring such as wood, bamboo, stone and ceramic tiles. Wood flooring you should apply the same advice as timber; from sustainable sources and treatments.

    Weaves, reeds and fibres are often cheaper than hard flooring. Linoleum and rubber are made from natural ingredients. cork is warm underfoot and cheap. Wood and bamboo are widely available and can be sourced locally

    Flooring materials can also be recycled such as stone and tile, so look out for suitable supplies from local reclamation merchants.

    PROs - Often made from natural ingredients and can be sourced locally.

    CONs - Potentially harmful chemicals might have been used in the dyeing of soft flooring. Any woven flooring will be a dust trap and a place to harbour toxins.

    Our Rating

    20. FLooRInGTake a look at:Panda flooring www.pandaflooring.co.uk

    Urbane living www.urbaneliving.co.uk

    Dalsouple www.dalsouple.com

    Natural floor finishes, see the Green Building Store 01484 461705 www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk

    Greenshop 01452 770629 www.greenshop.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 21Recycle wasted water from the bath, washbasin and household appliances, can be used to flush the loo. As well as using grey water, if people took simple steps like having a shower instead of a bath, theyd reduce their water consumption by 80 ltrs a day.

    Grey water systems can significantly reduce tenants water and sewage bills. They work best as part of a district scheme where water treatment can be carried out centrally.

    PROs - You could reduce your households water demands by up to 40%. If you are on a meter, just watch those bills fall.

    CONs - Often grey water is warm so it can be an ideal condition for bacteria to thrive. Use chemicals as your grey water could be harmful and smelly.

    Our Rating

    21. GREY WATER SYSTEMSTake a look at:Grey-water system suppliers:

    Gramm Environmental 01892 506 935

    Burdens environment www.burdensenvironmental.com

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 22Electricity companies are now obliged to get at least some of their power from renewable sources. Research thoroughly and check out a number of suppliers before making your final green choice. Good energy gets top ratings from Ethical consumer, as its the only 100 renewable electricity supplier.

    Our Rating

    22. GREEn ELEcTRIcITYTake a look at:Green electricity market place www.greenelectricty.org

    Good energy www.good-energy.co.uk

    Friends of the earth on why it no longer publishes its green electricity league table. (www.foe.co.uk)

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 23Some insulation materials are more eco friendly than others.

    There are 3 categories:

    natural, mineral-based and derived from oil.

    Sheeps wool insulation is breathable and allows for a certain amount of damp. other options include cellulose (recycled newspaper), hemp, grass, recycled cotton & wool.

    Mineral wools include rock wool and fibreglass, the insulation of choice. Grants are available from the energy saving trust. Watch out for insulation materials that may appear to be green but have chemicals impregnated to resist vermin. Green roofing technologies include green roofs. Turf or earth sheltered roofs can act as a great insulator.

    care needs to be taken in terms of structural loading. Also materials used to create green roofs can be very un-green.

    often relying on polymer membranes, which are oil based products.

    RRA Architects can advise on good solutions for existing buildings and also for new buildings.

    PROs - Can only be a good thing as 15% of energy is lost through the roof.

    CONs - Natural insulation is expensive. Mineral wools require a huge amount of energy in manufacturing.

    Our Rating

    23. LoFT InSuLATIonTake a look at:Energy Saving Trust 0800 512 012 www.est.org.uk

    Natural building: A guide to materials and techniques, 19.95 by Tom Woolley

    The green building store www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk

    Natural Building Technologies 01844 338 338 www.natural-building.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 24Reclamation can add a touch of history and originality to your home. organisations such as freecycle offer local adverts for furniture that the previous owners do not want. It is offered free to you as long as you organise pick-up. Salvage yards such as Lassco in London or Baileys near Ross on Wye offer reclaimed fittings and materials.

    Our Rating

    24. REcLAMATIonTake a look at:www.timber-reuse.org.uk



    For reclamation sites visit: www.salvo.co.uk


    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 25A great way to reduce waste. consists of a huge storage tank in the garden or under the ground that collects rain from your roof guttering. This water can then be used for purposes such as the loo, washing machine and irrigation of the garden.

    Research show that around 50% of water used in a house could be supplied by rainwater.

    PROs - Installation is quick and easy. Helps reduce surface runoff, storm water that contributes to flooding.

    Our Rating

    25. RAInWATER HARVESTInGTake a look at:Rainwater Harvesting Association www.ukhra.org

    Environment Agency www.environment-agency.gov.uk

    The Centre for Alternative Technology 01654 705 989 www.cat.org.uk

    The Water Book, 12, by Judith Thornton

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 26Solar panels are ideal to heat your water although they are reliable on the weather. It is very accessible technology that is relatively cheap. As the market becomes more competitive you can expect prices to fall.

    Life expectancy is usually around 25 yrs with a 5-year guarantee.

    The installation now adds value to your property. Although it will require your roof to be modified for good weathering details.

    RRA Architects has installed many of these systems and can advise you about any project you have in mind.

    PROs - Free energy from the sun. Much cheaper than PV solar panels and provide 60% of your hot water. Grants are available from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme.

    CONs - Beware of doo steppers giving you hard sell and quoting high prices. You will probably need a new hot water tank.

    Our Rating

    26. SoLAR THERMALTake a look at:Low Carbon Buildings Programme www.lcbp.org.uk

    The Energy Saving Trust www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

    Brands: Rayotec, Solar Company Uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com RRA - private house / Rock Cornwall

  • 27These will improve your homes eco-values and reduce your carbon-footprint. Boilers account for around 60% of a homes co2 output. condensing boilers convert 90% of energy into heat so you reduce you carbon footprint. They recover extra heat that would otherwise have disappeared up the flue.

    All new gas and oil central-heating boilers must be rated A or B for their efficiency. It is essential you use a heating engineer with a proven track record, and it is worth getting lots of advice on reliability.

    PROs - Straight swap for our existing gas or oil boiler. You could save up to a third on energy bills.

    CONs - Youre still burning fossil fuels. Condensing boilers are highly complex and have been noted for their reliability problems.

    Our Rating

    27. condEnSInG BoILERTake a look at:Heating and Hot Water Industry Council www.centralheating.co.uk

    Boiler Efficiency Database www.boilers.org.uk

    Energy Saving Trust 0800 512 012 www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

    Brands: Worcester Bosch

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 28Escape rising prices by growing your own vegetables. The more of us that do this the more we can roll back a culture of food miles and driving to the supermarket.

    Homegrown tastes better and guarantees freshness.

    Our Rating

    28. GRoW YouR oWn VEGGIESTake a look at:Royal Horticultural society 0845 260 8000 www.rhs.org.uk

    Garden Organic 02476 303 517

    Check for local allotments, or try National Society of Allotments and Leisure Gardeners 02476 502 362 www.nsalg.org.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 29A combined heat and power (cHP) unit is a boiler that heats hot water and warms radiators. RRA Architects advise that you compare CHP benefits to a super-efficient condensing boiler or a biomass alternative.

    The CHP unit can allow off-grid benefits for remote properties where connection to the national grid is very expensive.

    PROs - Electricity produced at home is much more efficient than that produced at power stations.

    CONs - There have been conflicting reports about the efficiencies to be gained by CHP in the home.

    Our Rating

    29. MIcRo coMBI HEAT & PoWERTake a look at:WhisperGen www.whispergen.com

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 30It is a lifestyle choice that you may consider works for you. There is a bowl of sawdust beside the loo, a handful of which goes into it after every visit. Beneath the lid, meanwhile, a wide pipe runs down to the compost chamber about 2m or more below you.

    They dont smell, unless they are badly designed. Good idea if you have the will, the room and the cash. It could cost around 3000 to install

    PROs - Youll save lots of water (between 30/40%).

    CONs - Youll need space to house the chamber.

    Our Rating

    30. coMPoSTInG ToILETSTake a look at:Composting Toilet World www.compostingtoilet.org

    Lifting the lid: An ecological approach to toilet systems, 12, by Louise Halestrap and Peter Harper

    Compost toilet suppliers include:

    NatSol www.natsol.co.uk

    Wendage Pollution Control www.wpc.uk.net/products.htm

    Rotaloo www.rotaloo.co.uk

    Elemental Solutions www.elementalsolutions.co.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 31If you are planning on re-fitting your bathroom suite, fit it out with low-flow taps and water-efficient toilets. Water saving devices such as a hippo can be fitted to your existing system that saves up to 3 litres of water per flush. According to the Green Building Bible washing and hygiene accounts for 40% of domestic water usage, the lions-share of consumption in the home.

    PROs - If you fit new efficient taps and showers or customise existing ones, you can save over 50%. Save water, save energy, save the planet.

    CONs - Flow restrictors are not easy to fit; depends on what sort of taps you have.

    Our Rating

    31. WATER SAVInG dEVIcESTake a look at:Green Building Bible, 19:90 for two volumes www.greenbuildingbible.co.uk

    Hippo Water Saver www.hippo-the-watersaver.co.uk

    Tap Magic www.tapmagic.co.uk

    Interflush www.interflush.co.uk

    Peterton www.peterton.co.uk

    Water efficient taps, green building store 01484 461 705 www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk

    Conserving water in the home fact sheets www.environment-agency.gov.uk

    National Energy Foundation www.nef.org.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 32If you want to save money on your electricity then make sure you buy an energy efficient product.

    The Eu Energy Label rates products from A* (the most efficient/least energy used), down to G (the least efficient/most energy used).

    *Going up to A** for refrigerators.

    A* and A** ratings save an additional 25% to 45% respectively of the energy consumed by a standard A rated model. Be aware that the rating system runs from G to A** so that appliances of an A grade are theoretically c.

    Waterwise, an authority on water efficiency hand out a waterwise-marque.

    Annually awarded to products, which reduce water wastage or raise the awareness of water efficiency for products such as dishwashers, showerheads, toilets and tap flow restrictors.

    using the outdoors to dry clothing helps reduce the need for an automatic dryer. Bathroom Manufacturers of Bathroom Products, (BMA) have launched a water efficient product labeling scheme. BMA is the lead trade association for manufacturers of bathroom products in the uK.

    PROs - The new Energy Label allows energy efficiency comparison of all goods; includes white goods, cars and even houses.

    CONs - Too simplistic for houses. Old buildings and the conversion of them means they still get a low score rating. But in terms of consumption of new materials they are very efficient.

    Our Rating

    32. APPLIAncES

    Take a look at:BMA www.water-efficiencylabel.org.uk

    Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. Defra website www.defra.gov.uk


    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com

  • 3325% of all uK carbon emissions come from travel-related sources - from our cars, from the flights we take, from the buses and trains we use. Greener transport starts by making personal decisions about your mode of transit from A to B.

    car sharing, car-pooling, convert to using a hybrid car, or convert the car you have to a greener fuel are all good first steps.

    cycle more for shorter trips and encourage your family to walk improving health. The style aware can consider car-kits. Aerodynamics will never make up for an engine that is a vastly inefficient but car-kits can mean gaining a few extra miles per gallon.

    Your fuel bills will certainly be cooler, your engine may also run a little cooler, and the car may look a little cooler too.

    Aerodynamics can mean:

    1 Lowering the ground clearance on your car.

    According to Mercedes engineers, a ground clearance of approximately 70 mm is ideal to reduce up to 3 percent off your current drag. These can greatly reduce drag underneath a vehicle. There are a lot of things under there for wind to knock around on and a smooth pan evens out flow considerably.

    2 Rear wheel well side skirts.

    covering your rear wheels has the advantage of helping the air move around the vehicle smoothly without getting caught up inside the wheel wells. This is not always a pretty addition to your vehicle, but it is quite functional.

    3 Toss that antenna.

    Large antennas create drag and wind noise on many vehicles. With the popularity of the MP3 player, many people dont listen to the radio anyway, so ditching that aluminum stick in favor of slightly better aerodynamics is all in your favor and comes at absolutely zero cost.

    4 Those oversize rear spoilers have got to go.

    Yes, those ever popular need for Speed style spoilers can actually hinder your performance. Some vehicle manufacturers do have spoilers that are actually functional, helping to improve airflow over the vehicle.

    33. THE cAR In YouR GARAGE

    Take a look at:Planet Green planetgreen.discovery.com

    The Energy Saving Trust www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

    Where ecology meets travel www.ecotrotters.com

    For Greener Travel look up the top 10 fuel efficient cars at Direct.gov www.direct.gov.uk

    33 WAYS To GREEn YouR HoME www.rra-arch.com