How to reduce energy consumption this winter
According to research carried out by the government, a quarter of all CO2 emissions produced in the UK can be attributed to the energy used by homeowners for heating and lighting. In order to reduce energy bills this winter and therefore reduce carbon emissions homeowners are increasingly looking at ways of creating a home that is as energy efficient as possible. Here are some of the easiest ways of creating an energy efficient home.
A poorly insulated home will leak energy at an alarming rate. The roof and walls will account for the most heat loss because the law of physics says warm air will always travel towards the cold air. This means that in winter, the lower the outside temperature, the quicker the heat from your home will escape into the surrounding air. It is therefore vitally important that adequate measures are taken to ensure enough insulation is in place to prevent the heat escaping.
For the majority of properties built in the last 30 years, the walls will not be a problem as they will probably already have cavity wall insulation installed. If your home was built before this, it will most likely not have any. Cavity wall insulation can be installed at very little cost by specialist contractors in very little time. A well insulated cavity wall will have a dramatic effect on reducing the amount of heat loss as the insulation will provide a blanket to the home`s exterior walls.
According to the Building Regulations, the roof should have insulation covering the whole area of the roof space and be at least 270mm thick (~10.6 inches) to be effective. It is worth noting that regardless of the property’s age, you should check the loft to see how much is present as the regulations are always changing in a bid to create an increasingly efficient home. Grants are available from the UK government for both roof insulation and cavity wall insulation.
Another often overlooked source of heat loss is through garage. As the largest thermal break in properties with an attached garage, replacing old fashioned garage doors with either energy efficient insulated roller garage doors or sectional garage doors will provide an additional barrier to the cold.
Where homes are constructed using timber joists to form the downstairs floor, cold air will penetrate the floorboards, making the room colder faster. Again it is worth checking to see if any insulation is in place. If none is present then it is worthwhile installing some. This can either be in the form of rolls of insulation placed under the joists and held in place using timber battens or by cutting sheets of solid insulation board to fit tightly between the joists. Either method will create a room that warms up faster and retains the heat for longer period of time.
The Heating System
With the cold weather getting ever closer, now is the time to replace tired old boilers and radiators with a modern, highly efficient system. Modern boilers require much less energy to run making for great savings on gas bills. A well planned installation that includes a room thermostat and individual TRV`s to the radiators will allow for total control of the home’s temperature much better than an old fashioned on/off type system. In these tough economic times, if the household budget does not allow for the replacement of the heating system, then it is worthwhile getting the boiler serviced by a qualified engineer or technician to ensure that it is running as efficiently as possible.
To conclude, with the ever-increasing demand for fossil fuels from around the world and the fact that high energy prices are here to stay, it will undoubtedly pay to take measures to decrease your home’s energy consumption this winter, as well as in the years to come.