The second and possibly shorter post on improving your home.
Start with your water companies website and see what you can get for free from them. My local company Thames offer a few here. I suspect that like the energy companies they don’t do this out of the kindness of their hearts but that is no reason not to take advantage of the offers. If you get a choice you can replicate a hippo with that old fashioned solution of a brick in the cistern so the tap and shower heads are probably a better bet.
So once you have your freebies what else can you do?
A good way to use loads of water for not very much. If you get a new one make sure it is dual flush. For older ones you can retrofit a low water flush system, mine allows you to choose as much or as little water as you want and has worked fine for over 5 years despite attempts by visitors to pull the handle off the wall. There are a number of systems available in DIY stores to do the same for you and I am sure you can find them in local stores as well as B&Q.
Get a water butt
Simple to install, you may even get a discount through your water company again. Save the water that falls on your roof and use it throughout the garden.
Install a green roof and rain garden
A rain garden is one that saves rain water and makes the best use of it. Typically they are fed by the gutters from your house. They cut the amount of water used on your garden and also contribute to reducing runoff from your garden and help avoid localised flooding. You do need a slope away from your house (however slight) to do this cheaply and easily.
There are many traditions of home decoration that can reduce the energy use of our houses:
These provide insulation against draughts from under skirtings and gaps in floorboards, especially with a nice thick recycled underlay. They also provide much better acoustics for a room than harsh wooden floors, you might be able to hear what your friends are saying if pubs brought back a good thick carpet over the wooden boards.
Nice lined and fitted curtains reduce draughts and provide some degree of insulation. If you have radiators under your windows (an obsession with British builders) make sure the curtain is behind not in front of them so you reduce heat loss.
Because they are tighter to the window these can be even more efficient that curtains. Studies by Scottish Heritage have shown that thermal blinds can lower heat loss through windows almost as much as insulated shutters.
Doors are excellent insulators and shutting them is a good start to reducing draughts in the house and annoying any indigenous teenagers. Draught snakes are always nice to have and allow you to control the ventilation in your room.
Whilst these won’t make your home any more efficient they will reduce the amount of power and heat you need to bring in to the home. There are a wide number of options which are suitable for different houses.
If you want to know more about possibilities for improving your house do get in touch.