7 easy wins to improve the energy efficiency of your home
Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 24 August 2012 at 9:19 am
With a lot of discussion about rising energy bills, many concerned homeowners now feel compelled to make a positive effort to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
Easy wins are those measures which can be adopted without major cost or disruption and you can often install yourself. They are often the measures which can make the biggest difference to your energy consumption. The interesting thing about starting with easy wins is that they are a slippery slope, but in a good way. Once you start thinking about them, your mindset changes and saving energy becomes part of your daily routine. It becomes less of a bother.
Here are some of our favourites:
1. Check your settings
Read the manufacturer’s instructions for ideal settings for thermostats, boilers, cylinders, fridges etc. Many householders keep all of their settings on the highest possible one. This uses more energy than is necessary and might not necessarily produce the best results.
2. Turn things off
A recent DECC/DEFRA/EST study on household electricity usage suggested that the out of the households they studied, they spent between £50 and £86 per year on standby appliances. That doesn’t even include lights left on in empty rooms. Ensure that, at least at night, your appliances are turned off. We know that there are lots of fancy devices out there which will eventually allow you to turn the lights off with a flick on an iPhone, but it’s easy enough to just turn the switch off!
3. Install an energy monitor
It’s much easier to reduce consumption if you know what you’re using in the first place. You can also pat yourself on the back when you can see the numbers coming down.
4. ControlsAdequate controls are extremely important. Thermostats for your heating system should be zoned where possible and also installed in rooms that are actually used. We can’t tell you how many houses have thermostats installed in hallways or stairwells, which are usually cooler than the living rooms. This results in higher energy consumption.
Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) should be fitted to radiators to allow room by room control. What’s the point in heating rooms which you are not using?
Use the timer on your heating system so that you don’t keep the heating on for longer than is necessary.
Draught-proofing prevents cold air from entering your property and warm air from escaping in an uncontrolled manner. It makes your home more comfortable in the winter. Check windows, around doors (including basement doors), cracks in floorboards, suspended floorboards and pipework leading outside. Chimneys that aren’t used should also be draught-proofed.
6. Low energy lighting
When your existing bulbs go out replace them with LEDs or CFLs. They use less power and last longer. There are a number of things to watch out for though. Check the colour temperature, energy use in watts and lumens for brightness. In addition, if you’re replacing halogen bulbs with LEDs, you need to check that the LED works with your transformer, and that it works with any dimmers you have. The best thing to do is try a sample and see how well it works.
7. Loft insulation
If your loft is easily accessible and has no damp or condensation problems, loft insulation is an easy win. You can even install it yourself. It will give you a good reason to clear out your loft!
By Marine Sanchez and Keal Wilson
About the author: greentomatoenergy specialises in cost-effective renewable technologies and low carbon building.
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