Thanks to greater green awareness, we’re more eco-friendly than ever before. But how can we translate that eco consciousness to our own homes? It turns out there are multiple ways we can make our homes greener and better still, by becoming more energy efficient, we can actually save a few pennies while doing our bit for the environment.
It’s easier than you might think too. A few simple steps, like turning down the heating a degree or lowering the temperature of your washing machine setting can make a huge difference in the long term.
It also means that come time to sell – or rent out – your EPC rating will be higher, making your property more attractive.
“When it comes time to sell your home, you must produce an energy performance certificate for prospective buyers. EPCs have been required by law since 2009 in Scotland but far from being a hindrance, they are actually a fantastic selling point for energy efficient homes.
Applying some energy saving ideas to your home before you sell, will contribute towards making it attractive to buyers.
“It basically shows potential buyers how energy efficient your property is. It’s graded from A to G, with A meaning an energy efficient, well-insulated, probably modern home, and G meaning a draughty old building where the wind rattles the walls! Typically, you’ll find an older property with no retrofitted energy-saving technology will be around a D grade.
“Applying some energy saving ideas to your home before you sell, will all contribute towards making it attractive to buyers, and so as well as being great for the environment, your pocket and as an example to the kids, it may well help you make that quick sale!”
We’ve put together ten tips on how to make your home more energy efficient while lowering your bills at the same time.
Poorly insulated roofs and walls can be a major cause of energy wastage, with up to a quarter of heat lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. According to the Energy Saving Trust yearly savings of between £115 and £220 can be achieved with decent loft insulation depending on the type of property you have and where you live. Effective roof insulation should last for around 40 years and should pay for itself many times over.
Inefficient boilers can account for around 60% of carbon dioxide emissions in a gas heated home as well as adding a few hundred pounds to your energy bills.
Rated on a scale of A to G, with A being the most energy efficient, if your boiler is at the lower end of the scale or is over 12 years old, consider investing in a new one to both save yourself money over the long-term and reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
It seems such a simple solution but often it’s the most basic ones that work best. By hanging thicker curtains over windows, you’ll prevent heat from escaping and create a much cosier home.
With around 46% of us still needing to draught-proof our homes according to Energy Savings Trust, minor investments like insulation to run down the side of drafty doors will add to a warmer home and lower bills.
We’re told that baths can waste more water than a shower but if you’re spending 20 minutes under a steaming hot shower, you’re probably using more energy than you might think. Some power showers use more water in a few minutes than a whole bath.
Fitting a water saving showerhead can cut back on the amount of water and energy you use.
Ok, there’s no disputing that investing in double-glazing will come at a fairly high price but by trapping heat inside your home, you’ll be saving money long term.
You don’t have to worry about it ruining your home’s style either as double glazing is now available in a variety of styles.
Other ways energy efficient windows help is by creating a more peaceful, quiet home and reducing condensation build up on the inside of windows.
Just by using kitchen appliances more efficiently, you can save around £36 on your energy bills.
Enabling you to generate some of your own heat or power so you’ll save money on your bills, solar panels work even when it’s cloudy so don’t let the UK weather put you off having them installed.
Those with photovoltaic (PV) cells generate energy and the Energy Saving Trust thinks the average home can provide 40% of its power this way. There can be a big initial outlay for installation but this depends on the amount you want to generate and the available space for panels.
Make sure to shop around for the cheapest energy deal – you could even use the savings to invest in making your home more energy efficient.
With many gas and electricity companies offering green energy tariffs, you might consider switching to one of those which basically means that for any power you use, they contribute energy from renewable sources to the grid.
Uninsulated walls are another big cause of the heat lost in homes. If yours is an older home, filling cavity walls could save you hundreds of pounds. As with other energy efficiency upgrades, the job doesn’t come cheap but will save you money – and heat – in the long term.
Remembering to switch off lights or appliances in standby mode can add up to some serious savings. Almost all electronic or electrical appliances can be switched off at the plug without upsetting any programming. You might want to consider getting a standby saver which allows you to turn all your standby appliances off at once.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented.
You must order an EPC for potential buyers before you market your property to sell. In Scotland, you must display the EPC somewhere in the property, eg in the meter cupboard or next to the boiler.
An EPC contains:
• information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs
• recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money
An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
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