Thinking greener can both benefit the environment and reduce your energy costs over the long term. At Bricks & Mortar we can advise you on how to live more sustainably in your home. Action you can take ranges from very small things such as changing your light bulbs (which, to be honest, we imagine you can probably do without our help!) to major installations such as solar panels.
1. Change your light bulbs
According to the Energy Saving Trust, fitting one energy-saving light bulb can save you on average £3 a year. By swapping all the inefficient bulbs in your home for energy-saving alternatives you could save around £55 per year.
2. Fit loft insulation
We strongly recommend that every property has loft insulation. This reduces heat loss through the roof and can save you money on energy bills. Fitting loft insulation costs from £300 and grants may be available from your local authority.
3. Check if you have cavity wall insulation
Properties built between the 1920s and 1990s probably have cavity walls and may not have any insulation. It is worth checking the construction of your walls and whether they are suitable for insulation. A typical property with cavity walls could save up to £140 a year in heating bills just from adding insulation.
4. Upgrade your windows
Elderly, draughty windows are among the prime offenders when it comes to wasting energy. By fitting modern windows, you can reduce your energy bill and improve your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating at the same time.
5. Renew your boiler and radiators
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a central heating boiler is responsible for 60% of a household’s energy bills. An older, non-condensing boiler will typically be less than 70% efficient, so replacing it makes environmental as well as financial sense. Depending on your usage, moving to a more efficient condensing boiler could save an average property between £200 and £300 per year.
Another idea is to use Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) and a room thermostat. This will allow the temperature of each room to be set separately. You don’t have to heat an unoccupied guest room, for example, or even a kitchen, which gets quite a lot of heat from the oven.
6. Solar panel installation
Also referred to as photovoltaics (PV), solar electricity panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that you can use in your home. There will also be times when the electricity you generate is more than you can use or store, so the surplus will be exported to the grid and some energy companies will pay you for this surplus. Amongst other things, you'll need to consider roof space and direction before installation (e.g. it is not recommended to install them on north-facing roofs).
7. Internal and External wall insulation
Internal wall insulation involves fitting rigid insulation boards to the wall, or building a stud wall filled in with insulation material. External wall insulation involves fixing a layer of insulation material to the wall, then covering it with a special type of render or cladding.
8. Secondary Glazing
Secondary glazing involves fitting a secondary pane of glass or other transparent material inside an existing window reveal. Systems range from temporary thin film or polycarbonate or acrylic sheets which can be removed and replaced as required to professional, custom-build frames and glazing.
9. Energy performance improvements
If the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating falls below the Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements, a Property Improvement Plan (PIP) can be put in place modelling the various improvements that could be made and their impact of the rating.