With focus across the globe firmly on sustainability, responsible businesses are working on reducing their impact on the plant. However, we can all to our bit as individuals to be greener. 

So, with winter upon us, we thought it would be useful to provide some simple expert tips and tricks on how to keep your home warm, whilst doing your part in the fight against climate change.

Our Group Sustainability Analyst, Ryan Menezies, shares his advice and insights on greener living this winter in our blog below…


How can you keep your home warm yet sustainable over winter?

There are several simple ways to conserve energy and save on our heating bills when the temperature drops. Plus, with Christmas just around the corner, every little saving helps at this time of year.

Switch to a smart thermostat: A smart thermostat is a high-tech way to save electricity in the winter. Smart thermostat savings come from the ability to fine-tune and optimise when your heating runs. You can program the thermostat to turn down while you’re sleeping or away and then set it warmer for your arrival back home at the end of the day - allowing you to reduce your bills in winter without sacrificing comfort. At Cala we use energy efficient lighting and heating in all of our homes, and have recently partnered with Google Nest to offer the Google Nest Smart Learning Thermostat on various developments throughout the UK.

Stop draughts: Use draught proofing strips on doors, windows and loft hatches. Use draught excluders on the bottom of doors and letter boxes. Plus, if you aren't using your fireplaces, use an inflatable pillow to block the chimney or fit a cap over the chimney pot for extra protection. However, Cala build homes that have good airtightness ratings to minimise air leakages and have specified thermally efficient fabric to reduce the energy required to heat the homes.

Bleed your radiators: From time-to-time, air can get trapped inside your radiators, preventing them from working efficiently due to the hot water not circulating properly. You’ll know this has happened if your radiators aren’t warm all the way to the top. Bleeding your radiators will rectify this problem and get them back to their best in no time. You’ll need to use a screwdriver or a radiator key (depending on the type of radiator you have) to open a valve and let the air escape.

Install radiator panels: Some of the heat from your radiators escapes through the walls behind them. Radiator panels can prevent this from happening by slotting behind your radiator and reflecting the heat back into your room. They’re not too expensive and easy to install so it’s a quick win.

Draw the curtains: Insulated curtains save energy by helping to reduce draughts and heat loss (another bonus of insulated curtains is that they also help block sound), however the benefits will depend on the type of curtains you hang. Look for ones that include at least acrylic or high-density foam insulation and reflective film that helps direct heat into the room. Once you have them hung, use them wisely. Take advantage of solar heat — keep curtains open during the day to help raise the indoor temperature and close them at night to help the room retain heat.

Insulate, insulate, insulate: Insulating your walls can be a big investment, but it can be truly worthwhile, and you’ll see a saving in your energy bills. You can also insulate the pipes simply by buying foam insultation tubes online or from a DIY store. Another benefit of this is protecting your pipes from bursting, which can happen during winter when it’s especially cold, leading to an expensive repair. When building your home, Cala add thermally efficient fabric, therefore you use less energy and save money.

Rearrange your furniture: Easily the simplest option and something which you might not even have thought of. If you’re guilty of positioning the bed or other furniture in front of the radiator then make a few moves, you’ll soon discover the full benefit when you put the heating on.

Leave doors open: This almost goes against everything we’ve been taught about ‘keeping the heat in’ however strategically leaving certain doors opens means heat from sources such as the bath, shower or cooker, will spread throughout your home. Remember, if you don’t have heating on in a barely used room, then keep this door shut!

The Sustainability Journey

Did you know that heating every building in the UK contributes to almost a quarter of all UK carbon emissions? The Government’s latest sustainability plans highlight the ways in which it will attempt to significantly cut carbon emissions across the country.

As a national homebuilder, we know we have a huge part to play in this journey too which is why we launched our Sustainability Strategy this year to help the business achieve its targets of building homes that are operationally net zero carbon from 2030, reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Scottish Government’s 2045 target and ahead of UK Government’s 2050 target. 

To do so, we have developed a roadmap to net zero, which includes innovative research and testing of various new heating and cooling technologies. We’re committed to delivering on our carbon reduction targets as a business and we want to provide our customers with the best solutions to help them live more sustainably too. Take a look at our interactive home, which showcases some of the technology we are exploring and what a Cala home could look like in the future. 

For homeowners, the colder months often bring higher energy bills, however it is not just colder temperatures that can cause a spike in payments. We tend to spend more time at home during the winter, and whilst many of us are still working from home, or hybrid working in some capacity, it can all drive up our energy use and carbon footprint.

Add in shorter days and longer, darker nights - it’s easy to see how we could use more energy than other times of the year.

However, there are some simple solutions to help offset our carbon footprint, lower our energy bills and play our part in the new green revolution as noted above, especially during winter. If you live in a Cala home, or a new-build home of any kind, the good news is that newer homes are far more efficient and will save you money compared to older, historic homes.


The benefits of a new-build Cala home

When buying a new-build home, one of the many benefits is having a brand-new boiler whereas when buying an older property, a big expense can be having to replace an outdated boiler.

New boilers use less energy yet produce the same amount of heat which can save you hundreds of pounds per year. Don’t forget to make sure your boiler is serviced annually to ensure it is running efficiently.

At Cala Homes, most of our housetypes have the same boiler type, which means that our site and sales teams have the knowledge you need to ensure you are fully confident on how to work your own system. The boiler (which can vary by development) is a highly reliable condensing unit that has a variety of features and benefits. These boilers come with a ten-year warranty.

Features include full compatibility with Ideal heating controls, large digital displays, boiler frost protection (ideal for garage or loft installations), low lift weight and a reachable pressure gauge.

Reducing our carbon footprint is not something which can be achieved overnight, however it’s the gradual steps we can take right now which will help all of us play our part and contribute to becoming net zero.


To find out more about Cala’s sustainability journey, visit our Sustainability page.

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