The Green Homes Grant scheme was launched by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in an effort to cut carbon emissions across the country.
The scheme means homeowners across England could be eligible for a voucher of up to £5000 which can be used on renovations to make their properties more energy efficient.
Homeowners can use the vouchers for eco-friendly improvements such as:
Low carbon heating (such as heat pumps or solar thermal)
Replacing single glazing with double or triple glazing
Upgrading to energy efficient doors
But why stop there? The possibilities are near-endless when it comes to creating a more eco-friendly environment in the home. Although the grant doesn't cover everything, there's plenty more you can still do be more eco-friendly:
Hang thick curtains for improved insulation
Use energy-saving appliances
Wash more clothes at once and on a lower temperature
Turn your thermostat down by a couple of degrees
‘But what are the benefits?’ we hear you ask. Not only could you save approximately £200 on your energy bills, you can also make your home more comfortable with fewer drafts, potentially increase your home’s value and it’s great for the environment.
In light of this news, the mortgage experts at Bankrate.com have put together 10 of the most 'instagrammable' eco-friendly homes to give you some inspiration before designing your very own green oasis.
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Built to fully integrate with the environment, this house was designed around existing trees rather than destroying the natural habitats within the plot. Natural building materials, a living plant roof and large energy saving windows which face the sun, are just a few ways this property has been designed to be energy efficient.
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In an effort to find a sustainable housing solution for climate refugees, these resilient homes harness ancient techniques. Constructed from natural materials in the earth, sandbags, and barbed wire, these homes are designed to be fireproof, hurricane-proof, earthquake-resistant and they also use 100% solar energy.
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In theory, the larger your house, the more energy it will need to run. The architect of this New Zealand home combatted such problems by designing a much smaller space to minimise the need for more possessions which can end in landfill. In addition, the use of solar panels on this miniature home means it is able to produce its own energy and in turn, operate sustainably.
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Nestled in its green surroundings, this eco home is built using sustainable wood with multi-layered floors, walls and roof acting as the ultimate insulation system. It also boasts low-energy under-floor heating to keep toes toasty all winter. Notice this home also features large windows which will capture and hold a lot of light and warmth throughout the day. Depending on the chosen size, these eco-homes could cost anywhere between £15,000 to £85,000.
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Using materials and wood from the local area, the creators of this self-built home looked to its surroundings when building and decorating the house. In doing so, they helped the environment by 'upcycling' unwanted items and in turn hope to inspire those who visit to do the same. The glass atrium inside will also act as a great way to capture heat and spread warmth throughout the property.
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Usually made from gravel, steel and plants, green roofs and green walls are a fantastic way to insulate a home whether you want to be warmer or cooler. As this is a living material it works best in climates like the UK where it sees a lot of rain and according to experts, a green wall or roof do not cost too much to install. You could even put a green wall in your bathroom where it would thrive in the natural moisture.
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Designed to blend seamlessly into the seaside landscape, The Dune house has been built with sustainability at the forefront. Using solar energy, bio-fuel central heating and double glazed windows, the house is designed to heat, store and distribute warmth throughout the property which leaves it incredibly energy efficient.
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Built using locally sourced wood, this cabin in the woods has also been created with the environment in mind. Insulated using moss to cover the outside of the cabin and with recycled materials inside, this cosy cabin is playing its part when it comes to being environmentally friendly. It also boasts an outdoor bath which is heated by a wooden stove, and a chimney which was re-used from an old shed.
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Possibly inspired by Bilbo Baggins’ home in the Shire, this eco-home is designed to blend in using natural materials from the forest as its roof. A green roof has many eco-friendly benefits such as absorbing rainwater, providing insulation, creating a habitat for wildlife and keeping your house cool in the summer which makes your home energy efficient.
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Built with health as its motivator and an ambition to have a home with net-zero utility bills, this house proves that you don’t need to live in a forest to be considered eco-friendly. The home was built using locally sourced materials and has wastewater technology to reduce water consumption. Solar panels are also used and the insulation keeps the home warm for less energy.
More details regarding the Green Homes Grant scheme can be found on the government’s website.
Has the article inspired you to take the plunge and buy your own home? Check out this guide from our mortgage experts about how to buy a house. If you're already a property owner and looking to make improvements, you may want to compare remortgaging deals to find out how much you could borrow.