Refurbishing your home rather than building a new one is a great way to save money and time. However, as we are all becoming more conscious of sustainability, here are some top tips from locally-based architects Mattinson Associates for reducing your environmental footprint during the refurbishing process.

Solar energy has the least negative impact on the environment compared to any other energy source. Even when experiencing cloudy conditions, solar panels work in all weathers and require very little energy to do so. Installing them will not only help the environment through saving energy, but your electricity bills will be lower too.

We often clad our projects with an FSC-certified timber, sourced from sustainable forests and treated with an environmentally-friendly wood protection. If you’re looking to render your home, Kiem mineral paint is a great option that does not contain any solvents, plasticisers, biocides or preservative.

UPVC windows are made from plastic, a resource that is reliant on oil supplies which will eventually run out, so we prefer using sustainably-sourced timber or recyclable aluminium windows. As for specification, windows have energy efficiency ratings graded from A to G and U values which indicate the rate of transfer of heat through a structure. With this in mind, picking a window or door with a low U value and A rating will be more thermally efficient, thus more environmentally friendly than others.

Rainwater harvest systems can be easily installed on existing houses. They collect rainwater and store it underground where it is used for w.c’s, washing machines and garden water. The water is filtered so it is clean, clear, and odourless and can save approximately 50% on your water bill.

Buying second-hand furniture and textiles reduces the demand for new resources and it comes without packaging. Instead of buying a new flat-pack piece that’s mass-produced and lined with chemicals like formaldehyde, search your local antique and second-hand shop to give your home a distinctive look. As well as costing less, these pieces can have great stories with them that you just cannot buy!