The more energy you use, the more energy needs to be produced by power stations, and the more pollution is created. Therefore reducing your energy use indirectly helps the environment. Conserving energy is a good way of reducing your fuel bills while helping the environment. There are many ways to increase the energy efficiency and comfort of your home, varying from the very cheap to the more expensive methods which take longer to pay for themselves. Below is a general list of changes you can make to your home to increase energy efficiency – the cheapest and easiest to fit are listed first:
When cooking, cover the pan with a lid – it takes less energy to boil the water.
Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need – don’t walk away and leave it so long that you have to re-boil it to make a cup of tea!
In winter, set your central heating to 16 – 18 degrees C (60 – 80 degrees F) – older or infirm people pay require a higher temperature of 21 degrees C (70 degrees F). Adjust the timer on your central heating and hot water tank to reflect your daily routines.
Place reflective foil behind radiators situated against outside walls. Fit wide window sills over radiators situated under windows to deflect the heat.
Fit heavy lined curtains, insulating blinds or shutters to windows. Use pelmets at the top of the frame, and fix the curtain sides to the wall to reduce heat loss
Use electric lighting only where needed. Fit energy efficient lamps instead of standard incandescent lamps.
Fit individual hot water tank and radiator thermostats. Set the hot water thermostat to produce hot, not scalding, water. Radiator thermostats can also be used to make some rooms warmer than others, for instance to make the home more stimulating, or in our case, to keep the bedroom cooler than other rooms to enable us to sleep more easily.
Work with the environment – increase the amount of sunlight entering your home (this is also known as ‘solar gain’). Cut back trees and vegetation shading your home from the winter sun. Clear clutter from sun facing windows, and draw the curtains well back.
Draughtproof doors and windows, and seal airleaks in the building, such as skirtings, floorboards and unused fireplaces.
Insulate the loft, hot and cold water tanks, and lag pipes – don’t forget to insulate the loft hatch.
Insulate the walls. Newer homes can be cavity-wall insulated, older homes with solid walls can be fitted with external or internal wall insulation.
Double or triple glaze windows. Add internal lobbies or enclosed porches to outside doors.
Add solar windows, solar walls and sunspaces. Fit solar panels to heat water.
You can also save energy by:
Using energy efficient cookers, fridges, freezers and washing machines
Not using unnecessary electric gadgets
Drying your washing outside instead of in the dryer
Hand washing dishes
Using hand tools (as opposed to power tools) as much as possible
Closing your curtains at dusk to retain heat.