Why insulation works

A little goes a long way when it comes to home insulation, says environmental campaigner George Marshall from Oxford.

Upping the insulation can cost very little and is the single most important thing you can do in your home.

You save money on bills, you do the environment a favour and you end up with a house that’s healthy and more comfortable to be in.

In our renovations we doubled the insulation required by building regulations for an extra cost of a few hundred pounds.

The advice about babies used to be that they need warm rooms. That’s changed.

The recommendation now is that the temperature should be 16-18°C. We keep our house at 17.5°C and our bedroom at 16°C.

Most household thermostats have a default setting of 21°C. That’s a huge efficiency gain.

Having children makes you think particularly about two things: your choice of flooring and paints.

Our ground floor is covered with cork, which is a very good eco-material and cheap, too.

When you are flooring, you have a choice between wood, stone, paving, cork, lino and carpet.

Carpet is problematic because of energy use, materials and toxic gases – even with the very good stuff – and dustmites.

There is a strong link between dustmites and asthma. 

The love affair we Brits have with wall-to-wall carpeting is one of the main reasons for our extremely high level of asthma.

Cork is warm and soft underfoot, and by buying it we are helping to support the Iberian cork forest under threat because of the rise of plastic corks.

We have used natural paints in the house. Ok, they do cost more, but it’s not much when you look at the cost of doing building work.

Our extension cost about £12,000. The extra cost of the natural paint was about £20. So what!

Find out more about how George renovated his house including inspiring ideas for transforming yours - visit http://www.theyellowhouse.org.uk/

This is an extract from Save cash & save the planet.