Running an energy-efficient home with a few informed decisions can help conserve the environment—all while saving you money.
According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST)—a leading provider of energy-efficient home solutions to domestic, business, local, government and trade sectors—heating and hot water account for around 62 percent of what we spend in a year on energy bills. It’s therefore safe to say that enhancing energy efficiency isn’t just eco-friendly, it can dramatically benefit our pockets too. Property & Home explores some of the best—and easiest—ways to begin saving energy in your home.
Making simple and concerted efforts to save water can reduce energy use, cut down bills and help diminish the negative impact on the environment.
Much of your water use contributes to your energy bill—it makes up 21 percent of a typical gas charge, to be exact. This is because water usage almost always equals energy usage—especially if the water is being heated. Heating water makes up four percent of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions, one of the main gases causing climate change. Switching your old showerhead for more efficient showerheads is a great way to save on water and energy, as is opting for a reduced-capacity bath—which typically holds far less water than its conventional 80-litre counterpart.
According to the EST, every home and business will be offered smart gas and electricity meters by the end of 2020. While they measure usage in the same way that traditional ones do, these smart solutions can also tell you exactly when you’re using the most energy and how much it costs—allowing you to adapt your energy use accordingly. These meters consist of an in-home display unit on which users will be able to see real-time usage in pounds and pence. Gone will be the days of receiving estimated bills and trying to justify costs versus energy consumption.
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It goes without saying that in order to run an energy-efficient home, one must choose appliances carefully and take control of all things electric. When it comes to must-have machines such as cookers, fridges and tumble dryers, it is advisable to purchase models with a good energy rating such as ‘A++’ or ‘A+++’. When shopping for new water-using appliances, look for the Water Efficient Product Label as these models will not only help you save water, they’ll cut down your energy usage and bills as well.
Choosing between energy-efficient lighting options can be difficult as there are a wide variety of solutions at hand. The two main types of efficient light bulbs available in the UK are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs)—they can both be used in standard fittings and are great energy-saving options (though CFLs will save you more money in the long-term). In addition to choosing these energy-conscious bulbs, simple actions like switching off the lights when leaving a room, being aware of how many lights are turned on, arranging light switches in convenient areas, using sensors and timers in outside spaces and installing appropriate lighting for specific rooms and spaces can all save a considerable amount of energy.
Adjusting your heating remotely might seem like a thing of the future, but smart heating meters will let you do just that. Whether you want to come back to a comfortably warm house after work or make sure the heating doesn’t turn on while you’re out, new technology in this field is truly changing the way we use energy—while also enabling us to curtail our own wasteful habits. Smart heating meters allow us to play a bigger part in our energy consumption, but so can modern solutions such as under floor heating. These systems—made up of pipes linked to a boiler—pump hot water around the house, distributing heat more evenly. Because they need lower temperature water compared to heaters, this lets the boiler work more efficiently—running an energy-efficient home.
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