The ways in which we light, heat and use our homes are changing. Every year there are new appliances and gadgets designed to save us time and effort, and improve our lifestyle and comfort. The problem is that they also use more and more energy, which is detrimental to our pockets as well as the environment. The government are slowly waking up to the need to lower our carbon footprint, and with the introduction of many energy efficient measures – such as renewable energy farms and recycling incentives – it’s no wonder that many people are taking steps to improve their own carbon footprint and lower their energy costs.
#1 Change your light bulbs
LED bulbs are renowned for two things – saving energy and costing a lot of money! Unfortunately the high costs are putting many people off upgrading their light bulbs to LED, and with some costing as much as £30 a bulb, it’s easy to see why! But we need to remember the benefits of the upfront cost – you can replace a 35 watt halogen light bulb with a 1,000-hour life span, with an LED that uses as little as 4 watts and lasts for approximately 10,000-hours!
#2 Cavity wall insulation
Many newer homes have a cavity between the external and the internal walls, and one of the most effective ways of keeping heat in your home, and cold out, is to have this cavity filled with insulation. The cost is relatively low and is thought to pay for itself in just 3 years – and if you search around for a government-funded scheme, you may even get it for free.
#3 Invest in energy efficient appliances
When the time comes to upgrade your appliances – whether it’s your kettle or your cooker – make sure you investigate the market properly instead of choosing the one that looks best or is simply cheapest. Paying a little more may actually save you money in the long term if it has more energy saving features; look for fridges with thicker insulation, washers with energy saving wash cycles and fan assisted ovens, as they heat up quicker.
#4 Upgrade your windows and doors
It’s estimated that around 20% of the heat in your home is lost through single glazed windows. Upgrading to double glazed windows and doors will trap a layer of air between the two panes, creating an insulating barrier against draughts that saves around 680kg of CO2 every year – not to mention the money you’ll save on heating your home!
#5 Seal up draughty holes
The holes around your windows and doors can let much more heat escape than you realise, but they are usually easy to seal off with decorators caulk and foam strips. It’s the holes that are less obvious that can be a problem – holes and gaps that are letting cold air into your loft space combine to increase your energy costs with heat wastage. Look into the benefits of spray foam insulation as a way to stop the draughts getting in.
#6 Insulate your hot water tank
Treat your hot water tank to a new insulating jacket for around £10, and it will pay for itself in just one year. It can quickly reduce your heat loss by up to 75%, so your home uses less energy to keep your hot water, hot.
#7 Shade your windows
Blackout blinds and curtains don’t have to be confined to the bedroom – they can have great heat saving benefits in winter, and can help to keep your home cool in summer. Draw your curtains earlier in the evenings and you’ll find that your home stays cosier, limiting your heating costs. And if you lower blinds during the day in summer, they can shade your home from the midday sun.
#8 Loft insulation
The energy saving benefits of insulating your loft are well documented – but choosing the right type of insulation can be difficult. Internal roof areas treated with Polyurethane Spray Foam Insulation can reduce your heating costs by around 20% a year, which after just 5 years will have paid for itself, leaving you to reap the financial benefits of lower heating bills!
#9 Upgrade your boiler and heating system
Scrapping your old, inefficient gas boiler and replacing it with a modern, energy saving condensing boiler will significantly reduce your heating bills. Ensuring you get one that is powerful enough for your property, has a high energy saving rating and has acute heating controls can really reduce your carbon footprint, and can reduce your heating bill by up to £300 every year.
#10 Consider greener energy sources
Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon emissions, lower your energy bills or enhance the value of your home, there are many more drastic changes you can make that will achieve all of this! Solar panels are just one solution that could actually make you money as well as help you limit your impact on the environment.