How Energy-Efficient Homes Lower your Bills?
Energy-efficient homes kill the proverbial two birds with one stone. Instead of having winter-warmth at the expense of our electricity or gas bill, we can have winter warmth for less! It is said that 15 per cent of the UK’s planet-warming gases come from heating homes and 30 per cent of that heat escapes through the walls.
Home insulation is one of the best ways to reach the noble goal of retaining the warm air inside of our homes. Let’s explore how.
Consider Energy-efficient Windows and Doors
The beauty of double and triple glazing on windows and doors is that not only do they keep house warmth from escaping, but they greatly reduce outside noise, which is ideal if you live on a busy street, nearby an airport or a train station. Although glazing is considered one of the most expensive items in your renovation budget, it does plenty to increase the value of your property should you ever wish to sell.
Furthermore, if you are replacing old windows and doors for new A-rated glazing consider also alterations to the aperture of the openings bringing the wow factor to your interior, making the rooms extra airy and bright, and framing the views surrounding your home.
A or A+ rated glazing systems as well as new generation external doors like those produced by Solidor, Origin or Urban Front greatly reduce draughts, which account for some 15 per cent of heat loss in our households. Hardly energy-efficient!
Make Your House Draught Free
Containing the warmth, which we generate in our homes without letting it out through the floorboards or chimney stacks is another area of home improvement that doesn’t cost much but makes a huge difference. And it is as simple as concealing gaps and crevices of the structure making sure cold air does not penetrate the structure as well as ensuring warmth does not escape.
With so many chimneys no longer in use, draught-proofing makes a lot of sense as overall, more heat escapes through the flue than we realise.
Draught-proofing can be retractable though, in case you wish to retain the ability to light a fire.
For further guidance and variety of available draught-proofing solutions consult your chimney sweep or local stove installers. It is worth the effort!
Energy-efficiency for Roofs and Lofts
Whatever it may cost you to organise professionals to cut and fit insulation between and over/under the roof rafters, it will pay for itself in no time. You may also qualify to grants or tax reliefs when upgrading your house thermal performance.
Thermal insulation will last decades and can resolve issues like damp or condensation. But please use professional installers to make sure the quality and standards are achieved.
You can choose from a variety of products that are either sprayed foams or rigid boards, quilts and loft blankets. These can be produced out of natural and breathable material like mineral or sheep wools and shredded cardboard as well as very efficient but less natural polystyrenes. Whatever your budget the options are broad.
Don’t forget about Hatches, Pipework, Extractor Fan Outlets & Wall Cracks
Take a close look at other possible heat escape points. For example, strips of insulation work well around loft hatches.
If wall or ceiling extractor fans are no longer in use, then it would be important to remove extraction kit and block up the holes thermally insulating and sealing from outside and inside to avoid cold bridging.
Gaps around pipework can be filled with silicone fillers. Larger gaps can be treated with expanding foam that will swell to fill in the cavities. Small wall cracks can be closed with hard-setting filings or cement. Insulate ceiling-to-wall joists similarly and around all wall and ceiling fittings.
So, having insulated and air-tight our homes as best we can, it’s time to choose energy-efficient heating and there is a variety of systems and selection of certified installers to choose from.
For example, heat pumps are an eco-friendly source of energy that reduce global carbon emission by up to 60 per cent. Other benefits; heat pump-based heating systems lower running costs, are durable with their 50-year life span, minimum maintenance and are also a source of cooling in the summer months. (No more sweaty evenings, flying papers and buzzing fans!)
Furthermore, heat pumps paired with smart technology will bring consistent savings to your household as the smart building management systems (BMSs) self-regulate according to real-time weather conditions sensing local weather and optimising thermal performance of the heating system. The programmers can be accessed remotely or set up in advance to have your home at the right temperature when you arrive reducing heat losses during your absence.
So, let this winter find us warm and cosy in well-insulated, draught-proofed and smart managed homes. Happy New Year!