If you’re worried about rising energy bills, you may have thought about ways to make your home more energy efficient. The more efficient your household appliances are, the more money you’ll save. You’ll also be doing your bit for the environment too. Here are our top tips on improving the energy efficiency of your home.
How long your improvements will take to install
We’ve split these home improvements into two categories – quick and easy improvements, and, future investments. There will be a number of changes you can make straight away that will help you save some money quite quickly. Other improvements should be seen as long term investments in your home that will return savings later on.
Making these improvements might incur an initial expense that could seem quite costly – but over the course of a few months, or years, you’ll make back your initial investment – and more.
Quick and easy improvements
Consider a smart meter
You’ll likely already have one, or at least heard of them, but a smart meter can prove a great tool to track and monitor your daily energy expenditure. You can get a smart meter for both gas and electricity. Most energy companies are providing them at no upfront cost meaning it won’t cost you a thing.
How do they work?
Your smart meter will send your daily usage directly to your energy/gas supplier which means you’ll only pay for what you use. Standard meters have often charged consumers based on their monthly estimated use rather than what they actually use.
You’ll also receive your own in-home smart meter display. These basically allow you to see what you’re using, and spending, every day on gas or electric. It communicates wirelessly with your smart meters displaying how much energy you’ve used for the day and how much it costs – down to the penny.
Smart Energy GB can show you if your supplier provides free smart meters – and how to order one. You can check them out here.
Turn down your water heater
A quick and easy way to be more energy efficient is to simply turn down the temperature on your water heater. Your water heater accounts for nearly 20% of your monthly energy bill. If your water temperature is higher than it needs to be, you’ll likely be paying a higher utility bill – for no good reason.
The most optimal temperature for you water heater is 48°c (118.4°f). Try turning your water heater down to this temperature if it’s currently higher than this. It’s a quick fix that could save you hundreds of pounds down the line.
If you don’t know how to adjust your water temperature, watch this video that explains exactly how it’s done.
A tap aerator, or water flow regulator, attaches to the end of a tap to control the amount of water that flows from the tap. The more water that is restricted, the more money you can save on your monthly water bill.
Taps can flow at a rate of 18 litres per minute. A tap aerator can reduce this to 6 litres per minute. We’re all guilty of leaving the taps on for a little longer than we should when washing up; installing a tap aerator can reduce water waste to a minimum and slash your water bill by a considerable amount.
Eco shower head
An eco-shower head restricts water flow which can help to reduce the volume of water used when using the shower. Some models can reduce the volume of water used by 50% without affecting the water pressure.
Most old showerheads can produce 15-20 litres of water per minute. An eco-friendly showerhead can reduce this to around 6 litres per minute – without sacrificing water pressure (dependant on the quality of the model).
You can normally pick up an eco-shower head for a relatively cheap price – normally anywhere from £10 to £100 (depending on quality).
Replace your window seals
If you’re beginning to notice a draught coming from your window, you’ll likely need to replace your window seals. This will help you keep cold air out, and warm air in, which is especially helpful during the winter months to help insulate your home and reduce heating bills.
Other signs to look out for that your window seals need replacing are condensation and mould appearing around your windows/window seals.
Conduct an energy audit
You may not have heard of an energy audit before, however, they’re a great place to get started when looking at improving the energy efficiency of your home. An energy audit is an inspection of how energy flows throughout your home. This is done in order to understand the energy efficiency of the home and if there are any opportunities to improve it.
The audit will include anything from a blower door test (to see how airtight the house is), or thermographic scanning to see where the home is losing heat (so you can see where to install insulation). The average cost of an energy audit can range anywhere from £100 to £400.
Remember: the savings will quickly add up as you can expect to save up to 25% of your yearly energy consumption with an energy audit (assuming you make efforts to fix the issues outlined in the audit).
Install Energy Star appliances
Every appliance you have in your home will have an energy efficiency rating. This rating displays how much energy they use compared to similar appliances. They range from A to G, with A being the most efficient, and G being the least efficient.
Simply put, a fridge/freezer unit that has an ‘A’ energy efficiency rating will use considerably less energy than one rated ‘G’, for example.
If you want to be more energy efficient and save money in the long run, consider upscaling your current appliances to those with high energy efficiency ratings. Whilst they may incur a higher cost in comparison to similar appliances, you’ll make back the extra you spend in savings down the years to come.
Switch Heating Source
Your heating is likely going to be one of your biggest expenditures during the colder months of the year. Making sure your heating is an energy efficient as possible, then, is a great way to cut down your utility bill.
There are a few different kinds of heating sources: gas boilers, oil, electric boilers, and biomass boilers. Each type of heating source has its own advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to check out each type to see what would work best for you.
You could also look into heat pumps or solar panels to provide heat to the home. Solar panels will also generate energy for your entire home – not just your heating. Solar panels are effectively free to run once they’re installed and can generate annual savings of £150-£450.
What are the benefits of an energy efficient home?
If you’re wondering what the point of improving the energy efficiency of your home is, it’s fairly simple. Energy efficient homes provide two key benefits:
- Saving money
- Reducing your carbon footprint
The Government has currently made plans to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In order to achieve this, the Government is expecting all properties in the UK to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least ‘C’ by 2035.
Here’s how homes in the UK are looking at the moment:
- Over 40% of the UK’s emissions currently come from the built environment
- Only 3% of homes have an EPC rating of ‘A’ or ‘B’
- 19 million homes require eco-friendly retrofitting to meet the UK Government’s emissions target by 2035*
Not only has improving the energy efficiency rating of your home been recognised as an easy way to save money, but it has now become recognised as necessary by the UK Government. However, there is a benefit to this.
If you improve your home’s energy efficiency rating, you could be eligible for a green mortgage. This could save you money on your monthly mortgage repayments and even earn you some cashback. If you’d like to find out more about green mortgages, you can read our article here.
Mortgage Advice Bureau interviewed 2,011 nationally representative UK adults between 08/11/2021-10/11/2021 using the research agency, Censuswide. Please get in touch with any data enquiries.