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Eco-friendly home improvements

Home improvement for bigger savings

For those who have been slow to adopt greener life styles, escalating utility bills may well have fuelled a new enthusiasm and a friendlier attitude to all things eco.

Energy-saving practices for the home are not only kind to the planet but can deliver a 'quantitative easing' of your creaking household budget. With Britain firmly in the grip of a recession, everyone's looking for ways to cut back on household expenditure. Making your house or flat as energy efficient as possible is an obvious solution. Although you may have to pay out money, you should get your initial outlay back in fuel savings in a matter of months.

There are many ways to do this. Follow our guide to money saving and carbon reducing wins. (Even if some of the more expensive alterations require you to take out a small personal loan, it's an investment that may repay in dividends.)

Home improvements for bigger savings

Investing in larger scale works or replacing appliances that still work for more energy saving models, might seem rather daunting in a recession but unlike playing the stock market this is a venture where 'profits' are guaranteed with long-term rewards. Permanently lower energy bills will more than make up for the higher cost of installing energy efficient appliances and improvements.

  1. Install double glazing: Double glazing can slash heat loss through windows by 50%. If you can't afford to replace all the windows, consider getting work done in the rooms that cost you the most to heat such as the living room.
  2. Insulate the loft: In an uninsulated home, a quarter of your heat is lost through the roof - wasting as much as 15% of your heating costs.
  3. Do 1 and 2, and when it's time to replace your boiler and heating system, you're highly likely to be able to manage with a smaller one that costs less, because the windows and walls will retain the heated air inside more efficiently.
  4. Investigate solar panels: Most modern solar panels are based on the photovoltaic (PV) cell and produce a direct current when exposed to sunlight, which can then be converted into AC current and used in your home. They are expensive, but even if you only install a few panels on your roof to begin with, you can still enjoy a substantial reduction in your electricity bills.

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