Money Matters Team

Making your home environmentally friendly

By Money Matters Team 06/11/2013

Six practical tips to not only make your home kinder to the environment, but to also make it more energy efficient.

Most of us are familiar with the phrase 'waste not, want not'. We’re often reminded of it in our everyday lives, whether through the media, local councils or green initiatives from schools.
We all have a responsibility to be greener and less meaner to our planet, and a good place to start is making our homes more environmentally-friendly.
Here are six tips to make your property more at home with Mother Nature:

1. Less energy equals less demand on the environment

You could save up to £280* a year on your bills by being more energy-efficient, and making a few simple changes to your home, according to the Energy Saving Trust. They include:

  • Thermostat control. Turning down the heating by just 1°C could save you around £551 a year.
  • Insulate to accumulate. Increasing your loft insulation from 100mm to 270mm can save around £251 a year on heating bills. Loft insulation grants can be applied for via
  • Ditch the draughts. An inexpensive way to help keep heat in is draught proofing which can save up to £55¹ a year on heating costs.

2. Tapping into renewable energy

Britain might not be blessed with enough sunshine to run every home on solar power, but systems such as photovoltaics can transfer daylight into energy. For wind power, a home-sited 6kW turbine can generate around 10,000kWh¹ of green energy per year. You can check with the provider of your home insurance whether your policy covers a unit that can be mounted on buildings or a free-standing version.

3. Grow your own vegetables and fruit

Interest in vegetable gardening is increasing, according to the Economist, which reports that demand for allotments has surged. Producing your own fruit and vegetables can be a fun, family-orientated pastime, allowing you to:

  • Teach your children how to grow fruit and veg according to different plant requirements
  • Engage with the local community; enter your home-grown fruit and veg into competitions

4. Join a national energy-saving competition

Why not set up a competition with your local community to win a prize for the most energy efficient home? Green Open Homes is a national network which supports low carbon open homes events across the country.

5. Recycle, recycle, recycle

Kerbside recycling collection schemes are in operation in many UK towns and cities. Residents without access to this service can often find a local depot to offload recyclable items. However, is your family doing enough recycling? offers 10 ways to make recycling fun with your children, which include:

  • Making toy cars from old cardboard boxes
  • Giving kids rewards if they recycle more or take out the recycling
  • Buy products made from recycled materials, such as pencil cases made from tyres and rulers made from plastic cups.

6. Waste less water

Water usage in the home contributes around 35m tonnes³ of greenhouse gases a year. The average family uses 500 litres of water a day³, which equals 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. Want to use less? Follow these home water-saving tips from the environment agency.
Finally, think about the device you’re viewing this blog on. When you’re not using it, make sure it’s in 'hibernate' mode or switched off. If you’re also using a monitor, make sure it’s turned off at the end of the day to help save energy.

A final tip: Rather than print this post off, wasting paper, why not share it with friends using the social media buttons below?

¹ Energy Saving Trust – correct as date of publication.
² The Economist - – correct as date of publication.
³ The Environment Agency – correct as of date of publication

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.