Improving the energy efficiency of your home
What is energy efficiency?
Energy efficiency means using less energy for the same activity.
Doing things to improve energy efficiency in your home is an important way of reducing your energy costs and your carbon emissions – friendly for your wallet and the planet!
The main ways to do this in your home are:
- Use energy-efficient household goods – like your fridge or washing machine.
- Improve the insulation of the doors, windows, walls, floors and roofs.
- Looking after your household goods helps them to keep working for longer and to keep being efficient.
What to look for when choosing new appliances?
When looking for energy-efficient appliances for your home, you need to look out for the energy rating label on appliances and consider the size of the appliance that you require.
How do energy labels work?
Energy ratings are generally given to products based on their size. This means that two differently sized appliances with the same energy rating may use quite different amounts of electricity. For instance, an A-rated 180-litre fridge freezer could cost £39 a year to run, whereas a larger 525-litre fridge freezer with a better A+ rating could cost £52 a year to run.
There are several review sites that provide objective reviews of products and appliances. You can also go to your chosen retailer who may have reviews for the item.
Which appliances should be energy efficient?
The simple answer is all of them.
However, there are some appliances which are particularly significant regarding their energy consumption. Therefore, opting for energy-saving versions will be especially effective at reducing bills and CO2 emissions.
- Tumble Driers
- Washing Machines
- Hot Water Boilers
- Hair Driers
The importance of insulation
How is heat energy lost from your home?
Heat energy can be lost from your home in several ways, including:
- “Cold-bridges”, such as window lintels and balconies are particularly likely to cause heat to be lost from the house.
- Warm air is lighter than cold air, so will naturally rise above the cold air in a property. This means that a lot of heat will travel up to loft spaces or be lost through cracks and holes in the property’s walls, doors and windows. An unsealed, unused chimney can also cause a large amount of heat to be lost from your house through the convection process.
How to protect against heat loss in the home?
Insulation is the best way of preventing heat from being lost from a property. There are many ways in which a home can be insulated to ensure as little heat as possible escapes.
Below is a selection of things that you can do to improve the insulation of a property. Some are small things you can do yourself, and for others, you might need the help of a professional:
- Use curtains, blinds, carpets and wallpaper to add an extra layer of insulation to a room.
- Block or seal holes or cracks in walls, roofs, doors, windows and floors.
- Install double glazing or add an additional layer of protection to the windows (such as plastic film – known as secondary glazing).
- Place reflective foil behind radiators to prevent heat escaping through the walls behind them.
- Lag hot water pipes using foam tubing, cut to size to prevent heat from escaping.
- Install loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and underfloor insulation.
If your loft is easy to access and has no damp or condensation problems, it should be easy to insulate. It is possible to do it yourself.
Even if your loft is needed for storage or converted for a room, there are ways you can insulate to reduce heat loss.
A cavity wall is made up of two walls with a gap in between, known as the cavity; the outer leaf is usually made of brick and the inner layer of brick or concrete block.
Solid walls can be insulated – either from the inside or the outside. Solid wall insulation is more expensive than insulating a standard cavity wall, but the savings on your heating bills will be bigger too.
- Block unused chimneys
- Insulate cold bridges
When you are making changes within your home, whether small or bigger, it is important to take steps to ensure the work is high quality. You can use the Competent Person Scheme helps to be confident in the standard of the work.
Guidance developed by local SHINE partners
This website has been developed by the East Sussex Energy Partnership, funded by East Sussex County Council and is managed by Hastings Borough Council © 2020