energy Residential Sustainability

3 simple energy saving tips for the home

Q3 2017

Saving energy in your home doesn’t have to mean major works or a total shift in lifestyle. These simple tips can help make your home more energy efficient.

Making your home much more energy efficient takes only a little bit of effort and investment – but could have a huge impact on our environment.

Best for long-term gains: Solar power

Solar panels not only make your home greener, but should eventually save you money.

Photovoltaic (PV) panels convert daylight into electricity and while the upfront cost of installation might be expensive, they can be worth the small level of effort even if you’re only going to be in your home for the next few years… and you live in the south for better weather.

The cost of solar panels and installation is falling, with costs dropping by around half every decade.

Some of your investment can be recouped through a Feed-in Tariff (FIT), allowing homes to get 4.11p per kilowatt hour of renewable energy generated.

But it’s best if you use as much of the electricity that you generate as possible. A typical domestic PV system will generate around 3,000kWh a year – or about £400 of electricity bill savings every year if you can use it when you would otherwise have been buying electricity from your supplier.

To get the most from it, operate appliances during the day rather than in the evening when it’s most expensive, using the electricity to heat water, or storing it in a battery to use in the evening.

Cost and effort: Between £4000 and £6000. 1 to 3 days of work.

Most cost effective option: Cut out the drafts

Drafts are the bane of energy efficiency. No matter how good your system or whether you’ve got all the sustainable energy sources you can fit into a home, if the energy created is being lost then you’re just creating it for nothing.

An airtightness test can work out if a room is losing heat and by how much. This allows you to focus your efforts on rooms that need the most help, from using draft excluders to replacing windows for double glazing where possible.

Draft excluders are a simple way to reduce drafts and work well on doors that are hardly opened. Insulated shutters are also an effective way to reduce heat loss from large windows, particularly period sashes where it’s not permitted to use double glazing.

If your home is listed, a Ventrolla system fitted to sash windows can prevent much of the need for secondary glazing. It’s also worth looking at closable vents on open fire places and winter-proof cat flaps.

Cost and effort: Under £200 for an airtightness test. A Ventrolla system costs around £300-£500 per window. These can be done in a day or two.

Biggest daily impact: Go digital

Many homes waste energy by heating when it’s not needed – whether that’s having the boiler running while you’re on holiday or the radiators on while at work. And many traditional heating systems simply allow you to set your temperature at one setting – not accounting for changes in weather, which room you’re in, or how many people are in the property.

By installing a smart meter like Hive or Nest you can make sure that you’re only using the energy you actually need. You can turn off heating systems remotely, track your energy usage and create tailored settings for times of day or days of the week.

This can help you to reduce your energy usage and also see how much you actually spend on running various items like dishwashers or showers.

Cost and effort: £249 with installation. Only takes 90 minutes to install.

Eco-efficient homes for sale

Glebe Close is a stylish example of sustainability. The developer, Enterprise Property Group Limited prides itself on delivering high quality, highly efficient housing. Each of these properties has an EPC rating of A, with a score of 97%, ensuring low running costs for the owner and fitted with 4KW solar PV panels generating power to the house during the day.

Barnsley Hill Farm is a barn conversion embraces sustainable living, it has 45 solar panels, rainwater harvesters, and the windows and doors in the house even have a film tint that prevents the sun from damaging furniture.