The conservation of energy is a topic that often dominates the headlines, with climate change becoming a very potent and real threat.
With £2 billion in funding available from the UK government via the Green Homes Grant, there’s never been a better time to examine the energy efficiency of your home. Energy-efficient homes aren’t just about being greener. Addressing energy wastage in your home is not only kinder to the planet, but to your pocket. The more efficient your home, the less fuel you’ll need to heat it, translating to tangible reductions in your heating bills.
There are many elements of everyday life which see us using energy, but we often waste energy using devices, appliances – even worse, you might be losing energy from the way your home was constructed. Even the most efficient of homes may be losing energy somehow, but help is at hand. We have put together a handy guide to help you conserve energy around your home, even from some unlikely sources.
Your boiler may be functioning perfectly well, but the older it gets, the less efficient it becomes. That means that to create the heat for your home it must burn more fuel. In turn, that means the cost of your energy bills increase, year on year. A boiler replacement guide on HomeServe, outlines how a new energy-efficient boiler could allow you to make savings on your energy bills by improving your energy efficiency. New boilers are not as expensive as you might think, especially not when replacing like for like. The savings can be impressive though, so it is worth considering it if you have the means to do so.
Up to 12% of a home’s monthly energy usage can come from lighting, and often that light is wasted. Leaving lights on in rooms you are not in is an example of wasting energy, as is leaving outdoor lights on when there’s no need. Newer types of bulbs such as LED are just as bright but use less energy, so you could reduce your consumption just by changing a bulb! However, good habits are just as important, so remember to switch off the lights when you don’t need them. If you wanted to go the extra mile, you could even install sensors in your home to facilitate smart lighting, so lights go on and off when you enter or exit rooms.
Today’s energy-conscious homes are packed full of insulation, ensuring the heat stays where it is required, but in older homes, you may well be losing money through your walls and roof. Around 33% of heat is lost through uninsulated walls. The best way to counteract this heat loss is solid wall insulation, which can be applied either to the interior or exterior walls. An external wall insulation system means you don’t lose out on any precious space inside, as installing an internal system can cost you up to 7% of your living area. External wall insulation is one of the measures covered by the current Green Homes Grant, so you could get a voucher towards two-thirds of the cost.
Doors and Windows
Heat can be lost through doors and windows, even newer double-glazed units. Doors are often opened and closed, presenting possibilities for heat loss, but they can also be draughty, especially wooden doors which can move depending on the temperature and climate. In this instance, consider fitting draught strips to the frames of doors, which will prevent heat escaping. In extreme cases, you might want to replace doors with gaps underneath or combat those draughts with draught excluders. With windows, a pair of thick curtains will help conserve your energy in the winter and thus save you money on your bills.
Believe it or not, being indecisive around the fridge could be costing you money, in more ways than one. If you stand with the fridge door open, you are losing the cool air you just paid for. When you close the door, the fridge needs to use more energy to return to the temperature you have set. This is also applicable when packing groceries away. In fact, the Good Housekeeping Guide explains that 7% of the appliance's energy usage is taken up because of fridge loitering. The solution is obvious: make up your mind before you open the door!