Creating a sustainable home First steps to going green
Easy ways to go green
Going green doesn't have to be expensive. There are plenty of things you can do that will help reduce your impact on the environment – and benefit your wallet – without starting any major projects. Here are some simple green tips.
- Switch off the lights when you leave a room.
- Turn your thermostat down by 1°C (this can cut your bills by 10%).
- Save water. Try not to let water run down the drain – use a plug or bowl in your basin. Don't let the water run when brushing your teeth. When you’re making a cup of tea, don’t fill the kettle to the brim – only use the amount of water you need.
- Have a shower rather than a bath – as long as it’s not a power shower you’ll use
- about two-fifths of the water.
- When you use the dishwasher, washing machine or tumble drier, make sure you have a full load.
- Keep appliance temperature settings low and make use of energy or time-saver options if you have them.
- Appliances such as televisions and stereos can use a similar amount of energy on standby as they do in use – turn them off.
- Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly so they run more efficiently.
- Close curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping.
- Move your furniture away from radiators to allow heat to circulate.
- Don’t leave mobile or cordless phones on charge – unplug them as soon as they are ready.
- Recycle as much as possible, including using bath water to water your garden.
Once you get used to these simple changes, there are other areas that you can investigate to make your home more sustainable.
Our Energy section has lots more money-saving tips, including expert advice on cutting your energy bills and reviews of Best Buy energy monitors that show you how much electricity you use in real time.
One easy way to save money and use less electricity is to buy energy-saving light bulbs.
Other sustainable products include buying more energy-efficient appliances, especially those that use less electricity to run, such as tumble dryers, dishwashers and extractor fans.
Did you know that a cheap dishwasher could end up costing you more over its lifetime because of high running costs than a more expensive but more efficient dishwasher? Look out for the Which? Energy Saver logo in our product reviews and find out which model is cheaper to run using our handy energy cost calculators.
Solar power-charged products are clearly a good way to reduce your dependence on non-sustainable energy resources.
If you are carrying out home improvements, you can now buy virtually everything you need from sustainable materials, such as timber from sustainable forests.
Beware of so called eco-gadgets. Whilst some can cost-effectively help you to save resources, others are not needed and could cost you more than you'll ever save. You can read the list of 10 eco-gadgets you don't need and five you do in our eco-gadgets investigation.