Turning an old house into a green house

With new innovations in building technology offering more and more sustainable materials, methods and insulating techniques, the homes of the future will be a lot more eco-friendly than those our forefathers built. But what if your house dates from before contactors were thinking green?

Let’s have a look at ways to turn an older home into a greener home using modern methods.

Insulating for the South African climate

Whether looking for a property for sale in Pretoria, Cape-Town or Durban, South Africans always have to keep the weather in mind. We enjoy hot summers and chilly winters with sporadic rainfall throughout the year. Insulating your home to accommodate any climate is possible without undergoing hectic renovations.

Laying insulation above your ceiling will already offer a buffer keeping temperatures stable within your home. In the summer an insulating layer keeps heat out, and in the winter your electricity bill will take less of a knock as heat is kept trapped inside.

For even better insulation effectiveness, add a layer whenever you replace floors, and invest in tightly sealing windows to prevent regulated air flowing out. In the meantime closing drapes at dusk already makes a big difference in keeping heat inside.

Saddle up some sunshine

Solar energy technology is becoming more and more effective, accessible and affordable. Installing some solar panelling on your roof can provide enough clean, sustainable electricity to power free-standing appliances and save up to 30% on your electricity bill.

These days you can buy anything from solar heaters, cookers and lighting solutions to save money in the long run and aid in preserving the environment. These are called active solar technologies, which means it replaces electricity as a power supply.

Passive solar solutions include sunroofs and skylights which use natural sunlight as a heat and light source.

Waste not, want not

In an effort  minimise water consumption, some very simple adjustment around an older home can make a big difference. Just installing water aerators in bathrooms and kitchen sinks, for instance, increases pressure without turning the tap on full-blast.

If you feel like going a step further, reducing the size of toilet tanks and replacing old shower heads with ones that use water economically will reduce consumption more than you think.

Outside the house planting an indigenous garden means you’ll be helping to preserve South Africa’s beautiful plant life and reducing water-use. Our native flora is used to our rainfall patterns and requires less watering in the dryer months. Cascading lawns are gorgeous, but require a lot of maintenance and irrigation. Rather decorate your yard with rock-gardens and indigenous ground creepers that can withstand a bit of sun.

Every little bit helps, so there is always something you can do to make your old home an eco-friendly haven.