How can I make my home more environmentally sustainable?

Inspiration and lifestyle

17 July 2023

With climate change issues hitting the headlines daily, many of us are looking at ways we can start to make our lives ‘greener’.

Although, making sustainable changes to your home can be costly upfront – some could actually help you save money in the end. Find out everything you need to know, from how to make quick and easy eco-swaps to investing in longer-term solutions. To read more on this topic, check out AXA's new report on homeowner resilience.

In this section:

Solar panels

Solar panels capture the sun’s energy and converts it into electricity that you can use in your home. Not only are you reducing your carbon footprint by using renewable energy, but you will also save money on your bills too. You can use the energy savings trust calculator , to find out your yearly average saving.

Whilst the initial installation cost of solar panels can be expensive (usually around £5,000 - £7,000) , you will end up saving money over time - you can even be paid for the electricity they produce but you don’t use. 

At AXA, your solar panel system is covered in the same way as any other part of your home under your home insurance policy. Providing your solar panels are fixed and kept in good condition they are covered automatically under your buildings insurance  - so do ensure your cover meets the rebuild value.

Heat source pumps

These systems offer a more efficient and sustainable solution for keeping your home warm, rather than using conventional heating. During summer, their process can be reversed to cool the building, by removing heat from the inside and transferring it outside.

There are two different types of heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps - you can find out more about the benefits in our handy guide . 

The cost of installing heat pumps varies depending on the source and maintenance of the different heat pumps. Typically, it falls from between £5,000 up to £45,000 with ongoing maintenance costs to factor on top of this. However, there are Boiler Schemes available that give you a grant towards the cost of an air source pump, so it’s worth seeing if you’re eligible.


The average UK home loses approximately 59% of its heat through walls and roofs. So, insulating your home is one of the most efficient ways of keeping the heat in, and the cold out.

Firstly, you need to identify the key problem areas in your home. Once you’ve done this you can then get to work on sorting out the issue. From insulating your pipework, to simple changes like changing your blinds or curtains – every little helps to keep the heat in. Depending on how much you want to spend, you could even look at adding extra insulation to your walls, loft and floors.

However, insulating your home doesn’t have to be expensive, there are many ways you can help to insulate without it costing you a fortune. For more information, you can look at our guide on insulating your home on a budget .

You can also check out the Government’s Great British Insulation Scheme, to see what help you could get towards insulating your home.

Small home changes

It’s not just the larger changes that will make a difference in your home. Here are some smaller ways you can make your home more environmentally friendly:

Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats are a cost-effective way of keeping your home warm, as you’re able to set the temperature of particular rooms in your home.

As they’re connected to your phone, you can control everything via the app. So, if you’ve gone out and forgotten to turn off the heating you can easily switch it off, or reduce the temperature. You can also set times for it to come on and off, and it will get to know your routine, only turning on as and when you need it.

Use LED light bulbs

A quick and easy change to make, LED bulbs use up to 90% less energy than incandescent or halogen bulb with the same brightness. Not only do they use less energy, but they last longer and emit less heat too. 

Change your washing habitats

The washing machine is one of the most heavily used appliances in the home. With the energy savings trust reporting that, a 7kg washing machine used 220 times a year will cost typically between £25 to £35 a year to run. 

Make sure you have a full load before using the washing machine and also consider using a cooler wash – 30 degrees to save costs and energy.

Air-drying your clothes outside is also a good idea, rather than using the tumble dryer – as this is a lot more cost and energy efficient. 

Take 4-minute showers

Reducing the time you take in the shower not only saves water, but money too! If you need some help timing yourself, check out Yorkshire Water’s 4-minute songs playlist . But, if you don’t have a shower, make sure you’re only filling your bath up half way.

Turn off standby

Almost all electrical appliances can be switched off at the plug, without this upsetting their programming. You can also get a standby saver, or smart plug that allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go. On average, you could save £60 a year just from switching these off.

If you’re not sure, you can look at the instructions of your appliances for more details. As items such as TV boxes might need to be left switched on, if you’re wanting to record programmes.

Buy eco-friendly cleaning products

From candles and soaps, to washing detergent and softener, more brands than ever are embracing an eco-friendly approach. So, there’s now a lot more choice when going to buy these products, without the usual harmful and harsh chemicals. 

As we go towards a greener way of living, we hope you can use these tips and tricks to help your home be more sustainable.

You can rest assured you’ll be in safe hands with AXA Home Insurance.