What do you need in order to claim you have an energy efficient home
The consensus amongst respected scientists worldwide is that global warming is happening and that it’s happening as a result of human activity raising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Not only is it happening but it is happening fast.
Almost all the world’s mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates.
With all this talk of global warming, more and more of us are trying to help combat the effects but it can be hard to know how to get started.
However, it doesn’t need to be difficult and the best place to start is in your own energy efficient homes.
There are some easy ways to make your homes as energy efficient as possible.
Using appliances efficiently in your home
This covers a number of areas but the main way to use your appliances efficiently in the energy efficient home is simply to turn them off when not using them.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the UK alone wastes £740m worth of electricity a year by leaving products on standby₁.
Turning off electrical equipment you are not using is such a simple way to begin becoming more energy efficient.
- Get into habit of unplugging the TV at the back every night.
- Switching of lights when you leave the room.
- Shutting down your computer instead of using screensaver.
- The routine will become second nature.
Many people worry that becoming energy efficient may be costly but this the opposite – the more stuff you turn off, the less electricity you use and the more money you save!
There are also ways to use appliances more efficiently when they are on too
- When using the washing machine or dishwasher do full loads.
- When boiling a kettle only boil as much as you need.
- Make sure your freezer is full because it takes more energy to cool the empty space
These are just a few things you can do that don’t really take any extra effort but add up to make a big difference.
Keeping Tabs on Water Consumption
WaterSense an Environmental Protection Agency Partnership Program working to spread the word about water efficiency say the average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home and can potentially waste up to 11,000 tons of water a year₂.
There are so many ways that you can save water around the home.
Installing a water meter means you only pay for the water you use so should reduce your bills but will also make you more conscious of waste.
Take showers instead of baths as they use around half the amount of water, but avoid power showers as they are real water guzzlers.
Do not leave the water running when you brush your teeth or shave – you can just rinse off in just a few inches of water.
This applies to some of the older, larger toilet cisterns
Every time you flush the toilet it uses between five and seven gallons of water so don’t just flush a cigarette butt or tissue.
All these tips cost you nothing to do and will actually save you money by cutting down water bills.
Also, be vigilant around your home when it comes to leaks.
We haven’t even discussed the problems faced by heating the water which brings me nicely on to my next point.
We all need to keep our homes warm and misusing our heating can waste a lot of energy and money.
First, contact your energy supplier and make sure your boiler/heater is the most energy efficient available.
If there is a better one available, consider getting one installed. New heating systems can be pricey so take this into consideration although there are schemes out there to help people afford more energy efficient heating.
Even when you have the best system possible there are still things you can do to aid efficiency.
- Don’t hide your radiators behind large pieces of furniture; you need them out in the open to let the warm air circulate.
- Keep your hot water pipe and immersion tank insulated to stop loss of heat.
Pipe insulation isn’t too costly and quickly pays for itself.
You could always try solar panels
These can be fitted to harness the natural power of the sun and depending on the type can produce electricity or water heating for your home. The panels do not create enough energy to be the sole supply so work as an auxiliary to your existing system.
Solar panels do save you money but can cost thousands to install so you need to take time to research if the initial outlay as going to be worth it.
One of the most cost effective ways of reducing the energy consumption of your home insulation.
Up to 25% of the heat in your home is lost through the roof and up to 35% through the walls so getting insulation can really cut your heating bills.
Materials used in lofts include blanket, loose-fill and sheet insulation and the best one for you will be determined by the type of loft you have.
Most homes have cavity walls meaning the wall is made up of two layers with a gap in between. To insulate, a small hole is drilled in the wall and insulation is blown in.
Cavity wall insulation costs more than loft insulation but then helps retain more heat as well so they work out about the same.
Windows and Doors Insulation
Another way to help insulate your home is to ensure your windows and doors are properly sealed.
Ones that are not let in cold air and draughts and let warm air escape. If yours are draughty and you can’t afford new ones there are still things you can do.
Draught proofing existing windows and doors can be an inexpensive way to create a more energy efficient home.
There are self adhesive strips you can stick around the window to block up any gaps, a letter box brush can stop air whistling through there and a draught excluder across the bottom of the door; well it excludes the draught (the clue is in the name really!).
Hopefully this has helped you to see that creating more energy efficient homes really does not have to be difficult.
The one thing to remember is that whatever you do, do something.
Just a small change really can make a huge difference.
Image by: University of Exeter