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Home ideas to help the environment – and boost your mood

Smart tips for every room

Planning a home makeover with a difference this autumn? Interior designers and building suppliers specialising in wellness, sustainability and smart tech highlight renovations and improvements that they suggest could be better for the environment, your wellbeing – and your wallet.

If you’re renovating your home, there are plenty of smart ways you can make your plans more eco-friendly – and potentially cut your utility bills. Some energy efficiency measures in your home could potentially save you £225 a year1. But as well as going green, some interior designers claim that home improvements can help lift your mood and boost your wellbeing.

We’ve asked a specialist panel for their tips and ideas to transform a series of rooms, focusing either on wellness or sustainability

Oliver Heath, sustainability and biophilic interior designer and TV presenter on the BBC, ITV and Channel 4

Oliver Heath, sustainability and biophilic interior designer and TV presenter on the BBC, ITV and Channel 4

Will Kirkman, owner of Ecomerchant, an eco-friendly building materials supplier

Will Kirkman, owner of Ecomerchant, an eco-friendly building materials supplier

Elina Grigoriou, wellbeing interior designer and author of Wellbeing in Interiors

Elina Grigoriou, wellbeing interior designer and author of Wellbeing in Interiors

Peter Filcek, Global Product Director at Hive, a smart home technology company

Peter Filcek, Global Product Director at Hive, a smart home technology company

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Wellness

From meditation smartphone apps to organic food, wellness has been growing in popularity in recent years. The sector includes all the ways that we manage our mental and physical health, and is now worth £2.8 trillion a year globally2.

“In the context of interior design, wellbeing goes much deeper than conventional approaches, which focus simply on how a room looks,” says Elina. “Wellbeing is about creating spaces that support our emotional, cognitive and physical needs, taking into account elements like natural light, materials and textures, air and water quality.”

Sustainability

Consumers are increasingly going green. Making your home more sustainable can work in a number of ways, says Oliver. “Primarily, we focus on using recycled and environmentally-friendly materials and examine ways to reduce energy consumption. But it’s also about bringing nature into your home, for example by using plants and trees wherever possible.”

Smart tech

Smart home technology, which includes devices such as thermostats, plugs or light bulbs, can help to reduce energy use, lowering your environmental impact and saving you money. It gives you the ability to ‘connect’ to your home via devices that can be controlled online via your smartphone, so you can manage your heating, lighting or home electricals wherever you are.

Peter Filcek, from Hive, says: “Smart technology gives people a means to make their home greener and lessen its overall carbon footprint. Accidentally leaving lights turned on, having appliances constantly on standby or heating an empty home; these are just a few things that can easily be remedied by using smart technology. And not only will it reduce your impact on the environment, it will also help to save money.”

Room by room

Other eco-tips from the specialists

Smart thermostats allow you to manage your heating at home using an app on your smartphone, which means you can easily switch it on or off depending on your plans.

“Smart thermostats connect to an app on your smartphone to monitor your location, so if you’ve gone out and left the heating on, they can then send you a reminder to turn it off. Some models can also be controlled using voice commands via a home assistant,” says Peter.

Meanwhile, insulating your home can significantly reduce the amount of energy you use. You could save £135 a year on your energy bills and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 550kg with 270mm of loft insulation, based on a typical semi-detached home1, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

There are a range of options, beyond loft insulation – from the roof and walls to pipes and radiators. Visit the Energy Saving Trust website for more information.

Your gas or electricity supplier may be able to help with the cost of installing energy-efficiency measures like insulation. Contact your energy company to find out how it could help.

Funding your renovations

Whether you’re planning a major eco-refurbishment or a minor upgrade to improve your wellbeing at home, a Premier Barclayloan could help you out. You can check your personalised price quote online or on your mobile. Subject to application, financial circumstances and financial borrowing history.

You need to be registered for Online Banking or the Barclays app to check your personalised price quote. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to apply, but if you’re not registered it will take longer.

You might not be able to apply for a Barclayloan, or see your personalised price quote or provisional loan limit online or in your app, because certain restrictions apply. If this happens to you, please contact us to discuss your options.

If you already have a mortgage, you could consider additional borrowing to fund home improvements. If you have a mortgage with us, read our guide to additional mortgage borrowing.

Find out more about Premier mortgages.

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