Energy efficiency is a big deal. It can save you hundreds of pounds on your utility bills every year, increase the value of your property, and make living in it significantly more comfortable. Most importantly, itâ€™s good for the environment: energy savings translate directly into reduced carbon emissions, so increasing the energy efficiency of our residence is a great way to contribute to building a healthier planet.
Have your home audited
The first thing you can do to improve your homeâ€™s energy efficiency is have it audited by experts. They will visit you and do a thorough examination of your home to locate all the areas where you can make improvements, whether that is insulation, using smart metering devices to control your utility spend better, or studying the viability of using renewable energy such as solar panels to generate your own electricity or heat your water.
Improve your insulation
Heating a home is easy, the hard part is keeping it that way and not wasting a ton of energy sustaining your chosen temperature. The floor, walls, ceilings, and even your pipes and hot water heating devices can all use insulation, and investing in it can save you hundreds of pounds a year on your heating bills as well as offset thousands of kilograms of CO2 emissions. Up to 25% of the heat that is generated in the home can be lost through a non-insulated roof. Likewise, one third of all heat lost escapes through the walls. If you want to make improvements to your homeâ€™s insulation these are the first two areas you should address as they will produce the most tangible changes. The floor and pipes represent more modest investments and savings in the short term, but given that proper insulation has a lifespan in excess of 40 years over their lifetime they will also make a significant difference.
Install smart heating devices
Being able to more precisely control how and when you use your homeâ€™s heating can reduce your bills up to 10% a year. You can set your thermostat to only turn on when certain conditions are met (like when the temperature dips below or goes over a certain threshold) or, if you have proper insulation, only run your heating at off-peak hours so your costs are lower (in the case of electric heating) and trust your homeâ€™s heat retention to do the rest throughout the rest of the day. Smart thermostats have rudimentary artificial intelligence which allows them to memorise patterns in your heating use so the system can run automatically, and they also allow you to customise which parts of your heating system are switched on so youâ€™re not wasting energy heating empty rooms.
Use renewable energy
Installing renewable energy generation in your home also contributes to improving energy efficiency because it makes you less reliant on the electricity grid, most of the electricity of which is produced by burning natural gas. Rooftop solar is by far the most popular form of renewable energy generation for the home, but depending on your location and your homeâ€™s characteristics there are others available like geothermal heat pumps and solar water heating to provide heating. Not that long ago we wrote a detailed post explaining the pros and cons of residential solar energy and its costs and expected returns, check it out for more information on this subject.