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Future-proofing Our Houses

  • 6 years ago

We all agree that climate change is real and that it presents huge challenges to us and the way we’ll live in the future. Most of us are worried and are reducing our carbon footprints, but despite our best efforts, we’re going to see some big changes so what we really should do is ensure our homes are ready.

Wet winters, scorching summers

Previous generations have reacted to changes but surely by now, humanity is smart enough to pre-empt them! We should, according to the science bods, brace ourselves for winters that are a quarter wetter and summers that are a quarter scorchier (ahem), which means more floods and more droughts.

If you plan to sell your house in a few years, or you’re leaving it to the children, here are some ideas from NASA, the Met Office and the Committee on Climate Change for prepping it.

Get a green roof

Green roofs are great for the climate in several ways – they keep the place cool in summer, warm in winter and they absorb water, unlike tiles. They also feature plants, which absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Making sure you have a decent-sized lawn is also important, so if you can, replace your paved drive.

Use passive cooling techniques

Passive simply means it doesn’t use much energy, so ideas like using blinds on the windows during the day and then opening the windows at night to let warm air out are simple enough

UK buildings are designed to retain heat, so we need to let go of this and adopt a more Mediterranean approach of shutters, blinds, and reflective window-coverings to cool down our interiors.

Install water-efficient appliances

It’s easy to use less water by installing water-efficient appliances like low-flow toilets and showers – using this combination can save up to 15,000 litres per person each year.

Other appliances like washing machines and dishwashers can be upgraded to low-flow models quite cheaply and it’s also a good idea to locate them on first floors in case of floods. Another great flood-proofing idea is to move your ground floor plug sockets to a higher position on the wall.

What about the cost?

It’s not as bad as you might imagine, as you don’t have to do everything at once. When it’s time to replace your washing machine, buy the most efficient model you can afford. There’s no immediate rush; if you aim to implement one or two measures a year you should still be ahead of the curve. In all, you could be looking at £10,000 to £15,000, but over the course of several years, with the green roof and moving plug sockets being the most expensive ventures. It’ll be worth it in the long-run.

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