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Published on November 21st, 2022
From fitting new roof insulation to installing an air source heat pump, here are five ways you can make your home more efficient and reduce your energy bills for good
Worried about the cost of living crisis? Household energy bills increased by 54% in April, with further increases on the horizon. Many of us will be forced to make difficult decisions about our energy usage this winter.
While you may plan to use your heating less this year, there are other options available that can help reduce your energy bills for good. Here are six key measures you can take to ease the pressure this winter and reduce your energy bills.
This is a simple and often cost-effective place to start. Have a look around your house and check what light bulbs you’re using. If they’re old, a quick fix to reduce your energy bills is replacing them with a newer LED model.
Replacing the bulbs across your home could have a real impact. A typical fluorescent light, for example, wastes up to 95% of its energy via heat loss. LED lights—which can last up to 20 times longer—will generally waste just 5%.
Other appliances can also be inefficient. Often the largest waste contributor—and the largest appliance to replace—is your boiler. Experts estimate that an old, inefficient boiler can waste about 40% of the money you spend on heating your home.
It may be worth replacing your boiler if it’s 10 to 15 years old. Better still, the government will help you do it: the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) offers £450 million of government grants to homeowners who upgrade to low-carbon alternatives.
Insulation keeps the heat inside your home. Upgrading or replacing your insulation can go a long way to improving efficiency and reducing your energy bills.
You have a few options when it comes to insulation. Depending on your home, you could change your underfloor insulation, roof insulation, internal wall insulation, or even your external wall insulation—though this can change the appearance of your building.
A Home Energy Assessment carried out by a qualified professional will show you which option to take by revealing how much insulation you have, where it’s located, where there are gaps, and what type it is. Crucially, the assessor will also reveal the R Value of your insulation, which measures how resistant your insulation is to heat.
Once your home is properly assessed, you can get started on keeping more of the heat inside your home.
Single glazed windows are a big problem when it comes to energy waste. A typical house loses 10% of its energy through the windows, but this number can rise as high as 70% in houses with single glazing. Single glazing can also contribute to issues with condensation and dampness.
Replacing your windows with double or even triple glazing can have a big impact on your energy usage. Secondary window glazing provides your window with an extra layer of glass that’s separated by a vacuum to prevent heat from transmitting outside your home.
Secondary window glazing keeps heat in and cold air out by preventing draughts. While it can be expensive, in the long run it will reduce your energy usage and have a large impact on your bills.
Heat pumps are an environmentally-friendly and highly efficient way of heating your home simply by absorbing heat from the immediate environment outside.
There are three key types of heat pump: air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, and water source heat pumps. Water source heat pumps are less common as they require a substantial body of nearby water (rivers, lakes, large ponds) to draw heat from.
Ground Source Heat Pumps draw heat from the ground near to your home, so they’re an option if your home has a garden or stretch of outside space to drill into (they’re installed about one metre underground).
Air Source Heat Pumps work in the opposite way to a fridge, drawing in air from the surrounding environment, boosting it to a higher temperature and transferring the heat to where it is needed. A more detailed explanation is that heat pumps consist of a compressor (used to move a refrigerant through a refrigeration cycle), and a heat exchanger, which extracts heat from the air. The heat is passed on to a heat sink, which transfers the heat into a fluid. In buildings, the heat is delivered using either forced air or hydronic systems such as radiators or under‐floor heating. Many heat pumps also provide a cooling function in summer in addition to meeting space heating needs in winter.
This type of heat pump typically requires less installation space as it’s usually wall-mounted and only requires some surrounding space to let air circulate.
The heat pump you choose is entirely dependent on your home, but a typical heat pump will output three to four times as much energy as it requires to run. This can reduce your heating costs by as much as two thirds, compared with electric heating.
Smart thermostats such as the Google Nest or Hive smart thermostat can help reduce your energy use by giving you greater control over your home.
Connecting your heating to the internet, a smart thermostat allows you to control your heating from your smartphone or computer.
Smart thermostats allow you to turn the heating on as you return home from work, choose which parts of the house you want to have the heating on, and even set your water to heat if it drops below a certain temperature.
While they’re not cheap—costing anywhere between £150 and £300—smart thermostats can give you the control to tackle your energy bills.
While these are great tips on how to reduce your energy bills, it can still feel overwhelming to know where to start, particularly if your home needs a bigger project.
Our home energy assessors can figure out where you need to start and how to break down the changes to suit your budget and lifestyle.