With the rising cost of living there's much talk about the cost of fuel and if we will be able to meet the cost of our energy bills this winter. It's difficult to understand why the politicians don't take this opportunity to put in place measures which reduce the cost of bills by cutting the energy use of our homes as well as reducing carbon to meet the Climate Emergency.
So what are the practical steps we can all do to reduce the impact of our homes on the planet and cut our bills? Traditional houses spend over 80% of their energy bills on heating and hot water, so there are some quick wins:- Know where your money is going by installing a smart meter so you can see the effect of turning on appliances; Some energy companies have economy tariffs with cheaper electricity overnight for things such as washing machines; Turn down your thermostat and radiator temperatures on the boiler; use thermostatic radiator valves/ timers to set different temperatures around the house; showers not baths.
More expensive improvements such as insulating the loft better, at 25% of the heat loss goes out through the roof so they bring quick pay backs; reducing draughts will save another 15%. Open chimneys can be closed and letter boxes can be draft excluded along with doors.
Then there are some more major interventions which will recoup their costs over a several years, but bring improved comfort almost immediately. For example: insulating your walls (internally or externally) can save 35% of your energy and ground floor insulation will save another 15%. Good quality double glazing can save 74% over poor quality single glazing, with triple glazed windows giving you a further 5%.
However whatever you do, you also need to consider how your house is ventilated, blocking up all the draughts, when you insulate could potentially result in untended condensation and cold spots or even overheating. It's a complex business and needs to be thought through with someone who understands the issues properly. It makes sense to consider these measures at the same time as you are getting more major work done on your house which is something an architect should be able to help you with.