The last few days have been rather easy for me in terms of blog content, as most of it has been sent in by readers. Today’s continues that trend.
I have been contacted by a company called UK Power. They are an energy price comparison website which deals with the general public in helping them find the cheapest energy prices. Given what I have paid for my last bill, I could probably do with having a look on there myself! Anyway, after reading a post called Tackling Inefficiency, they had come up with a follow up piece which they asked if it would be relevant to this site. This one is about the various ways a home can be improved to help reduce heat loss and costly fuel bills:
Improving Efficiency in the Home
The UK’s houses are currently among the least efficient in all of Europe. A relatively large proportion of the UK’s energy emissions stem from this inefficiency. In recent years, the UK has grown more and more conscious of the impending energy crisis, as well as its carbon footprint, and as a result has become more aware of improving overall energy efficiency.
Green retrofitting, which involves improving the energy efficiency of a building (often houses), has risen into popularity in recent years. Many people take it upon themselves to retrofit their own homes, in a bid to reduce both energy consumption and cost, and carbon emissions. There are a number of changes that can be made to a home to increase efficiency, ranging from the large and potentially expensive, to the small and simple.
The larger changes that can be made tend to be the more expensive, but, they are also the most effective and bring about the biggest changes.
One of the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home to is to install proper insulation. Whilst this may seem like a costly process up front, the energy bill savings that can be made are impressive. Wall insulation could save a household up to £140 each year, and roof insulation can slash bills by £180 a year. Whilst the initial installation could cost hundreds of pounds, the savings made over a few years more than make up for it.
Many people easily overlook just how much heat escapes through windows. Installing energy efficiency, double glazed windows could knock £180 off energy bills each year for a single household. There are a wide range of benefits to double glazing, besides reducing energy consumption. Energy efficient windows keep heat in, keep noise out, and reduce draughts and condensation.
Making bigger changes such as these is the best way to maximise energy efficiency. Investing in double glazing and insulation can not only save you money on energy bills each year and make your home a more comfortable place, but could increase the overall value of your property, too.
Lower Cost Changes
If drastic retrofitting isn’t for you, there are a few smaller changes you could make to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Household appliances, especially older ones, are some of the biggest culprits of inefficiency. Replacing appliances to energy efficient ones can drastically reduce the amount of energy used. For example, an electric oven with an A+ energy efficiency rating consumes 40% less energy than a B rated oven, and the reduction will be even more if your current appliances are particularly inefficient.
For even less expensive options, you could consider something simple like a draught excluder or buying an energy efficient shower head. Water saving shower heads can be purchased for around £20-£30, and could reduce water bills by up to £60 a year.
Energy Efficiency for Free
There are also a number of ways you can increase your energy efficiency without spending a penny. Changing certain lifestyle habits can have a significant impact on your energy consumption.
Try to get yourself, and your family, in the habit of turning all appliances off at the switch when you are done with them. And yes, it has to be all appliances – even the kettle each time you make a cup of tea. This reduces the amount of energy wasted when items are on standby. It’s not a hard habit to get into, and could save you £50 a year on your energy bills, maybe more. You could even invest in a standby saver, which is a nifty little device that can kill standby power on a number of electrical items.
Turning the general thermostat down can also have a significant impact on energy consumption and carbon emission. For every 1 degree the thermostat is turned down, energy bills are reduced by around £65 a year – which is quite an astonishing figure. Putting on an extra jumper and a pair of slippers can easily combat a degree or two drop in temperature, and it’s likely that after a couple of weeks you wouldn’t feel the difference at all. Imagine if you turned your thermostat down three degrees – that could save around £200 each year.
Consider switching to a green energy company. The energy from green suppliers is more efficient and sustainable. Switching energy suppliers is usually entirely free, if you use an independent energy comparison service like www.ukpower.co.uk. You might actually find a cheaper energy tariff overall by running a comparison, maximising your savings. What’s more, you’ll be doing your bit for the environment and supporting sustainable technologies.
The Green Deal
The Green Deal is the government’s flagship retrofit initiative to tackle energy inefficiency. You could get your house retrofitted at no upfront cost. Whilst costs are recovered through energy bills eventually, the golden rule of the Green Deal is that savings must always be greater than cost/payments – so you save, no matter what, increase the value of your house, and make a more comfortable, efficient place in the process.
Now, I know what you are probably thinking, that last paragraph goes against my own personal views about the Green Deal, and indeed it does. However I wanted to publish the guest post in it’s entirety because that’s good blogging etiquette. You all know that I don’t believe the Green Deal isn’t good for our industry at all. But, overall a great post. Thanks to Hannah Corbett from UK Power for providing the post.
More about UK Power can be found on their website right here: http://www.ukpower.co.uk/