Many of us will have considered improving the energy efficiency of our home to save money, but it is not always easy to know what will actually make a difference. Here are a few suggestions that should definitely help:
- Insulating your loft and cavity walls. According to government figures, buildings that leak heat and waste energy account for 38% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The government introduced the Green Deal to enable households make home improvements like a new boiler or to add insulation. Householders effectively pay back the loan through savings in their energy bills. Ensuring that you are not leaking heat will allow you to turn down the thermostat and save money.
- Insulating your boiler and the water pipes which transport hot water around your home to heat it.
- Replace or fix windows which are draughty. An average home can lose up to 10% from air leaks from windows. Double glazing can reduce some of the loss.
- Installing a Smart Thermostat. I recently trialled one out for my own home. You can find out how I got on with Tado the Smart thermostat. The app on my phone linked to GPS responds by increasing or decreasing the temperature of my home depending on how close I am to it.
- Replacing your low efficiency electrical appliances with ones which have the highest energy efficiency rating. According to Which, for example, the most energy-efficient fridge-freezer in tests costs just £25 per year to run. The most expensive to run costs £87.
- Turning off appliances when we don’t need them on. A typical household could save £30 a year on their electricity bill by doing this.
- Ensuring that appliances are used efficiently. Your dishwasher should be full before use, and running your washing machine on a cold wash is just as effective as hot as modern detergents are efficient even at low temperatures.
- Using less hot water by installing a water–efficient shower head, and having fewer baths and more showers; only boiling the minimum amount of water required in a kettle.
- Using energy efficient bulbs. According to the Energy Savings Trust lighting accounts for 18% of a typical household’s electricity bill. Halogen down lighters and spotlights use a lot of energy but replacing all of them in the home with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) could save about £30 a year on electricity.
- Installing solar panels. A household can save on their energy bills by generating some of the electricity they require daily using solar PV panels. Furthermore, households can earn money too through the Feed in Tariff scheme. Solar thermal panels can be installed at the same time as solar PV panels and these can heat water for the home much more cheaply than using a thermostat to do so.
If you are a landlord you will be faced with increasing the energy efficiency of your properties. The Energy Efficient Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) is a Scottish Government initiative to improve the energy efficiency of social housing and private rentals. To future proof your properties from further increases in energy efficiencies by the government, we recommend installing renewable energy technologies such as solar panels. This can bring the energy rating of your property higher than the current recommended levels.
Implementing some of these tips will help reduce your energy bills and many of them cost no money to do. Even those that do cost money to install can bring a return on investment. According to analysis by the UK government, increasing the energy efficiency of your home can add 16% to its value.