8 home energy saving solutions to slash your consumption and curve soaring costs.
Over the past year energy costs have soared and, unfortunately, are predicted to continue to do so. The CBS (National statistical office of the Netherlands) has stated that the average household will be paying 86% more for energy this year than they did in 20211. This severe increase is the cumulative effect of our current turbulent global climate, ranging from the impact of Covid-19 to the sanctions on Russian oil triggered by the invasion of Ukraine in February. All of which has clearly exposed an unhealthy dependence on unrenewable fossil fuels, a source widely recognised to no longer be a viable source of energy if we are to successfully tackle climate change.
We have reached a tipping point with regard to peak global energy prices and pressure on our environment, meaning the moment to collectively slash energy consumption is now. Local governments are recognising this too. Amsterdam exemplifies this critical shift, having this month agreed on the goal to save 15% on gas in the city and the surrounding area within a year- you can find the published report here. Reducing our energy consumption is something we can all do, and now is certainly the time to do it.
Read on to discover 8 energy saving solutions you could introduce in your home to slash your consumption.
Image Source: AKKA Architects Residential Client
1. Water Flow Restrictors
For conserving the water you use from the main plumbing system in your home, consider fitting flow regulators, such as Tap Aerators, onto your taps, shower, etc. You can also reduce the amount of water by 2 litres per flush through installing a water displacement device in the cistern of a higher flush toilet2. This is a particularly effective solution if you have older fittings.
2. Energy Efficient LED Bulbs
This is one of the simplest and most widely-accessible solutions: replace the standard light bulbs in your home with residential LEDs. LED bulbs have been proven to use at least ‘75% less energy and even last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lighting’3.
3. Annual Boiler Checks
Ensuring you have your boiler regularly checked is not only important for safety but also keeps it working as efficiently as possible and thus reduces its energy consumption costs. Regular servicing prevents the disruptive accumulation of soot within the boilers’ internal components.
4. Programmable Thermostat
If you do not have one already, you should certainly consider having a programmable thermostat paired to your existing HVAC system. This allows you to adjust and automate the heating and cooling of your home to suit your daily schedule, for example eliminating energy wastage when no one is home.
5. Adding Foil Behind Radiators
If your home does not have cavity wall insulation, this might be a particularly relevant solution for you. Placing specialist insulative silver foil down the back of a radiator has the effect of reflecting heat energy into the open space of the room as oppose to permeating through the walls.
Image Source: AKKA Architects Residential Client
6. Window Insulation Kits
Window insulation kits are an affordable solution to limit the draft coming in through your windows, which can significantly cool a room and let heat escape. There are several kinds of insulations kits on the market, such as plastic film, magnetic and reflective foil.
7. Boiling Water Tap
Having a boiling water tap installed is a great alternative for households that routinely boil water multiple times a day, such as for tea. Boiling water via kettles accumulatively wastes a lot of water and energy, however these taps are expensive (approx. €1,500) so are best considered as a long-term investment.
8. Solar panels: Renewable Energy Source
Installing a solar panel on the roof of your building is highly effective solution to offset your energy bills. As solar technology has become more cost effective, the financial returns and environmental benefits can better offset the investment in terms of the installation and the maintenance costs. Some governments even compensate you in return (see here: IamExpat).
If you are looking for more ways to make your home more sustainable, we highly recommend taking a look at our two-part series on the Sustainable Home; Part I: Improving Energy Efficiency & Part II: Improving Your Self-Sufficiency. These articles feature a range from smaller to larger scale solutions, where the more significant adjustments such as replacing your windows with double-glazed would most likely come as part of a renovation project. Although now, with inflation on the rise, might not seem like an ideal time to pursue a home renovation – it is actually more important than ever to ensure your home operates energy efficiently and sustainably. Check out our article on Navigating Construction Costs to discover how you can approach a cost- effective renovation in the current financial climate.
If you need advice about updating energy saving home solutions or you are planning on designing or renovating your home and would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.
3 Easy Home Updates: minimum budget for maximum effect
There are many benefits that have been proven to come as a result of switching up your home environment. If the interior of your home has remained the same for a long period, the atmosphere can begin to feel slightly stagnant and uninteresting. Taking the time to make even the smallest and inexpensive changes to your interior can make a big difference to how you experience your environment. Switching it up can give your space a new sense of life and energy! And the spring season is the perfect time to welcome this sort of change.
Of course you can opt for a more extreme kind of change in the form of an in-depth home renovation project. however, since that is not always possible for everyone, this article will focus on ways to bestow that refreshing sense of life on your interior with changes that require very little to no financial commitment.
Read on to discover 3 simple but effective changes to update your home environment and give it a new lease of life.
Image Source: AKKA Architects, Residential Client.
1. Painting walls
Colour has a very significant effect over the mood and atmosphere created in any room. The beauty of this solution is that although painting wall(s) has the potential to dramatically transform a space and make a powerful statement, it is low cost and entirely possible to Do It Yourself. Consider these ideas:
- Accent one wall with colour, choosing a bold statement colour which contrasts the surrounding walls can really transform the energy of a space.
- Paint the adjacent (joining) walls of a meaningful corner in a room, this could be the vector point of an L-shaped sofa for example.
- Things to bear in mind when painting walls: take into account how the sun will interact with the colour if the accent wall is opposite a window. Also avoid painting more than two wall surfaces with the accent colour as the bold effect will be lost and the room would be overpowered.
Knowing which colours would best suit you and your given space can be challenging, therefore if you opt for this home update we highly recommend checking out our articles on 2022 Colour Trends and Implementing Colour beforehand.
2. Rearranging existing furniture
Changing the positioning of your furniture can have an unexpectedly significant impact on the dynamic of your living space, especially if it has sported the same arrangement for a long time. Rearranging furniture allows you to experiment with elements such as how you experience the natural light as well as how fluently you manoeuvre within and between your spaces. Improving these aspects can not only help with efficiency in your daily activities but can also grant a fresh perspective. Here are ideas for switching it up without buying anything new:
- Flip the room along the vertical or horizontal line axis of the room.
- Rotate the room along a central point, as if you were turning it like 180 degrees.
- If there is a central feature of attention in the room, such as a TV, try changing its position and then adjust the surrounding furniture to adapt to this change.
- Changing the position of mirrors in the space is particularly effectively. If you don’t have any, consider adding in a strategic location. (Ok, maybe buying one thing!)
Image Source: AKKA Architects, Residential Client.
3. Eliminating daily frictions
Eliminating the daily frictions you experience is a small but effective adjustment which can make your life easier and make you fall in love with your home all over again. Try locating the small day-to-day difficulties you frequently encounter in your living environment and eliminate them by introducing a solution to the problem. For example:
- Don’t have a safe place to put your phone in the bathroom? Add a small shelf exactly where you need to put your phone down.
- Continually misplacing your house keys? Drill a hook in the wall at an intuitive and unintrusive spot near your front door.
Problems of this nature may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things but such simple solutions can subtly make your living experience more relaxed and effortless.
The atmosphere in your home environment has a direct influence over the energy of those inhabiting the space, which is what makes it such an important factor in our lives.
If you are looking to make a more significant update to your home interior, check out one of our recent articles on Trendy Interior Design Styles for some inspiration! Beyond the small improvements we discussed here, another key aspect to your home environment being as convenient and stress-free as possible is ensuring home and work life can be effectively separated. This is particularly relevant if you are someone who finds themselves working from home often. Our article on Home Office Solutions offers simple and effective methods to create an ideal working environment in your home, even with constraints on space and budget.
If you need advice about updating your home environment or you are planning on designing or renovating your home and would like some help, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.
How to make the most of the corners of your hοuse.
Every house has corners and while corners have more potential than you think, they are often underutilized. Most residents tend to either fill them with decorative items, random objects that have nowhere else to go or leave them empty and disregarded. Every corner is an opportunity to refresh the aesthetic vibe of your house by creating useful and cozy spaces for your favorite habits.
This article features corner ideas intended to optimize your space and give extra depth to your house while focussing on what is important to you, in your daily life.
Read on to discover 7 corner ideas intended to optimize your living space...
1. The Coffee Break
Coffee is a ritual for many, consciously or unconsciously. A corner can easily be converted into an ideal place to savour your morning coffee before starting the day. Furthermore, you can also decide to dedicate a corner to preparing your perfect cup.
Image Source: Houzz.in
2. The Bar
At the end of the day, you might enjoy having your own evening activity or routine to come home to. A corner can be easily converted into a perfect place for house parties as well as quiet nights in. This can also be a perfect spot for a catch up conversation with your friend, a heart to heart with your partner, or even an alone moment of reflection, at the end of the day.
Image Source: Decoist.com
3. The Reading Corner
Whether you are a devoted bookworm or you simply enjoy flicking through magazines on Sunday morning, some corners are perfect to house a little library and a cozy seat to dive into your favorite readings. This is not only great to have a little moment to enjoy your reading, it is also a great solution to display your favorite books effectively and with style. Remember to make sure that you have appropriate lighting for reading without overworking your eyes.
Image Source: Curatedinterior.com
4. The Home Office
Creating a home office doesn’t need much. Sometimes, a small desk and a comfortable chair are all you need to create your own personal working space. A private corner can be the perfect spot to focus on your work or academic commitments, uninterrupted and without being completely isolated from the rest of the house.
Image Source: interiordesignacademy.com.au
5. The Green Corner
If you are in an apartment and have no garden, don’t despair! Creating a mini garden in a well-lit corner of your living space is an easy effective and beautiful solution. Having plants inside your living space can only bring positive energy and of course a refreshing atmosphere. In addition, placing a collection of plants in one corner, can encourage you to create a routine to take care of your beloved plants which works magic on your health and mental wellbeing.
Image Source: Atap.co
6. The Playroom
Creating a defined area for children to play, will not only help them, but also help you keep shared spaces such as you living room under control and easy to use for adults and young children alike. A corner can easily be converted into a special place for children to spend quality playtime. The play corner does not need to be a literal construction or physically closed off, just a defined area would help children feel safe in a space of their own.
Image Source: gharpedia.com
7. The Memory Lane
If you have even less space, and your corner is only wall surfaces, without much floor space, there is one more solution! A 2D corner can easily be converted into a heartwarming place where all of your great memories are displayed and cherished. Friends and family portraits, photos of significant events, vacation memories or even spontaneously captured moments, can all be displayed here to turn your house into a real home.
Image Source: Risenn.com
To sum up, no matter how big or small your house is, all houses have corners. By look around at the corners you have, you can decide, based on the space available, natural lighting coming through or not, size of the corner, and of course your own lifestyle needs – among others – what is the best idea to convert each of your corners into. You can always make the best out of corners and create more spaces with style to spend your and your family’s quality time.
If you are considering buying or renovating your home, and you are wondering how to make the most out of the corners of your house, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have and even recommend further unique ideas specially tailored to your own lifestyle.