Making your house more energy efficient: where do we start?
Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 6 July 2012 at 9:50 am
When I came to the energy efficiency business three years ago, I didn’t know anything about the technologies involved or the technical detail that goes behind them. What I did know, is that people like me wanted to save energy at home.
The thing preventing me and many others from taking the plunge was that they didn’t necessarily know what measure was the most appropriate for their home and if they did, they didn’t know who would install.
Even though a lot (not including my technical expertise) has changed during the last three years, the chances are that the reason you’re reading this blog is that you’re looking for the answer to these questions too. Where do you start?
As with most things in life, the answer to the question is that it depends. It depends on your house, how you use it, what you’re doing with it, what you want to do with it, who lives in it and how much money you want to spend on it.
Lots of people say that you should adopt the fabric first approach and insulate. However, this doesn’t help those of you who might have solid walls and have redecorated your entire home exactly the way you want it, or those who work from home, can’t be disrupted and have very high electricity consumption. In these circumstances, LED bulb replacements or solar PV might be most beneficial.
A good starting point is to set an energy strategy for your property. This can be done with or without the help of experts, but the experts can help you to model the savings to be achieved, provide you with specifications (so that you can compare installation costs properly) and check that things are doing what they are supposed to post installation.
First, set out your plans for the property. Are you going to redecorate in the next two years? Will you be extending the property? Does your roof need retiling? Will you be selling up? When is your next boiler upgrade due? Potential energy saving measures then start to become obvious. For example, if you’ve got rotten windows and they need to be replaced anyway, that’s the place to start.
Then look at how much energy you actually consume. You need to keep an eye on your meters for a few months. This allows you to confirm that the anticipated savings have been achieved and you can even compare your property’s performance against industry benchmarks e.g. AECB etc.Other things to look at are parts of the house which are too cold in the winter and/or too warm in the summer. The measures you would usually install to save energy usually end up solving these problems as well.
A planned approach means that you won’t end up feeling overwhelmed and that you will achieve most value for money.
By Akta Raja
Photo by Andrew McCaughan
About the author: greentomatoenergy specialises in cost-effective renewable technologies and low carbon building.
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