7 ways you can make your home more energy efficient

Keep your home warmer for longer. Simple changes can save on your energy costs.

Father and daughter spending time together at home

If you’re looking to improve your EPC rating and save money on everyday energy bills, these 7 tips could help.

 

1. Switch your lightbulbs

It’s the fastest, the easiest and the cheapest way to make a difference to your energy output. Replace all the lightbulbs in your home with energy-efficient ones and you’ll never look back.

Potential savings: Replacing one 70W incandescent lightbulb can save your £7 a year. So, if you’ve got 10 lightbulbs in your home, that’s an easy saving of £70 a year.

2. Double glaze your windows

One of the most effective ways to keep warm in your home and make it more energy efficient is to get double glazed windows. You may already have them, but if you’ve got an older property it’s possible that it is still single glazed windows. The added bonus of double glazing is that it will make for a more peaceful home, as it reduces noise as well as heat loss.

Potential savings: You could save on your energy bills by reducing how much heat is lost through the windows, especially if you have radiators directly under them.

3. Harness the energy of the sun

You might be surprised by how much energy you could save by adding solar panels. Even in the UK’s cloudy climate they are a great source of renewable energy. Choose from two different kinds. Solar PV panels convert light energy into power, and they don’t need direct sunlight to work – so they’re still effective on cloudy days. Or go for solar water heating. This heats your hot water tank rather than your home.

Potential savings: Although there is an initial cost to pay, the energy that solar generates is free. Plus, if you have an electric car, you can charge it with solar energy and double your energy efficiency. There’s also the opportunity to make money back. From 1st January 2020, energy companies are obliged to buy your excess energy under the Smart Export Guarantee put in place to increase the amount of green energy going into the national grid.

4. Make sure your home is insulated

There are three kinds of insulation you can tackle in your home.

  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Solid wall insulation
  • Loft insulation

Cavity wall insulation is a simple and cost-effective way to keep your home warm. If your home was built post-1920s, chances are it will have a cavity wall. Which is great for keeping damp at bay, but can leave you a little chilly if it’s not properly insulated. Pack dense, insulating material between the inner and outer walls of your property (the cavity) and it will keep the heat in and cold out. The bonus? Cavity wall insulation is cheap and long-lasting.

Solid wall insulation is what you’ll need if your home was built before the 1920s or does not have a cavity. This kind of insulation goes outside the building, as a kind of insulating cladding. This is more expensive than cavity wall insulation, but could be worth the savings.

Loft insulation tackles the heat rising and escaping through the roof. In fact, if you’re loft isn’t properly insulated then you could be losing as much as a quarter of your home’s heat. That’s a lot of money and energy.

Potential savings: According to Which? You could save up to £250 a year by insulating your walls. And you could save £215 a year by insulating your loft. Plus, there are grants available for both wall and loft insulation through your energy provider under the Energy Company Obligations (ECO) scheme.

If you can’t upgrade your insulation, try keeping draughts at bay. If you feel any kind of cold air in your home, you’ll know that’s where heat is escaping from. Simple draught excluders, blocking up old chimneys and professional draught-proofing will all help keep your home cosy and warm

5. Get your energy from the ground

How about generating energy from the ground? Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) can be buried in your garden to absorb the heat from the earth and use it to fuel your home. Fluid-filled loops are placed under the surface and warmed by the earth’s natural thermal energy. The fluid is then passed through a compressor to increase the heat.

Potential savings: This option is a great way to lower your fuel bills and live a greener life. Plus, you could get paid for the energy you produce under the Renewable Heat Incentive.

6. Get a smart thermostat

A smart thermostat is perfect if you want to take control of your heating and your energy usage. The software learns how to heat your home most efficiently. It’s particularly good if you have a routine, as the more you use it the more it learns about your habits – it can help make sure your home is warm when you need it. 

Potential savings: Staying for the long-term? If you’ll be in your house for a while, a smart thermostat could be a good investment. How much you save depends on how you use it.

7. Upgrade your boiler

New boiler models are more efficient and more cost-effective that old ones. So it might be worth upgrading your current one.

Potential savings: You could save up to £652 a year on your heating bills by swapping your old boiler for new.

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