Apr 242020
Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Changes to our House

In celebration of Earth Day (April 22nd), I wanted to update you on the sustainable and eco-friendly changes to our house we’ve made recently. These aren’t meant to be boastful or a definitive list of things you must do, but more so as a way of illustrating the diverse big and small changes you can make to your routine or household to reduce your impact on the planet!


By far one of the most sustainable changes we have made is getting our compost bin. It has significantly reduced the amount of food waste that goes to the council collected bin. Plus, eventually we won’t need to buy plastic bags of commercial compost. See How to Compost.

Compost 1

Green energy

Another huge sustainable change we made was switching to green energy (100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon neutral gas). I really like Bulb so far: they seem to be a communicative company and it was easy to switch! They have been around for a while and are the UK’s biggest green energy supplier; plus they are very affordable!


Referral code: If you’re in the UK and want to use Bulb, my referral code will get you £50 off! www.bulb.me/katherinea7018

Note: This code is a referral link  where I also get a discount but does not affect my recommendation of this product.

Smart Meter 

I had my reservations about putting in a smart meter as the scheme has come under scrutiny for false claims of saving money, and also possibly greenwashing marketing. The reason we decided to let Bulb install a smart meter in our home was so that we didn’t need to keep going outside to do meter readings. I also like that I can now monitor our energy and gas live. It makes me a bit more mindful about what I choose to do.

For example, using the gas fireplace for about 30 minutes cost around £0.50. I am now more inclined to put an extra sweater on. Also, I now know which of our appliances are not energy efficient and will look to replace them with more efficient models when they eventually stop working/ cannot be repaired.

Smart Metre

Eco setting and shorter showers

We have a power shower and when we moved in the shower was so strong it was like a pressure washer. Sure, my hair got clean and it felt nice, but we would run out of hot water after 5 minutes. I’m sure it was nearly a full bathtub worth of water in about 4 minutes! When we had the plumbers round, they switched the setting on our shower to the eco setting which reduces the amount of water that comes out. It isn’t a trickle, but I’ve noticed a difference. Moreover, because we are so worried about running out of hot water, our showers have become even more efficient!

New hot water tank

The week we moved in our immersion unit (back up heater) in our hot water tank sparked and burst the seal (not a fun night of hot water spraying out of the tank). Our hot water tank was old and needed updating so I gave us the Christmas present of a new hot water tank. It is much more efficient and better insulated.

Timed water and heat

We have our heating and water on a schedule so that we aren’t heating the house when we aren’t home.

Water butt

Thankfully there was a water butt already installed at our house. I still need to clean it out, but the water is clean enough to water established plants. Note: you should not use standing water on seedlings.

No junk mail sticker and Royal Mail form

Royal Mail are paid to post junk mail so two of the ways you can combat unwanted advertising are filling out the Royal Mail no unsolicited mail form, and displaying a no junk mail sticker. Note: This is not working very well and we were still getting junk mail before the pandemic lockdown.


We have loads of houseplants and garden plants and we are also growing our own veg this year. I’m also planting bee/pollinating insect friendly flowers, such as a wild flower meadow in our front garden.  

Seedlings 2

Wildlife habitats and bird feeders

We already had a bird feeder and hedgehog hut in the garden, plus various bits of overturn pot sherds for habitats. We have added an additional bird feeder, suet feeder, toad hut, and will be getting a bird bath.

Door mat

I chose to order our new front entrance mat from a UK company that is carbon neutral and makes their rugs out of recycled materials. If you’re interested, the brand is Hug @ Home and you can get 15% off with HUG9RF (not affiliated).

Door Mat

Energy Efficient Appliances

The energy rating was an important factor when I purchased our fridge and washer. The washing machine is the Samsung Eco Bubble which uses very little electricity. Our fridge was A++ as I couldn’t find an A+++ model small enough to fit in the available alcove.

Mechanical Lawn Mower

We tried to get a second hand mower but didn’t have much luck as we wanted a mechanical one. A mechanical mower doesn’t use electricity or fuel so it seemed to be the most eco-friendly option.

Second hand gardening tools and furniture

Where possible, we are opting to buy or inherit second hand items. These include, gardening tools from Lucy’s grandparents and from Orinoco Scrap Store in Oxford, and also Lucy’s ‘new to us’ bedside table from the Oxford Oxfam Superstore.

My goals to make my actions more sustainable:
  • I have a bad habit of overfilling the electric kettle, wasting electricity boiling unneeded water. I will try to be better about only boiling what I need when I need it.
  • Try not to waste water. I will try to be more diligent about using our dehumidifier water and residual tap/shower water rather than just dumping it down the sink.
  • Dry laundry on the line whenever possible.
  • Keep the freezer door closed! I also have a bad habit of keeping the freezer door open for the two seconds that I pull out frozen veg to add to a boiling pot. Must remember: Open door – remove item – CLOSE DOOR – add food to pot – put back in freezer!
  • We brought our energy efficient bulbs with us when we moved, but I think there are a few more to update in the house.
  • Insulation – Our house is fairly well insulated, but we would like to add some more insulation to the roof.

What ways have you made your home more sustainable, big or small?


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