We all like to think we are savvy at saving energy. We know it's good for the environment and can save us money. We drive diesel cars and fly with eco-friendly airlines. At home we check the energy rating of our electrical appliances and choose the greenest utility suppliers. But what more can we do to make our homes even more efficient?
Every journey begins with a single step and simply switching to LED light bulbs will cut energy wastage and save around £6 of electricity per bulb in a year. Small gains to be sure, but they will add up over the lifetime of the bulb.
Look around any street in the UK and you will see at least one house with solar panels on its roof. They are easy to install, don't look horrendous and will function even in the UK's temperamental climate. Better yet, they massively reduce carbon emissions and could save you over £500 per year. The downside? They can cost around £7000 to install.
It pays to insulate
Insulating the loft is an easy and affordable way to make your home more efficient. 25% of heat can escape through the roof but insulating, or upgrading old insulation to a thickness of 270mm, will retain warmth and save around £100 per year in energy costs.
It's a similar story with cavity walls. All new homes in the UK are built with their walls already filled but those of us in older properties will save energy and money by installing insulation.
A window to savings
New energy-efficient windows prevent draughts, eliminate condensation and prevent noise all while keeping warmth in. All admirable qualities but when you also consider they are made from greener materials and reduce heating bills they are a great way to increase the efficiency of your home.
Doing away with convention
The boiler can use over half of the energy in a typical property so it makes sense to ensure yours is as efficient as possible. A combination boiler is compact, heats water instantly, and doesn't don't require a storage tank. It could also save you £100 a year compared to older conventional appliances.
The Internet of Things
There is nothing especially new about home automation but the fall in hardware prices and advances in cloud technology means it is now practical to efficiently control your home from a Smartphone. Apps can optimise thermostat settings reducing energy wastage and costs, whilst remote control means appliances and services can be turned on or off even when you are away from the house.
Whilst it is quite possible to make your home more efficient is it really worth the hassle? It is. Apart from reduced utility bills and more money in your pocket, figures released by the government in 2013 revealed a properties resale value could increase by up to 16%. Incentive enough for everyone to join the drive for greater home efficiency.