From little tweaks to big changes, here’s how to make the comfiest room in the house kinder on the environment.
A lot happens in the living room, from cosy nights cuddled up on the sofa and conversations over cups of tea, to impromptu dance parties and Christmas morning chaos. It’s the living room, because that’s where living happens. There’s a lot going on in this room, which means it’s a great place to make some sustainable changes – even little actions will have a meaningful pay-off.
Related: Nine ways to have a greener bathroom
- Kill vampire power
‘Vampire power’ is all the energy that’s being sucked out of the grid by appliances left in standby mode, and things like TVs, games consoles and stereo systems are some of the worst offenders. Turning equipment off at the wall can be a bit of a faff, so invest in a multi-socket adaptor or ‘standby saver’ to make things more convenient. You could save up to £30 a year on your bills in the process! Learn more about tackling vampire power here.
- Make the most of your curtains
There’s a lot you can do with the humble curtain. Thicker curtains or ones with thermal lining will help to stop heat escaping through windows in winter – just make sure they don’t drape over radiators so that warm air can circulate freely, so consider getting some curtain hooks to keep them in place. On hot summer days, keep curtains at least partially closed to keep direct sunlight out of the room, so you won’t be so reliant on fans or air-conditioning systems.
- Rethink your thermostat
It’s an oldie but a goodie: turn your thermostat down just one degree and you’ll be saving energy and money on bills – up to £60 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. If you’re in the lounge and feeling chilly, get bundled up under some blankets and create a lovely warm and cosy nest – relaxation is what the living is room is all about, after all.
- Choose LED lighting
Living room lights are some of the most-used lights in the whole house, so choosing low-energy options will make a big difference here. Swap out just five from your lounge and you could save as much as £32 a year. LEDs are the most efficient choice, and they come in loads of hues and styles, and they’re dimmer-switch compatible. According to the Energy Saving Trust, 2,700 Kelvin bulbs create a lounge-friendly warm white colour temperature.
- Paint a wall a lighter colour
If your living room is naturally quite dark, lighten things up by painting the walls (or a feature wall opposite the window) a light, bright colour. This will help to reflect natural light around the room, reducing your reliance on artificial light. You could even add a mirror for extra illumination. Be sure to choose ‘low VOC’ paint, which contains fewer Volatile Organic Compounds that can be harmful to your health and environment. Read more about sustainable home renovation .
Related: Nine ways to have a greener kitchen
- Block your chimney if you’re not using it
Chimneys act like giant hoovers, sucking warm air out of your home and pulling in air from other gaps and crevices. This leads to the cold draughts that’ll have you cranking up your thermostat. You can deal with this really easily using a chimney balloon or draught stopper. They’re inexpensive and can be installed – and uninstalled – with minimal fuss.
- Go for energy-efficient TV equipment
When the time comes for a new TV (and you should really try to keep using your existing TV for as long as possible), make sure you choose an energy efficient model. Most modern TVs have been designed with energy efficiency in mind, although opting for one with dedicated eco settings is even better. LCD TVs are also usually more energy efficient than plasma TVs, and they have a longer lifespan.
- Forget store-bought furniture
Mass-produced flat-pack furniture uses a huge volume of natural resources and energy to manufacture, and a lot of the time it’s flimsy stuff that doesn’t last very long. Break the cycle by choosing well-made, sturdy pieces in sustainable materials that will stand the test of time – they might cost more now but in the long run they’ll end up being better value for money. Better yet, give a pre-loved piece of furniture a new home. Not quite to your taste? Upcycle! It’s amazing the difference a lick of paint or new handles can make to a piece.
- Consider investing in double glazing
Double glazing is a big investment, but it’s one that pays dividends in the long run. Not only will double glazing help you save big on your energy bills, but it’ll make your home feel that much cosier in winter and cooler in summer, as well as bringing extra benefits such as added security and reduced noise pollution from outdoors. Find out how much double glazing could save you here.
The bottom line
The living room is probably the busiest, most-used and well-loved room of the house, so making a few sustainable changes here will go a long way in protecting our One Home from climate change. Remember, every little action makes a difference!
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