Previous
Aware mother teaching smiling children how to recycle household waste.

Eight easy (and green) changes you can make around your home that won't cost the Earth.

20 Mar 2024 | 5 min

Hot off the press! 2023 was officially the warmest year on record, topping a chart dominated by nine of the last ten years alone.

This annual trend of spiking global temperatures highlights the devastating and cumulative effects that our post-industrial way of life has had our planet, creating challenging weather conditions, devastating drought and rising sea levels.

Governments, large scale industries and players in the property development sector have set ambitious environmental targets, including aims to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. However, if we truly want to reverse global warming, we all need to play our part. And, what better place to start than around our own homes.

At Together, we’re mindful of sustainability every day – and hold a week-long event for colleagues every year, with 2024’s initiative taking place between 11th March and 15th March. The week is an opportunity for our colleagues to engage in open and honest discussions about what we can do, personally and as a business, to improve our impact on the world around us. Our Planet is one of the four key pillars that make up our sustainability strategy, with more events focused on the environment planned as we look forward to Earth Day (22nd April).

So, as we look to support our colleagues and customers with their sustainability efforts, here are eight quick and easy ways that you can go eco at home without it costing you the Earth.

Inside your home:

  • Recycle old furniture and fittings

When the time comes to furnish your home, there are so many benefits to going vintage. Picking up an old cabinet from a second hand shop, finding a magnificent mirror on Freecycle, or refurbing a wardrobe by hand can add personality and style to your abode. It also cuts down on waste as less furniture finds its way to the landfill.

Manufacturing and transporting new items, often internationally, also adds significantly more carbon into the atmosphere than the process of renovating pre-existing pieces or buying second hand.

You could even make extra income as an upcycler – repairing, refurbing and reselling old items online – with many crafty Brits cashing in on the lucrative side hustle. This is echoed by an overall rise in second hand furniture sales in the UK showing that both the cost of living crisis and environmental considerations continue to change the way that we shop.

  • Fix the draught

Do you find yourself turning on the heating when you feel a chill? It could simply be a draught, caused by gaps in your doors and windows, pulling the hot air out of your home and letting in the cold from outside. Refit any doors that are coming away from the hinges, have dropped or won’t close, and use draught proofing strips around the seals of your windows. Not only will this help to keep your home warmer for longer, it will also reduce your heating bills and carbon footprint.

Bigger renovations such as triple glazing, ceiling insulation and wall insulation will help to keep your home even warmer by reducing the amount of heat escaping. These can be more expensive in the short term, but will help to make your home more energy efficient, saving money on utility bills over time. Also, you’ll increase the EPC rating and add value to your property, making it more attractive to buyers should you wish to sell.

For large scale home improvements like these, our second charge loans, starting at £20,000, might be the perfect solution – click here for more details.

  • Get a smart meter

Have you ever wondered exactly what the numbers on your electricity meter mean? More importantly, how much energy have you actually used? Being able to see how much energy you are using in your home, in real time, can help you to make more informed choices and reduce your usage and costs. With a smart meter, you can quickly see this information on a more user-friendly display.

And, they’re free! Most electricity providers will install a smart meter for you, at no extra cost.

  • Energy efficient lighting

It’s time to see the light. Swap out your energy-sapping, traditional bulbs for LED ones.

Compared to older incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs are shown to be 90% more energy efficient and last up to 25 times longer. That equates to massive savings in both the amount of energy you’re using and your energy bills over time.

  • Composting and recycling

As landfills continue to pile up and plastic pollutes our waterways and oceans, it’s never been more evident that we need to stop throwing away items that could be reused or recycled.

Composting is a great example of reusing material, as it encourages people to turn food waste that would usually be dumped in the bin into a rich, nutrient-filled compost that can be used in gardens and potted plants. Using the natural material will improve soil health, encourage plant growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, separating plastics and other recyclable materials can be a pain – but it’s a necessity, and ensures that more of the material can be recovered and reused. This helps to cut down on the amount of carbon introduced into the atmosphere compared to manufacturing new materials. And it also means that less hazardous material finds its way into our waterways or natural environments.

Outside your home:

  • Plant trees and flowers

One of the best and easiest ways to go green is to plant more greenery.

Firstly, plants naturally remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to reduce our carbon footprint and control climate change. In a single year, one mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it back into oxygen. Together is supporting a community forest charity, City of Trees, in their mission to plant more greenery and improve Greater Manchester’s woodlands – read more about our partnership here.

Trees and flowers also encourage wildlife to thrive, providing shelter and food for animals that contribute to the ecosystem we depend on. For example, bees are one of the biggest pollinators on our planet, helping to produce a third of our food supply. Yet bee populations are in decline, with 13 species already lost in the UK and another 35 at risk due to over farming, pesticides and a loss of natural habitats.

  • Hang out your washing instead of using a dryer or radiator

In the Summer months, take advantage of the good weather by using a washing line to dry your clothes instead of energy-guzzling tumble dryers and radiators. Not only will you reduce the amount of energy used and reduce unnecessary heat building up inside your home, but naturally drying your washing will make it smell fresh… just remember to bring it inside before you fire up the barbeque.

  • Grow your own produce

Ever got to Wimbledon fortnight and found no strawberries left on the supermarket shelves? How about growing your own?

More than 40% of households with gardens, allotments or balcony gardens in the UK have started growing their own fruit and veg. While research suggests that the main reason for a rise in green-fingered gardeners stems from increased food prices, growing your own produce is a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of your food. Not only are you reducing the emissions involved in growing the crop, you’ll reduce the carbon footprint from transporting the produce, often freighted internationally.

Also, if you have children, growing your own food is a fun, entertaining and educational activity that will help cultivate a greater understanding of our food and environment. It’s never too early to learn about how we can play our part in conserving our planet.

 

At Together, we take Sustainability seriously, launching our strategy to colleagues in January 2023. Our Planet is one of four pillars that we’ve made a commitment to supporting as a business, alongside championing Our Communities, Our Customers and Our Colleagues.

To read about the progress we’ve made on our Sustainability Strategy so far, download our 22-23 Sustainability report, Building a sustainable future, Together.

 

Any property used as security, including your home, may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any other debt secured on it.

Articles on our website are designed to be useful for our customers, and potential customers. A variety of different topics are covered, touching on legal, taxation, financial, and practical issues. However, we offer no warranty or assurance that the content is accurate in all respects, and you should not therefore act in reliance on any of the information presented here. We would always recommend that you consult with qualified professionals with specific knowledge of your circumstances before proceeding (for example: a solicitor, surveyor or accountant, as the case may be).

Lending decisions are subject to an affordability/creditworthiness assessment.

All content factually correct at the time of publishing.

Personal Together news Secure Loan