With energy bills continuing to rise, more and more homeowners across the UK are looking for ways to improve energy efficiency in their houses. Beyond saving money on your gas and electricity costs over the long run, an energy-efficient home also reduces your carbon footprint and enhances comfort and indoor air quality. From simple DIY tweaks to bigger investments, here are the key areas to focus your efforts.
As heat rises, it’s no surprise that a home’s attic space or loft is one of the primary spots where heat loss occurs during colder weather. If your loft area currently has little or outdated insulation, topping it up with mineral or fibre wool insulation can significantly prevent precious warm air from escaping outside.
Insulation performance is measured in thermal resistance with a tog rating – the higher the tog rating, the better the heat retention. As a guide, aim for insulation with a tog rating of at least 48 in your loft space. Installing new loft insulation yourself is a straightforward, affordable DIY project that can lower bills.
Professional installation can ensure insulation covers harder-to-reach gaps and provides a guarantee. Take advantage of subsidised offers through government schemes.
Beyond the loft, improving wall insulation should be high on any homeowner’s priority list for better energy efficiency. There are two main types suited to different wall constructions:
Cavity Wall Insulation: Ideal for walls built with a hollow middle cavity. Blown granule insulation fills gaps for better heat retention. DIY cavity wall insulation involves drilling holes – best left to qualified installers.
External or Internal Solid Wall Insulation: Wraps outside or inside of exterior walls with insulation boards topped by protective finishes. More complex but very effective for solid walls without hollow cavities.
If you’re looking for external wall insulation, you need to find a supplier that you can trust. Next Energy is a government-backed scheme dedicated to renewable and efficient solutions.
Upgrade Windows For Improved Efficiency
If your home still has single-glazed or ageing double-glazed windows with gaps in seals allowing heat transmission and draughts, an upgrade should be high on your list. Replacing with energy-efficient double or triple-glazed windows reduces heat loss through the glass by up to half compared to older single-pane windows.
Additional draught-proofing measures like weatherstripping seals around openings improve matters further. Look for windows meeting British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC) energy efficiency ratings when comparing options. DIY window replacement is possible, but using qualified professionals ensures proper installation and long-term performance.
While making upgrades to improve efficiency is paramount, also consider supplementing some everyday energy usage with renewable sources like solar or wind power. Options like rooftop solar thermal panels or photovoltaic (PV) panels reducing reliance on grid electricity continue to fall in price.
Depending on factors like your roof’s exposure to sunlight and available area, even a small array of solar PV panels combined with an accompanying battery storage system can make a meaningful dent in electricity bills. If going fully solar seems out of reach, smaller steps like installing a standalone solar-powered attic exhaust fan can also help cut cooling costs during warmer months.
While whole-home insulation, heating and window upgrades represent major steps towards improved efficiency, never underestimate the positive impact simpler quick fixes can produce. Some prime examples include:
Use ENERGY STAR-certified smart plugs to cut standby power waste from electronics and devices when not in use. Doing so can help to save the average home a good chunk on their bills.
Install heat-reflective radiator foil behind radiators on external walls, preventing heat from escaping outside. This will help you to reduce heat loss.
Seal any lingering air leaks letting conditioned air escape around piping openings, electric outlets, attic hatches, fireplaces and more with proper seals and spray foam. Stop easy heat loss.
Insulate primary hot water pipes to reduce the heat energy required for domestic hot water needs. Lagging wrap doesn’t cost much but lessens waste.
Swap all light bulbs used for more than 1 hour daily to LED equivalents. Did you know that LED bulbs use far less energy than their traditional counterparts? It’s well worth spending a few pounds to make that switch.
Attach thermal curtains to windows to retain heat better. Use pelmets to seal edges and prevent convection currents. Open during daylight to harness solar gain.
Small tweaks add up to bigger savings. An eco-conscious household armed with helpful efficiency grants and incentives can achieve impressive energy upgrades this year. Consistently monitoring usage with smart meters provides insight into your home’s efficiency gains over time. Every step towards enhanced efficiency brings you closer to climate change action and future energy security.
Thanks for reading xxx
Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.
I really wanted a concrete place to share my love for travel, in particular Disney and offer my readers a chance to gain some knowledge around what we love to do as a family of 5.
I share our family adventures which include days out, travel advice and tips, holiday reviews, restaurant visits and of course, our love for Disney, including Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World.
Life is about creating memories, and here we are sharing them with you