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    Go green - lets-do-diy.com

    Buy ‘green’ products

    Be environmentally aware in your purchases. Where possible, buy second hand, recycled or reclaimed products. Rather than throwing out unwanted possessions, list them in the local paper or on websites like Freecycle so that others can use them.

    Environmentally friendly building and decorating materials are now becoming widely available. A number of houses are now constructed with straw bales or concrete-filled polystyrene blocks, which are both cheap and excellent insulating materials. Products to look out for include:

    When you buy new
    appliances look for
    the energy
    efficiency rating
    marked on the
    energy label.
    Energy Label - lets-do-diy.com
    • Natural paints and varnishes
    • Recyclable steel guttering
    • Recycled paper loose fill insulation
    • Sheep wool blanket insulation
    • Turf roof coverings
    • Boron based timber preservatives
    • Certified sustainable wood bearing the Forest Stewardship Council logo
    • Eco-friendly linoleum and matting
    • Thermally-efficient building blocks

    When you are next shopping for food, remember that excess food packaging and long-distance transport wastes energy and increases greenhouse gas emissions. Choose food with minimal packaging that is recyclable. Buying locally grown produce rather than food which as been flown across the world will reduce transport pollution as well as support local agriculture.

    You might even consider growing your own vegetables, using solar energy to grow fruit like tomatoes rather than artificial heating, as found in commercial greenhouses. Organic farming uses 35% less energy per unit of production than that consumed on most modern farms. Because harmful pesticides are avoided, organic farming also reduces water pollution and promotes biodiversity.

    You can also buy clothes made from organic or recycled materials, or from hemp, which requires less water and fertilizer than cotton. Fairtrade clothes are another eco-friendly option and often use natural dyes.

    Energy-efficient appliances

    When you buy new appliances look for the energy efficiency rating marked on the energy label. All EU-manufactured refrigeration and laundry appliances, dishwashers, ovens, air conditioning units, lamps and light bulbs are rated from A to G with A as the most efficient (or A++ for refrigerators).

    The energy label will also give a performance rating of the appliance according to standard industry tests, and show the energy consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh) and water consumption of the appliance. The most environmentally sound dishwasher will use less than 15 litres of water per load, an efficient washing machine less than 50L, and a washer-dryer less than 80L.

    Gas-fuelled appliances are usually more efficient than electrical appliances with the exception of microwaves, which are more energy efficient than gas or electric ovens; and electric induction hobs, which are equally as efficient as gas hobs.

    Next page: Logos to look out for