A guide to going gaga for green homes

Top tips for going eco-chic from the Highgate Society Sustainable Homes Group

Top tips for going eco-chic from the Highgate Society Sustainable Homes Group - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Highgate Society share their secrets for sustainable eco-chic homes

Catherine Budgett-Meakin of the Highgate Society Sustainable Homes Group

Catherine Budgett-Meakin of the Highgate Society Sustainable Homes Group - Credit: Polly Hancock

In light of the series of talks being put on by The Highgate Society to encourage sustainability in north London properties, the experts from the Sustainable Homes Group shared their secrets and top tips for creating an eco-chic home.

Heating and plumbing expert John Sleeman, who will talk at the second event on March 15th, explains that the decision making process varies from property to property.

“Houses are different, and people lead different lives,” he says. “There isn’t necessarily a one size fits all.”

With that in mind, here are the experts’ top tips:

Top tips for heating… A good investment is a condensing boiler with weather compensation settings that modulate according to external temperatures. In January 2016, Alec Morrow, who will attend the March event, installed a Wiessman condensing boiler in an NW3 property. The client’s gas and electricity consumption dropped by 13,000kWh and 500kWh respectively up to February 2017. That’s equivalent to a saving of 20 per cent on gas and 7 per cent on electricity bills.

Top tips for renewables… Catherine Budgett Meakin of the Sustainable Homes Group has a ceiling airer for drying clothes rather than a tumble dryer. In the garden of her Highgate Village home she also has two water butts and a compost bin. Homeowners can also produce their own hot water using sunlight with an evacuated tube solar hot water system.

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Top tips for saving water… “Don’t waste water, shower rather than bathe,” says Sleeman. Homeowners should invest in plumbing fittings that don’t waste water like low-flush lavatories.

Top tips for windows and doors…Invest in heavy curtains and double glaze windows and doors. Seal under the front door and use keyhole covers to avoid draughts.

Top tips for roofs… Look at installing solar panels. Muswell Hill Methodist Church roof has installed a pitched slate roof system with 30 solar panels. The system typically generates 8000kWh per year and saves 8.85 tonnes of CO2. The church estimates that the eco-investment saves them around £700 per year.

Top tip for chimneys… Banish annoying (and ultimately costly) draughts with one nifty trick. Budgett Meakin inserted a chimney balloon in the fireplace of her Highgate home to reduce draughts and the escape of heat.

Top tip for lighting… Use LED or CFL lights where possible and invest in reflective paint which improves daylight use inside. Solatubes catch sunlight at roof level which travels down reflective tubing and into the rooms below.

Creating an energy-chic home will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 15th March at The Highgate Society. Tickets are available free via Eventbrite.

To find out more, visit highgatesociety.com.