Carbon and Energy Reduction seem to be the new “buzz-words” over the past couple of years and are terms used every day in the building sectors.
To be able to assist you without coming to your house, our in-house Senior Energy Consultants have come up with the following tips which will help you in reducing your energy cost and increasing your thermal comfort.
As we cannot know every single property, the following energy savings tips are to be seen as general guidance only.
1) Loft/Roof Insulation
On average, a quarter of all the heat in your home can be lost through an un-insulated roof.
If your loft area is easily accessible and suffers no moisture or damp issues it should be straight forward to introduce or upgrade your insulation. The current guidance differs between different insulation brands, however current standards state that the insulation should be between 25-30cm in thickness, depending on material and brand.
In most cases, this could be done by yourself and will not burst the bank and you could have the cost of investment back within a couple of years due to saving substantially on your heating bill.
In addition, there are several different government initiatives which might be applicable for your house/building which could cut the installation cost drastically and increase your energy savings.
2) Windows and external doors
If you have single glazed windows, we think it is time now to consider having double or even triple glazed windows. Not only do double/triple glazed windows reduce the heat-loss of your home; they decrease the noise coming into your home from the outside. This is a good thing especially now with half the nation working from home and doing home-schooling as well.
If you already have double glazed windows and you feel a slight draft, we think it is time to investigate this option. Take a tea-light candle and place it lit along the windowsill and watch the little flame flicker. Should this be the case you can buy yourself draught-seal-strips from a DIY shop and install them around the window openings. Furthermore, if your windows are not the newest ones, have a look at your external and internal window seals along the frame – if they are porous it might be time to get your windows and door re-sealed. This will not only make the window frame “air tighter” but will prohibit water ingress which will have other consequences.
Should your front door have a letterbox, we recommend getting letterbox draught excluders from the DIY shop which you can install yourself.
3) Thermal Curtains
It might sound a little bit out of the ordinary, but should you consider new curtains do yourself a favour and consider buying thermal curtains.
Thermal curtains do have two main benefits due to their increased material layers:
- In hot summers, when closed they can keep the heat outside by reflecting the heat and sunlight back outside to the window.
- In cold winters, they have the capability to increase the thermal comfort inside the room which will keep your rooms and home that slight tick warmer.
It is a simple concept but works as the thermal curtains (when closed) create an air-gap between your window and the curtain which acts in principle like a layer of insulation – same as a cavity insulation.
4) Heating systems & boilers
Firstly, it is vital to have your gas-boiler checked and serviced on a regular basis. Not only is this like a MOT for your boiler, but the gas engineer will check the boiler for its efficiency. Should the boiler not be in-line with the manufacturer’s specification, there might be an underlying problem with your boiler, and you are wasting money on your heating. In most cases the burner functions can be increased/altered which could improve the efficiency of the heating system.
Should your boiler be older than 15 years, we believe it is time to upgrade it with a newer one. Currently there are several government grants available which assist you in upgrading your dated boiler.
A recommendation for radiators would be to add reflector panels behind your radiators. This is a very low-cost option that could reduce your heating demand and so your heating cost. Fitted behind the radiators these panels reflect the heat deriving from the radiator back into the room and so minimise the direct heat which would be lost through the external wall.
It is said that by reducing your thermostat by only one degree you could save on average £80 per year on your energy bill which in some cases can be as much as 10% of your annual heating bill. By reducing the thermostat to 20-21°C you could save significantly on your heating bill, and the change in temperature should not be noticeable by the occupants.
Following the heating, hot-water production accounts for between 10-25% of your energy bill each year. Government guidelines state that it is safe to store and heat water up to 60C, to kill legionella bacteria. Therefore, store your hot water to 65°C – but not above. You will have to add cold water into your bathtub if the water exceeds 40-45°C anyway – so you could save a substantial amount of energy which is not needed if you turn down your set water temperature from 75C down to 65C.
When was the last time you changed a light bulb in your home?
A modern LED bulb lasts about 10.000 hours if switched on for about three hours a day; the old-fashioned incandescent lights lasted about 2.000 hours, five times less than an LED bulb. In other words, during the lifetime of one LED bulb you would ‘burn’ through five incandescent/halogen bulbs. Yes, we agree LED lights are not as cheap as the still available halogen bulbs, but you would not have to replace them as often so in the long run it will be cheaper to go with LEDs.
Not only do LEDs last longer, but they also use a lot less electricity than the old common tungsten/halogen light bulbs. It still surprises us that on occasion when conducting surveys of commercial or domestic properties that people still utilise them.
Following the Energy Saving Trust guides, a general rule is that by replacing a 100Watt incandescent bulb with a LED bulb with the same light-out put you could save on average £7 per year. Now imagine you have a normal three-bedroom house and on average have about 15 -18 light bulbs throughout your home. If all of these were traditional incandescent light bulbs and you replaced them with equivalent LEDs, you potentially could save between £105-126 a year.
Another tip for lighting – switch it off – switching the lights off when you leave the room ensures no energy is wasted.
The Energy Saving Trust has estimated that on average per every traditional bulb you change to LEDs that you save around 5kg of CO2 emissions per year. “By replacing all the bulbs in your home with LED alternatives you could save around 63kg of CO2. If all 28 million homes in Britain switched to 100% LED bulbs, we could save 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.”
6) Smart meters
Most energy providers offer you free smart meters which we believe is a great initiative. These smart meters are a great in helping you see your actual energy consumption in real life through their accompanying home monitor. For example, by turning on the oven or your toaster, water kettle etc. you can see in seconds an increase in your current energy consumption. If you have the toaster, kettle and microwave going at the same time you are nearly exceeding 10kWh/per hour, however luckily this is only for about a minute or two until the toast pops up, the microwave “pings” and the kettle steams.
Keep an eye on your energy (with a smart meter) and over time your bills will reduce, and you will notice the small changes which will impact your monthly energy consumption.