A useful guide to improving your home’s energy efficiency for the colder months of the year.
Get an energy monitor. They are free from some energy suppliers, or around £20 on the high street.
Think about your Energy Performance Certificate
Just like appliances, all homes available to buy or rent in the UK require an EPC. This rates your home from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient), and tells you how much it will cost to run your home each year. Gov.uk has further information on EPCs. Even if you are not thinking of moving, making energy efficiency improvements will up your EPC rating.
Get an audit
Use the Energy Saving Trust’s Home Energy Calculator to work out what you could save by making energy efficiency improvements.
Understand payback periods
This is how long energy efficiency improvements take to recoup the cost through your energy bills.
Remote control your heating
There are a number of products available in the UK that allow you to control your heating whilst you are out of the house, via the internet and smartphone apps. They usually work with your existing system, so you won’t necessarily need to change supplier.
Whether it is charging a phone, receiving a TV signal, or having music streamed around your home, you can now do it wirelessly. Wireless connections have even been integrated into furniture – removing wires for good!
Integrate your safety and security
Your safety and security can now be incorporated into one system to monitor smoke and carbon monoxide – which you can check and silence via an app, when out of the house.
Wood burning/biomass stove
Whether you wish to heat one room or power your hot water system, wood heating may work out cheaper than traditional fuel sources. You will need to choose a low pollution stove, be able to install a flue and have space to store wood safely. Wood heating is also a low carbon option, if you are looking to go green.
Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air or ground – like the reverse of your fridge – heating air rather than cooling it. Air source pumps are attached to the rear of your house and ground source pumps use wires under the ground. Contact your local council for advice on planning permission.
Solar water heating
If you are just looking to heat water, rather than generate your own electricity, think about installing ‘solar thermal’ panels on your roof. You will need a roof that generally faces south (although east to west will work too) and is at least 5 square meters. You will also need to have a hot water tank to store water for when you want to use it.
*More on improving your home’s energy efficiency from Sainsbury’s Bank.