Energy Saving Technology

Improve the energy efficiency of your home in three easy steps

The majority of homeowners are interested in saving money on their household bills and are regularly searching to get the best deal on their electricity, gas or oil costs but how can we improve the energy efficiency of our homes and therefore save our hard-earned money?

Firstly, the insulation of the property needs to be checked as this is probably the most effective way to save energy. Heat is lost through the ceilings and walls of the house and so adequate loft insulation and cavity wall insulation is certainly worthwhile especially if your property is older and has not been built with wall insulation as standard.

Secondly, do the windows and doors at the property let heat escape too easily? If this is the case then a survey on their efficiency is a good idea. Double or even triple glazing can save the homeowner money and at the same time reduce any troublesome road noise.

Lastly, if the property has a gas boiler installed it is important to check whether it is of the type that only heats the water that you need as this is far better than heating a tank of water that you may not use. These combi boilers are much more efficient and remove the need for a large hot water cylinder.

Heat pumps are the latest innovation in eco-friendly heating

As any eco conscious householder is probably aware home heating accounts for 14% of all the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions with the majority of that coming from gas boilers. A simple thing such as turning up the thermostat causes an increase in energy usage and means that more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Some of the heat that is produced escapes the home and is actually wasted, as many homes in the UK do not meet energy efficiency standards and improving the sustainability of the UK’s housing stock is one of the challenges the government faces in its bid to make the UK carbon-neutral by 2050. Heat pumps are being recognised as one solution to this problem and the UK government has announced its aim to install a high number of heat pumps in the next eight years.

There are two types of heat pumps that can be used for heating. One extracts heat from the air, known as an air source heat pump. These pumps are the most commonly installed type and look like an air conditioning unit fitted on the outside of your home. There are also ground source heat pumps that extract heat from the ground. Both types of pump basically transfer heat from one place to another by using a liquid refrigerant and a compressor in a process that is electrically powered. As it is powered by electricity, the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted by a heat pump depends on how that electricity is generated but fortunately, the UK’s national grid is becoming increasingly green as more solar, and wind powered electricity is being utilised.

The performance of heat pumps and how much electricity they use depends on the heating system in the property as heat pumps are a lot more efficient when they run in combination with systems like underfloor heating or large, especially designed oversized radiators that produce enough heat to warm the space without needing to run at high temperatures. If a heat pump is installed to replace a gas boiler, the heat pump will not work at optimum efficiency with the existing radiators, so you may need to change your radiators. For households that are not connected to mains gas, heat pumps are however an excellent solution, much better than an oil boiler, which produces high carbon dioxide emissions.

So, although heat pumps are an important part of any energy efficient review they are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and each household must be considered individually.

Are log burners bad for the environment?

The concern over the amount of damage the human race is doing to the environment has become a hot topic of debate in recent years as we are warned that global warming will have dire consequences for the planet if we continue to use fossil fuels to power our energy needs. To address this, one of the schemes that the Government is bringing in is to ban the burning of coal and wet wood on domestic fires so does this mean that log burners will no longer be allowed in homes?

Environmentalists state that in actual fact burning wood is actually carbon neutral as the wood releases the carbon that it has absorbed when burnt but the issue is with the pollutants that it releases into the atmosphere that are the problem. Tiny particles of soot are given off when coal or wet wood is burnt which enter the atmosphere and cause lung problems for many people and so it is for this reason that new legislation is having to be bought in.

The good news for owners of log burners is that seasoned or dry wood is still going to be allowed to be used and there is lots of advice available on the best ways to dry out the logs before burning to make sure that the amount of pollutant being released is minimised.

Will a Stove be More Energy Efficient?

A wood burning stove gives you a good way of heating your home, whilst also looking great. You will find that you can improve the aesthetic of your property, without having to make a big adjustment – fitting a stove is a fairly simply process. But can you rest assured that it will help save you energy?

Burning your own fuel will generally help to make your home more energy efficient. This is because you aren’t relying on electricity or gas from the mains to heat your home. You can generate a lot of heat using high quality logs in your burner, and you can make a big different to your energy bills. The fire will burn for a long time, so you won’t need to use lots of fuel to create a fire.

If you want to be as energy efficient as possible, why not pair your stove with solar panels on your roof to help you generate more energy?

How to Reduce your Home’s Running Costs

When we think about reducing running costs for a home, we are often thinking about making the energy we use more sustainable. The two very much go hand in hand. Using less energy, and producing energy in sustainable ways, will help both you and the planet. Here are some ways you can help reduce your energy bills:

  • Bring in as much natural light as you can. Thing about installing more windows, a conservatory, or rooflights to give your home more naural brightness. This allows you to cut down on the artificial light you use.
  • Turn appliances off at the plug. This will help prevent energy loss when they are on standby.
  • Use a log burner. Wood is a sustainable fuel and will help heat you home without using up fossil fuels.
  • Turn down your washing machine. Most clothes can easily be washed at 30 degrees, instead of the more usual 40 degrees.