Staying sustainable as a first time home buyer
After the government announced key changes last week in the budget which will aid in cutting air pollution by raising diesel tax and investing in electrical cars rather than un-sustainable fuel alternatives, it’s clear that more people are waking up to the reality that sustainability is important. Not only is it something that the government can help with, it’s something we should all be investing in.
Yet, when we’re thinking about buying a home, sustainability isn’t often high on our priority list. Perhaps it should be, as investing in sustainable alternatives is both better ethically and provides a longer term solution for our housing needs. Buying a home is undoubtedly a long term investment, so why should things such as our interior design, garden furniture and energy suppliers be any different?
But where do we focus our efforts of sustainability in the home to really make a difference?
Furniture and interior design
It’s easy to buy into cheap, flat pack furniture when we’ve already forked out a lot on a new home. However, we’re losing a football pitch worth of forest every two seconds despite the fact that they play a vital role in the battle against global warming, by absorbing carbon from the air.
It’s not difficult to find furniture that is made with wood that is sourced from a sustainable forest, as more companies embrace an ethical slant. By checking whether or not the furniture we’re investing in is made from sustainably resourced wood, we can guarantee we furnish our home and protect the world's’ forests at the same time.
Outside in the garden
There are a whole host of sustainably sourced garden furniture available, from benches that have been made from high quality yet natural wood from a sustainable source, to simpler picnic tables that are made from 100% recycled materials.
But it doesn’t just stop at furniture. Companies such as EnviroBuild specialise in creating environmentally friendly decking, cladding and fencing from 100% sustainable materials. Saving these materials from landfill by giving them value and recycling them into a long life product, which can again be recycled in the future, provides a harmonious solution to sustainable living for first time home buyers.
Sustainable energy suppliers
One of the first things we’ll need to consider when buying a new home is choosing an energy supplier for our gas and electricity. When it comes to finding a supplier, the market is currently monopolised by the ‘big 6’ energy suppliers. These are global giants that entirely dominate the market, with little insight into where their profits are going.
However, there’s been a backlash and non-profit local energy companies have started to appear. Robin Hood Energy was the first in this respect, a Nottingham based non-profit energy company that offers an ethical alternative to the 'Big 6' energy companies. Finding a local non-profit supplier similar to this in your area ensures that you’re investing locally and into an ethically viable solution.
Going local isn’t exclusive to energy suppliers though. When you’re looking at buying a new home, think about using an estate agent that is exclusive to your area to keep it locally ethical, as well as providing other benefits.
Local property expert, Aaron Camden of Fairview Estates points out the importance of this, “Not only is it beneficial to be investing in a local business in an area that you’re going to be living in, working with a local estate agent means they’ll have a deeper personal investment and passion for that locality if they are residents themselves.
“It ensures their local knowledge will also be more in depth, and will be able to provide recommendations for first time home buyers such as schools and sports clubs.”
All the small things
Don’t forget the smaller things! Growing your own fruit and vegetables is organic and a good way to ensure a lower carbon footprint in comparison to buying tomatoes flown halfway across the world. Also, don’t forget to invest in a compost bin, to stop waste needlessly going into landfill.