Energy prices are going up, so ensuring no household energy is wasted is at the forefront of many of our minds.
Making everyday changes (and some more significant ones) in your home can go a long way to helping reduce your energy bills in the long run as well as being better for the environment.
As structural engineers in Devon, we are keenly aware of the need for new properties to be built with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind, now more so than ever. But how can you make your current home more energy efficient?
The Benefits of Energy Efficient Buildings
The reasons we need to make energy efficiency a priority are clear-cut:
- Reduced utility bills and significant cost savings over time
- Reduced reliance on fossil fuel and a reduced carbon footprint
- A feasible way to combat climate change
- Increased property value and a chance to future-proofing it
So, is there a way to ensure your home becomes energy efficient to reap some of these benefits?
How Energy Efficient is Your Home?
Start by establishing which areas in your home could be made more efficient, whether this includes improving your insulation, finding better ways to heat your home, investing in renewable energy sources or reducing everyday energy wastage.
You can do this by checking your home’s Energy Performance Certificate, which can be found through the government’s EPC register. If your certificate has expired (after 10 years) or you do not have one, you can get in touch with a Domestic energy assessor who will be able to establish your home’s energy efficiency.
Reducing Heat Loss in the Home
Ensuring your home is properly insulated is the easiest way to reduce heat loss and make sure you are not wasting energy heating your home without retaining any of that heat. Poor insulation means you’ll end up keeping heaters on for longer and more often.
Insulating Your Home
Insulation ensures that heat doesn’t immediately leak out of your home. There are many ways you can protect your home from losing heat and wasting energy:
- Cavity wall insulation
- Solid wall insulation
- Floor insulation
- Roof & loft insulation
- Draft-proofing windows and doors
- Insulating hot water cylinders, tanks, pipes & radiators
About a third of heat is lost through the walls of uninsulated homes, with up to a quarter of heat being lost through the roof, so it is essential you ensure your insulation is up to scratch.
The age of your house will likely affect how you need to insulate it, as older properties will need a little more care.
Upgrade Your Windows
If your windows have seen better days, take this chance to replace them with more energy-efficient ones.
Double or triple glazed windows comprise two or three layers of glass with a layer of gas trapped between each pane, so they are better protected against heat loss.
Efficient Heating Systems
Even if you have good insulation in place, heating your home and ensuring you have enough hot water can be costly.
There are numerous ways you can heat your home more efficiently by switching to a low-carbon system. As we strive for the government’s 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target, we’ll see more homes consider things like:
- Heat pumps (air-to-water, ground-to-water, hybrid, solar-assisted)
- Modern boilers (increased by the 2025 ban on gas and oil boilers in new homes)
- Electric heating
- Solar-powered water heating
Reassessing Your Heating Controls
If you can, think about upgrading your heating controls so you can have a timer and easily control the temperature in your home, ensuring you are not overheating it or heating it unnecessarily.
Also, consider turning down your thermostat – turning down the temperature even by one or two degrees can lead to fairly significant savings.
Installing a smart thermostat can also be useful as they can be set to only heat certain rooms and can be controlled by your phone, allowing you to easily see when you tend to have a spike in energy usage.
Renewable Energy Sources
Investing in a renewable energy source is a great way to create your own electricity or heat, cutting bills and reducing carbon emissions significantly.
Solar panels provide a renewable source of electricity and are the most realistic renewable energy method for most households. These panels capture the sun’s heat and turn it into energy that you can use for your home and household appliances.
Installing these panels can be costly, but they are becoming cheaper as the technology becomes more readily available. Additionally, you may sometimes generate more electricity than you need; this surplus can be exported to the grid, which you can receive payment for!
Household Changes to Increase Energy Efficiency
Other simple things you can do to reduce energy wastage, increase efficiency and make savings include:
- Making the switch to more efficient appliances (check the energy rating label)
- Energy-saving light bulbs like LEDs
- Run the washing machine at a lower temperature
- Reduce water usage
- Monitor energy usage with a smart meter
As energy prices hike up, now is a great time to increase your home’s energy efficiency. Even if it’s only possible to make one or two small changes in your home, you’ll likely still find you can save money on your bills and have a less negative impact on the environment.
If your house needs some extra TLC and you require the expertise of a structural engineer or chartered surveyor, get in touch with our team at Martin Perry Associates.
We have worked on countless projects and are well equipped to support your vision for your property.