Published on April 13th, 2023

Where to start with making energy efficiency upgrades to your home?

We know only too well that it’s the wild west out there when you’re trying to organise contractors to carry out work on your home, that’s why we created Furbnow in the first place. Here we create a step-by-step guide to understanding what your home needs and then organising the work to carry out the upgrades.

7 mins How to be more energy efficient Reduce my energy bills

The biggest hurdle to retrofitting your home with energy efficiency measures is knowing where to begin. With stories of cowboy builders giving incorrect advice and contractors missing deadlines it can feel like you’re entering into a whole menagerie of work. This is why we created Furbnow, to give clear unbiased advice on what your property actually needs to become the energy efficient comfortable home you always wanted (but were too afraid to ask about).

If you’d like to get a full breakdown of what your home needs to improve its energy efficiency, reduce its running costs and see the impact it has on your house value then you can book a home assessment and energy plan with Furbnow. Book a home assessment and energy plan here.

To give you a bit more of an idea of where to start before considering our services though we thought we’d run through a few starting points to make sure you’re doing things right.


  1. Understanding what your home needs
  2. Reaching out to contractors or using Furbnow
  3. Managing the work being carried out

1. Understanding what your home needs

To the untrained eye your home might seem ok on the surface, maybe you have to put on a fleece during winter or sleep with an electric fan in summer. But it helps to have a more detailed idea of where you stand, leave a bit of damp for too long and it can become much worse etc.

To help give you a foothold we’ve put together this shortlist of things to check out:

- Identify areas of energy waste

It’s worth taking a walk around your home and noting any draughts you feel coming through doors or windows. These can be bad for your health as well as your home’s health. Old appliances too tend to consume a lot more energy than newer ones - when did you last replace that washing machine?

- Analyse your energy bills:

With the rising cost of energy it’s easy to assume that rising bills are just the way of the world at the minute but maybe it’s down to inefficiencies in your home. Compare month on month rises and work back to see what might cause peaks and troughs in usage.

- Test your electric and gas meters:

Anyone can test their appliances and inversely their energy meters. You just need to switch all your appliances off, then turn them on one at a time for about 90 seconds to see how much the meter jumps up by in response.

The best measure of course is to have a professional retrofit assessor perform an audit of your home. Here they’ll use thermographic imaging, conduct ventilation reports and examine how much energy your home’s using in relation to the size of the building and the conditions outside.

If you book this with us we will provide you with an easy to read home energy report that shows how your home is performing and what work would be required to bring it up a level. We also show how much you’d save each year on your energy bills and how the increased efficiency would increase your home’s value. You can book an assessment here.

2. Reaching out to contractors (Or to us 🙋)

Once you’ve established the work you want to carry out it’s then about finding the right people to make it happen.

This is as critical as understanding what your home needs as the costs can vary, the reliability can vary and the contractors ability to work cohesively can really vary (maybe your plummer isn’t talking to your electrician etc.). You also need to think about how involved you want to be, maybe you’ll employ an architect and work with them or maybe you’ll want a project manager who can take the whole thing off your hands.

Here are some things to consider when looking at contractors to carry out work on your home:

- Licensing and insurance:

Most important is the legitimacy of the business you're working with. In most cases the people you’ll talk with are experienced in their line of business but it’s worth making sure they’re insurance and licences cover the work you want carried out.

- Reputation:

It’s always worth looking at online reviews to ensure the business provides good work. You can also ask the contractor for references.

- Experience:

Investigate the amount of experience each contractor has in the specific jobs they’re carrying out. Have they installed underfloor heating? What’s involved in replacing a boiler?

- Written contract:

Even if you know your contractor is up to the job, has a great reputation, perhaps you even know them already. It’s still important you have a contract in place to cover any surprises. It protects both parties over any disputes and sets clear expectations from the beginning, outline payment schedules and deadlines in it. Read it carefully before signing.

- Timelines:

One of the main headaches we’ve found from those that have managed energy efficiency upgrades themselves is the constant falling behind of deadlines. Make sure you have a clear set of timelines agreed between you. You can have these stipulated in the contract, with compensation for any delays and the knock effects for you.

Of course the other option (yes, we’re going to say it) is to use Furbnow’s project management service to take on all of these elements of the work.

Once you’ve received your energy plan from us that outlines all of the work needed, the costs and the timelines, we can then project manage the work for you, so you only need to be as involved as you’d like. If you’d like to organise a home energy plan you can complete our form here.

3. Managing the work being carried out

Managing contractors working on your home can be a challenging task. As a homeowner, you want to ensure that the work is done efficiently, effectively, and to your satisfaction. From our experience here’s the top tips for managing the work:

- Establish clear expectations:

Before starting any work, it's important to establish clear expectations with the contractor. Discuss your goals for the project, timelines, and any other details that are important to you. Make sure that both you and the contractor are on the same page and have a clear understanding of what needs to be done.

- Communication is key:

Good communication is key to a successful project. Establish a regular communication schedule with the contractor and make sure they have your contact information. This will help you stay up-to-date on the progress of the project and allow you to address any issues that arise.

- Set up a contract:

As we mentioned, having a written contract is important to protect both you and the contractor. Make sure that all the details of the project, including timelines, costs, and responsibilities, are clearly outlined in the contract. Make sure you read and understand the contract before signing it.

- Regular site visits:

Regular site visits will help you monitor the progress of the project and address any issues that arise. It will also help you establish a good working relationship with the contractor.

- Make timely payments:

Paying the contractor on time is essential to maintaining a good working relationship. Make sure that you adhere to the payment schedule outlined in the contract. If there are any delays in payment, communicate with the contractor and try to work out a solution.

- Be respectful:

Respect the contractor's time and space while they are working on your home. Be available to answer any questions they may have, but also give them the space they need to work. Remember, they are professionals and have a job to do.

- Address any issues immediately:

If you have any concerns or issues with the work being done, address them immediately with the contractor. This will prevent any further problems from occurring and allow the contractor to rectify the situation quickly.

The alternative of course is that you use Furbnow to project manage the work for you so that you don’t have to. We can organise the work to ensure that it’s up to standard and also offer aftercare and monitoring to show you the return on investment on your home energy upgrades. You can book a home energy plan to kick the process off here.

Written by

Oisin Teevan

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