If your home is lucky enough to have a balcony, whether you live in a tenth storey apartment or a semi-detached house, it is important you pay attention to its design and upkeep. This can be a great area for relaxing and entertaining, especially on warm summer evenings. It may not use much energy in winter particularly, yet there are still many ways you can create an energy efficient and green balcony for your home.
Renewably Sourced Materials
For those building a balcony from scratch or renovating an existing one, use materials from renewable, sustainableor recycled sources. This provides a much better and greener method of construction and design than simply heading to the local hardware store to pick up what you need.
In many cases, using renewable and second-hand materials will also be cheaper as well as greener. A few ideas for sourcing sustainable materials and items you need could be:
- Seek out sustainable and recycled plastic to use
- Buy balcony furniture from second hand and antique shops
- Use reclaimed timber for construction and flooring
- Find local second-hand glass panels that are going spare
LED and Energy Efficient Lighting
Heating and lighting will be the two main areas that use electricity on your balcony in the evenings. Invest in LED strip lighting to illuminate the barriers and other areas of your balcony, as LED bulbs use a lot less energy than incandescent versions and have a much longer lifespan.
Add solar lighting outsidefor even more efficient illumination. These will collect solar power throughout the day from being sat out on the balcony to use when the night draws in. Solar powered heaters can also be found and offer a further efficient method to heat yourself up when the temperature begins to drop.
Plants, Herbs and Water
No truly green garden is complete without a range of vegetation. A simple window box can add a fresh smell and bit of greenery whether your balcony is in a sunny or shady location. If flowers aren’t your thing but you’re a keen cook, then why not plant some herbs instead? These will still add a nice smell, require little maintenance and can be used in some tasty recipes.
Boost your green credentials further by setting out a bucket or small plant pot to catch rain water which can then be used to water any plants and herbs when necessary. All these tips will help you create a green balcony for your home.