7 steps to improve energy efficiency in your home
With winter behind us (just about), now’s the perfect time to review your homes’ energy efficiency and take effective steps to making your home as energy efficient as possible. From small changes to your daily water consumption to much larger insulation projects, we look at 7 ways you can improve energy efficiency in your home.
Becoming more energy efficient and aware of energy consumption offers up an array of environmental and economic benefits. Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint or save money on your monthly utility bills, you’ll find some proven steps in this guide to help you become more energy efficient.
Whilst some of the steps below provide a one-off, quick and easy way to cut your energy consumption, others may require you to make changes to your lifestyle (like showering instead of having a bath).
Whatever the reason, we hope you can adopt at least one of these steps to not only save money but to also help the environment along the way!
Insulate your home
If you ever get a draught in your home and you don’t quite know where it’s coming from, it’s likely due to poor insulation. By effectively insulating your home, you could reduce the temperature of your thermostat when heating your home, and reduce the amount of time you have your heating on. By keeping the heat in, your boiler won’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature in your house. This will reduce the amount of energy your boiler uses and will cost you less each month when you get your energy bill through.
Insulating your home can be as simple as laying down draft excluders for your front and back doors. If you’re looking to take energy efficiency to the next level, you can begin shopping around for new double glazing and loft insulation. As warm air rises, a lot of heat is lost through the roof of your home. Effective loft insulation will keep your home warm in winter and cooler in the summer.
Unplug & switch off
Leaving your home appliances and mobile phone chargers plugged when they’re not being used could cost you an extra 10% on your energy bills each month. This staggering statistic comes from www.energy.gov, with your unplugged mobile phone charger using .26 watts of energy. Whilst this doesn’t seem like much, it can quickly build up and could leave you paying the equivalent of a whole monthly energy bill throughout the year.
These ‘energy vampires’ can easily be beaten by unplugging your appliances when they’re not being used. Now, obviously don’t do this to your fridge, but you can cut energy costs on other appliances you use less frequently – such as your mobile phone charger and kettle. The same goes when using a computer, laptop or TV. If you’re popping out, put your computer on sleep mode (or TV on standby) as this could lead to even more savings.
Invest in eco-friendly appliances
Whilst energy efficient appliances are slightly more expensive, they’ll become a worthy investment in the long term. With electrical appliances accounting for an average of 30% of your monthly energy bills, an energy saving alternative could cut this cost in half.
Energy efficient appliances are designed to perform a specific task (washing a load or heating hot water) whilst using less energy than a standard appliance. Whether you’re washing your clothes at a lower temperature or running the dishwasher on the ‘eco’ setting – energy efficient appliances offer the same functionality whilst consuming far less energy.
When using certain appliances, it’s also important not to ‘waste’ energy. This includes over-filling the kettle and boiling more water than you need, or using the hob without lids on your saucepans. Effectively using your appliances can help significantly reduce your monthly and annual energy consumption.
Review your energy tariff
Are you getting the best price for the energy you use at home? If you think you’re overpaying for your energy, it doesn’t hurt to shop around and see if you can find yourself a better deal. Before you begin researching, it’s important to know what you’re paying for. Your electric and gas bills are usually measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and cubic metres (m³) respectively.
Once you’ve got an understanding of what you pay per unit, you can use various comparison sites to find a better deal. Some companies will even offer dual fuel tariffs that impact your overall savings each month.
Avoid wasting water
Water waste not only leads to an expensive water bill, but any hot water waste will also require the use of your boiler. Always be conscious not to waste water when cleaning your teeth or rinsing the dishes. Whilst it might not seem like much at the time, this could save hundreds of gallons of water each month.
If you’re a bather, try and cut down on baths in favour of showering. With the average bath consuming 75 gallons of water, you could use roughly 60 gallons less when showering. This gives you roughly 5 showers for every one bath and could reduce your water consumption by over 50% each month.
Upgrade your boiler and heating system
If you’ve been working hard on improving the energy efficiency of your home, but are still being met with high energy bills, it could be due to your boiler. An inefficient and outdated boiler could be costing you more than £250 in energy bills. Getting a new and efficient boiler installed in your home could cut your energy bills each month. These savings will pay for your new boiler in the long term and will reduce your monthly energy bill for years to come.
Newer boilers are also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, as most boilers will account for 60% of your homes carbon dioxide emissions in a gas-heated home. Your boiler will have an energy rating of A-G, with A being the most energy efficient boiler you can buy. If you find that your boiler is at the lower end of the scale, it’s probably time to get yourself a new boiler.
The cost of a new boiler will depend on the composition of your home (how much hot water you use and how many rooms are in your home). There are a wide range of boiler types to choose from, with each having their advantages.
Switch to energy saving lightbulbs
If you haven’t changed any lightbulbs in your home, you may have older, less efficient bulbs fitted. By replacing your current incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs, you could typically save up to £6 per year per bulb. With lighting accounting for around 15% of your monthly electricity bill, energy efficient bulbs could save you around £35/year on energy bills.
The energy saving trust has identified some top-tips when it comes to efficient lighting:
- Turn out the lights if you’re leaving the room, even if it’s just for a second.
- Be wary of how many lights you have on in your home and if they all need to be in use
- Arrange the light switches in your home to make it easy for you to control. For example – place light switches at the top and bottom of stairs & hallways.
- Use sensors and timers for external lighting so they are not permanently on.
When it comes to energy efficiency in the home, there are a range of steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint whilst cutting back your electricity bill. You can get the ball rolling by swapping from baths to showers and changing to energy efficient light bulbs before considering bigger changes to your heating system and installation.
Categorised in: Energy Efficiency