How to future-proof your home for a changing world
Is your home ready for more extreme weather and higher energy bills? Let’s find out.
The world doesn’t stand still. And your home, whenever it was built, is a product of its time1:
- These days, most new homes are built with solar panels. But most of the UK’s homes were built before the technology was widely available.
- Over 70% of homes were built before the 80s, when summers weren't as hot, and winters weren't as cold or wet as they are today.
- Today, the cost of heating a home is higher than when nearly every home was built.
In this ever-changing world, our homes need to adapt just like we do. So why do we leave our homes unchanged and outdated? How can we make sure that our homes don’t stay relics of the past but instead become havens of the future? And how can we make sure that our home isn’t just updated for our current needs, but our future needs too?
In this article, we look at some of the major trends that you should consider when future-proofing your home.
Combatting rising energy bills
With energy prices having recently jumped to all-time highs, the cost of heating your home has probably been on your mind a little more than previous years.
And while energy bills have fallen slightly from their 2022 peak, there’s no guarantee they won’t rise again. So, future-proofing your home to combat future price rises is something you may want to consider.
Here’s how to do it...
1. Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances
You can’t control the cost of electricity, but you can reduce the amount of electricity your home uses. When it’s time to replace a major appliance, look at its energy-efficiency rating. Washing machines, fridge freezers and electric ovens are likely to use the most energy of all your appliances,2 so choosing a more energy-efficient one could save you money over the long run. An A-rated fridge freezer costs around £640 less to run during its lifetime than an F-rated unit.3
2. Install smart thermostats and heating controls
Don’t underestimate the power of smart tech when it comes to reducing your energy bills. Smart thermostats and heating controls let you customise your home’s heating and cooling schedule down to the hour or minute. Plus, you can control them remotely through your smartphone. This can save you from heating an empty home or boiling water when you’re not around. Some smart thermostats claim to save their customers up to £311 per year.4
3. Improve your home’s insulation
If you’re going to spend money on heating your home, you should make sure the heat’s locked in for as long as possible! Properly insulating your home will make it more energy-efficient, meaning less heat escapes and your boiler won't have to work as hard. Insulating the walls, roof and floors can greatly improve your home’s energy efficiency. And while it will involve an upfront investment, you’ll see the payback through lower energy bills in the long term.
4. Consider generating electricity with solar panels or a heat pump
Going green doesn’t just help the planet. It can make financial sense too. Solar panels and heat pumps can generate enough electricity to supply a significant portion of your home’s energy needs, greatly reducing your reliance on the grid. Plus, you could even earn money by selling any extra power back to the grid.
Preparing for a changing climate
In the UK, we’re already feeling the effects of climate change, with more extreme weather events including flooding, heatwaves and storms becoming more common and severe.
The effects of climate change are expected to affect us even more over the coming century, so we need to make sure our homes are fit for whatever the weather might throw at them.
Here are a few things to consider...
1. Shade your home for hotter summers
Tuesday 19 July 2022 was a watershed moment for the UK, as outdoor thermometers breached 40C for the first time in recorded history.5 Extreme temperatures are expected to become more common, so shading your home could significantly improve your comfort in future. You could do this by installing sunshades or awnings over your windows, and even planting trees on the sunnier sides of your home to provide natural shade.
2. Prepare for wetter weather
By 2070, the UK is predicted to become 30% wetter than 1990.6 So, futureproofing against heavy rain and flooding is essential. You can do this by checking your home’s drainage system to make sure it’s up to the job, as you may need to install extra drains or upgrade your home’s existing ones. If you live in an area that’s at risk of flooding, you could install a sump pump which will get rid of excess water from your home’s lowest level.
3. Choose plants suitable for warmer and wetter weather
The garden often gets overlooked when we’re thinking about making our homes more resistant to climate change. But with hotter, drier summers and colder, wetter winters on the way, plants that may currently thrive in your garden might struggle in future. Some hardy plants to consider adding to your garden include lavender, geraniums, daylilies and ferns.
Making changes to your home today could significantly improve your home’s energy efficiency and your personal comfort in the future.
But if you’re keen to make simple changes to boost your home’s efficiency today, read 20 quick tips to lower your energy bills and prep for winter.
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