Making sure our homes are as energy efficient as possible makes sense from a financial point of view as well as being good for the environment. There are a number of areas within the home that you should focus on when reviewing energy conservation and these are;
- Heating and cooling systems
- Electrical Systems
If you ensure that these elements of your home are in optimum shape, well maintained and using the latest technologies and materials then you can be confident that your home is as energy efficient as possible. If you haven’t carried out an energy audit for a while, then you should do so. The following are some specific actions you can take;
If your current windows are old or damaged beyond repair, then replacing them with modern, thermally efficient glazing is a must if you are to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Double or even triple glazed sealed units are an investment that will immediately start to repay themselves in terms of lower energy bills. They will also look better and will add value when you come to sell your home. If you live in a Grade I or Grade II listed building there might be restrictions on your ability to replace existing windows with their modern counterparts, but you should still be able to add secondary glazing
Improve Home Insulation
Insulation, particularly loft insulation and wall cavity insulation, is vitally important in reducing the amount of heat lost from your home. Generous amounts of loft insulation can be easily fitted and will have an immediate and noticeable effect on the heat retention of your house and therefore reduce the amount of energy needed to generate heat. Similarly, draught proofing doors and windows is a cheap and easy DIY task and will further improve heat retention. In the UK, many aspects of insulation and draught proofing are supported by government and local authority grants, further reducing your up-front costs.
Energy Efficient Lighting
Replacing old-style incandescent bulbs with florescent bulbs is another good way of cutting your energy bill. Although florescent bulbs cost more initially, they last far longer (up to 10 times longer) and use dramatically less energy to produce the same amount of light. A new generation of LED based lighting is now available and this form of lighting promises to be even more efficient than current florescent technology.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Our homes are filled with electrical appliances and it is important to realise that older appliances are much less efficient than more modern ones. The focus on energy conservation of the last few years, accompanied by the implementation of new regulations and standards by such bodies as the European Union, has led to a step change in appliance energy efficiency. An up to date appliance will be much cheaper to run and, over time, will pay for itself. Many appliances now have to display an energy rating making choosing energy efficient goods much easier.
In the UK, anyone selling a home has to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which is a record of an audit carried out by a trained professional that provides a rating of how energy efficient your property is and also includes suggestions as to how you can improve your energy efficiency. Even if you are not planning on selling your home any time soon, having such an audit carried out and implementing the suggestions may well pay for itself.