Home Improvements

It Must Be Green | Oxford is My World - Eco Friendly Planet Saving Tips | LIFESTYLE |  Home Improvements

  • Contact your local City Council for advice on environmentally friendly refurbishment, garage conversions and extensions, or refer to the Energy Saving Trust's Best Practice Guidance.
  • Buy reclaimed wood for half the price of new timber from your local Wood Recycling. You can also buy reclaimed floorboards on eBay that have a genuine antique look and are much cheaper than new floorboards.
  • Buy paints that have a minimal Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content (0.1%-2.99%). VOCs are harmful to our respiratory system and to the ozone layer, and even low VOC paints can contain up to 7% VOCs. Minimal VOC paints aren't usually more expensive and include some DIY store own-brands.
  • If you're re-arranging your kitchen put the fridge in the coolest place you can and if it has to go near any warm appliances (such as cookers or boilers) leave a good gap.
  • The National Association of Salvage Traders has details of suppliers of salvaged and reclaimed building materials.

  • Visit the Energy Saving Trust's virtual Best Practice House for guidance on how to build or refurbish to the highest energy efficiency standards.
  • Paint manufacture can be very water and energy intensive. For paints which have been made in an ecologically sound way consult The Green Building Store, Green and Easy or Ecos Organic Paints.
  • Alternatively you can get donated paint from the Orinoco Scrapstore, they will usually just ask you for a donation.
  • Donate unwanted or left over paint to Orinoco Scrapstore or the Community RePaint scheme (Redbridge Recycling Centre).
  • The Green Building Press publish a variety of low impact building books, including the Green Building Bible. They also host a sustainable building website which includes a well-used Green Building Forum.

  • For technical advice, fact sheets and details of eco-building professionals visit the AECB's (The Sustainable Building) website, there are also discounts on eco paints and materials for AECB members.
  • Investigate the Low Impact living Initiative, they run courses in sustainable building methods and will even teach you how to build your own solar hot water system.
  • Find inspiration in your local community: The 40% House Report, discusses how we can reduce our domestic energy use by 60% and gives examples of energy saving refits, such as a Victorian End Terrace, a 1920s semi and a 1980s development.

For more infomation on this topic, please visit "Oxford is My World - Your Guide to Saving the Planet"