You can make your home more sustainable and environmentally friendly while increasing comfort, reducing cost, and lowering carbon. Here’s how…
Currently, most of our housing stock is not as energy efficient as it needs to be. The average home has an energy performance rating of a D and most of us are using unnecessary energy. As a result, we are creating extra pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
So, what steps can I take?
1. Smart Meters
A smart meter will allow you to see the real-time energy usage of your house. It will also show you where you could cut back your usage of both gas and electricity. Smart meters are one of the easiest switches to make as there is no upfront cost. Contact your energy supplier to arrange a free installation.
2. Smart Thermostats
Heating our houses is one of the biggest uses of energy in our homes. Most of us, however, do not know how to use our heating systems properly or efficiently. This can therefore cause habits that can be wasteful. Smart thermostats are the answer to this as they can be used to control a heating system by programming it to a schedule that matches yours. Therefore, the heating is only used when required and is controlled by the thermostat to prevent wasteful habits. This will not only reduce the energy consumed to heat your home but also save you money in the process and be more convenient and comfortable as a smart thermostat can preheat your home for you before you get home.
3. Energy Efficient Lighting
Energy efficient lighting is possibly the easiest and most cost-effective switches that you can make to reduce your energy consumption. In the past people have avoided making the switch due to misconceptions or because they believe low energy light was inferior, however energy efficient lighting has matured and is better than ever. With LED bulbs being brighter, using less electricity and having much longer lifespans that traditional bulbs. Additionally, they come in many styles, can be smart and can even change colours.
4. Energy Efficient Appliances
When your appliances need to be replaced, look for the best energy rated products, and look for features that use less electricity or water. This will help to reduce the consumption of electricity and water in your home.
5. Insulating Your House
If you are looking to make your house warmer in the winter or just save energy and reduce your bills, properly insulating your home can go a long way. Adding insulation will keep heat in the house, reducing the amount of reheating in your living space. Therefore, requiring less energy to be consumed, reducing your carbon footprint, energy cost and increasing the comfort of your living space.
Insulation can come in many forms, with different benefits and cost. The main types of insulation that can be retrofitted for maximum effect include Cavity fill insulation, External or Internal solid wall insulation, Loft insulation and Suspended floor insulation.
6. Install Underfloor Heating
Radiators may not trouble you; however underfloor heaving should be a consideration for all homes to save energy and money. Underfloor heating turns your floor into one bug radiator with a large surface aera, therefore the temperature at which the heating operates at can be much lower than normal radiators. Since the temperature only needs to be slightly higher than normal room temperature. Therefore, less energy is required to heat your living space with the potential to use 15% to 40% less energy to heat your house than traditional radiators.
7. Double/Triple Glazed Windows
If you have single glazing or require new windows then look to have double or triple glazing installed, it will reduce heat loss through windows keeping more heat inside your home.
8. Boiler or Heat Pumps
If your boiler needs to be replaced, look for the newest and most efficient boilers of the same fuel type. Alternatively have a look at air source heat pumps, as these can be a great way to reduce you carbon footprint. However, it is important to do your research to find the most suitable for your property, as air source heat pumps may not always be the best option for existing homes.
It is also good to keep up with the servicing of your boiler to keep it in top condition which in turn makes keeps it efficient and safe.
9. Solar Panels
Generating electricity or producing hot water with solar panels is a great way to reduce the cost of electricity, while reducing your energy consumption, carbon footprint and become more self-reliant. This is because you can generate renewable electricity for yourself or heat water using the energy of the sun. Solar panels are a great way to creating a more sustainable house, however, they are a long-term investment since they have significant outlay.
10. Reduce Water Consumption
A sustainable home also needs to use less water, this can be achieved by using appliances that are more water efficient. Switching to low-flow shower heads, or changing your behaviour to conserve water, such as taking shorter showers are all simple steps you can take. To go even further in conversing water, you could look to install a greywater and rainwater harvesting system. That uses wastewater form sink basins, laundry and rain to flush toilets with as well as water plants and lawns. This will reduce the amount of fresh water used as the water is recycled in the home.
11. Air Tightness
The larger the area of air gaps within a dwelling, the more hot air that will escape and the more cold air that will get in (draughts). The less heated air that escapes a building the less heating that is required to compensate for the heat loss. A high air tightness rating can account for up to 50% of heat loss from within a building to the outside. This is measured by conducting an air pressure test to determine the total air lost through leaks in the building’s fabric, known as its envelope. All new builds require an air pressure test, but we also offer air tests as part of our Home Energy Saver for private individuals.
The current principal of modern homes is to ‘build tight and ventilate right’. This means if you have spent time reducing the air tightness of your home, it is important that there is a controlled ventilation system in place, to prevent condensation, damp and black mold. Ventilation is simply the removal of ‘stale’ indoor air from a building and replacing it with ‘fresh’ outside air. Ventilation is necessary as it provides outside fresh air for breathing; dilution and removal of airborne pollutants, including odours, and control of excess humidity arising from water vapour in the indoor air. It is also used to control thermal comfort.
13. Other Small Swaps
- Buy second-hand furniture.
- Compost food waste.
- Switch to green cleaning products.
- Buy reusable products instead of disposable ones.
- Use water-based or low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or VOC-free paints in home decoration.
How do I know what’s best for my home?
The easiest way to find out the most energy-effective and sustainable options for your home would be from your property’s energy performance certificate (EPC), as this will list the most suitable options for your property. If you do not have an EPC, it is advisable to get one as it is required when you sell or rent a property, you can get an EPC from a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA).
To find out if your property has an EPC, use the following handy tool:
Find An Energy Certificate
Another way to find out the most suitable ways is to use a retrofit assessor who will be able to give you independent advice on the best options available. Our award-winning team of retrofit specialists are on hand to help. We offer a range of services, such as our Home Energy Survey. We developed this to help you reduce your home’s environmental impact and save money on bills. Contact us to find out more.
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