What type of energy efficiency advice do you need?

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Keeping warm

Tips and tricks to keep the heat in

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Home upgrades

Insulation and window glazing options

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Lighting

Helping you choose the right lighting

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Renewable

Powering your own home with renewable energy







What upgrades can I do?

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Draught proofing

windows and doors can save around
£25 to £35 per year.

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Control your heating

efficiently and you could save around
£80 to £165 per year.

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Review your boiler

Replacing a G-rated boiler with a new A-rated boiler could save you up to £325 per year.

How can I do it?

Simple options

Letter boxes

Letterbox covers in the form of flaps or brushes

Unused chimney pots

Caps over chimney pots or things to prevent draughts, e.g. chimney balloons or even plastic bags stuffed with other plastic bags. Remember to remove and let the air circulate in summer

Around pipes rising into loft space above airing cupboards

Silicone mastic, wall filler, expanding foam.

Thick curtains

Fitting curtains made with heavy material can reduce heat loss through a window at night

Draught excluders

If there is a gap at the bottom of a door between a heated room and an unheated room you could block it with a 'sausage-shaped’ draught excluder – you can make one stuffed with used plastic bags or bits of spare material.

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DIY options

Around windows

Foam, metal or plastic draught strips. If sliding sash windows - brush seals on sash edges.
Alternatively, try draught - stripping internal doors.

Outside doors

Brush or hinged-flap draught excluders, fitted along the bottom of the doors.

Large gaps in the building

Expanding polyurethane foam or additional block work.

Redundant extractor fan outlets

These should be blocked up and may need to be filled with additional block work.

Cracks in walls

Cement or a hard-setting decorators’ wall filler.

Floorboards and skirting boards

Flexible fillers, clear or brown silicone mastic, decorators’ caulk or other mastic type products.

Loft hatches and doors

Strips of draught excluding material, fitted around the edges of the frame, and don’t forget to insulate the hatch itself.

Via downlighters in bedroom ceilings

Use a wall filler to fill any gaps around the light fitting and the ceiling.

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Simple options

Thermostat

Keep your room thermostat set between 18°C and 21°C.

Timer

Use your timer/ programmer to only heat your home at times when you need it.

Radiator valves

Use thermostatic radiator valves to only heat the rooms in your home that you are using.

Myth busters

Q. Should I turn up the thermostat to keep warm when it’s cold outside?

A. No, the purpose of the thermostat is to maintain the desired temperature, whatever the weather.

Q: If I turn up the room thermostat will it heat the room more quickly?

A: No, the room thermostat just controls the temperature at which the heating turns off . Turning the thermostat up won’t change how quickly your home warms up.

Q. Is leaving the heating on low constantly more efficient than turning it on and off?

No, this will mean your home will be heated when you are not there and it may be too cold when you are there. It is better to use a programmer/timer to ensure the heating is on when you are home and off when you are not.

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Check your boiler type

Since 2005, condensing boilers have more commonly been installed. These are more efficient because they recover more heat from the gas (or oil or liquefied petroleum gas), and so use less fuel.

If the following points are true then you have a condensing boiler:

  • The flue is made of plastic (flue is the thick pipe that takes the exhaust gas from your boiler through the wall or roof)
  • The boiler has a plastic pipe coming out of the bottom, through the wall and into a drain

Choose the right one for you

Regular boiler vs Combi boiler

Regular boiler

Heats your hot water and the water is then stored in a hot water cylinder

Advantages:

  • Provide highest flow rates of hot water
  • When programmed, hot water is available immediately when the tap is turned on
  • Compatible with solar water heating

Combi boiler

Gives you instant hot water without the need for a hot water cylinder

Advantages:

  • Can be quicker and cheaper to install
  • Take up less space – no need for separate hot water tank
  • Will not run out of hot water

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What upgrades can I do?

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Double glazing

18% of heat loss occurs through windows

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Loft insulation

25% of the heat in your home could be escaping.

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Wall insulation

Around 33% of all heat in an un-insulated home is lost through the walls.

More information

How much glazing could save you

By installing double glazing in an entirely single-glazed house you could save the following each year for a typical gas heated home:

Energy rating Detached Semi-detached Mid-terrace Bungalow Mid-floor flat
A rated £120-155 £80-110 £65-85 £55-75 £40-55
B rated £110-140 £75-100 £60-80 £50-70 £35-55
C rated £105-135 £75-95 £60-75 £50-65 £35-50

Types of loft insulation

1. Quilts

Mineral wool and natural wool are the most straightforward and common materials used to insulate accessible lofts.

2. Blown insulation

Mineral wool or cellulose can be used both for lofts with normal and with difficult access. In a normal loft the areas to be insulated must be sectioned off to prevent the insulation blowing everywhere.

3. Insulation boards

Expanded/extruded polystyrene (EPS/ EXPS) and foam products (PUR/PIR) can be used for flat roofs and lofts which require a hard surface for storage space.

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Can I do it myself?

Blown insulation should only be installed by professionals, but if you’re a dab hand at DIY and have a standard loft with no issues, you can fit insulation quilts and boards yourself. Insulating your loft needs to be done to a high standard though, so get that DIY manual out. And remember to wear protective clothing, gloves and a mask.

Don’t forget to insulate your pipes, water tank and loft hatch too. Insulating your loft will keep your house warmer but make the roof space above colder. Without their own insulation, pipes and tanks could freeze and an uninsulated loft hatch could let cold draughts into your house.

Types of wall insulation

1. Cavity wall insulation

An installer drills small holes at around 1m intervals into the outside walls of your house. The insulation is then blown into the cavity by the installer.
When all the insulation is in, the installer fills the holes in the brickwork, ideally matching your existing mortar.

Cavity wall insulation costs around £480 for a semi-detached 3 bedroom house and could save £155 a year.

2. External solid wall insulation

External wall insulation doesn’t cause any disruption inside your house, and it can actually increase the life of the property because it protects brickwork.
You might need planning permission, as it will change the appearance of your home.

External solid wall insulation could cost between £8,000 and £22,000. In a semi- detached 3 bedroom house this could save £260 a year.

3. Internal solid wall insulation

Internal wall insulation can be carried out one room at a time. You will need to remove skirting boards and electrical fittings and then reattach them to the new wall surface. It will slightly reduce the size of your rooms (by an average of 7.5cm per insulated wall).

Internal solid wall insulation could cost between £4,000 and £13,000. In a semi- detached 3 bedroom house, you could save £260 a year.

Why buy efficient lighting?

Lighting accounts for 14% of a typical household’s electricity bill.

Replacing halogen down lighters with LED alternatives will typically save around £30 per year.

How to choose the right lighting

Identify the correct fitting

Bayonet

B15

ER27

E14

GU10

MR16

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Check the colour rating

The colour temperature tells you how ‘warm’ (yellow) or ‘cool’ (blue) the light looks. ‘Warm’ looking bulbs normally have a rating around 2700k. Bulbs with a rating around 4000-6000k will look colder.

Check the brightness

The brightness of LED/CFL bulbs is measured in lumens. This table shows the lumen rating compared with the wattage of traditional bulbs:

Traditional bulb LED/CFL bulb
15 watt 140 lumen
25 watt 250 lumen
40 watt 470 lumen
60 watt 800 lumen
75 watt 1,050 lumen
100 watt 1,520 lumen

Myth Busters

Q. Does turning lights off and on use more energy than keeping them on?

A. No, it is true that compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) use more power when they are starting up, but this only lasts for about one tenth of a second. You will save more energy by turning the light off even if it is only off for a few seconds.

Q. Do energy saving light bulbs take ages to fully light up?

A. Some CFL type bulbs take a short while to warm up to full brightness but the technology has improved and most bulbs purchased today warm up much more quickly than those purchased a few years ago. LED lights reach full brightness immediately.

Q. Will energy saving light bulbs work with dimmer switches?

A. Most LED lighting works with dimmer switches and some CFL bulbs do too – just check the box.

Technology type

Solar panels

Virtually no running costs, solar panels provide renewable energy generated by absorbing sun rays from panels attached to your roof

Heat pumps

Heat pumps take low temperature heat from the surrounding area and upgrade it to higher temperature heat that can be used to provide space and water heating for a home.

Biomass systems

Also called wood-fuelled heating systems, burn wood pellets, chips or logs to provide low carbon central heating via boilers or stoves.

More information

Electricity

Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV)

Solar PV modules convert sunlight into electricity for use in the home or to export to the National Grid. It’s an easy system to install, which is suitable for any house with an unshaded roof (or similar space) facing somewhere between south east and south west.

Installation cost: £5,000 to £7,000

Hot water

Solar thermal

Solar thermal panels collect heat directly from the sun and use it to meet a proportion of your hot water requirements. Solar thermal systems can usually be integrated into your existing hot water system. System choices and installation times depend on your existing heating system, the amount of storage space you have and the orientation of your roof. You could also heat water with the electricity produced by Solar PV panels using an immersion heater.

Installation cost: £3,000 to £7,000

Cost

Air-source heat pump
£7,000 to £11,000

Ground-source heat pump
£13,000 to £20,000

Maintenance

An annual service is recommended.

Energy availability

Energy provided all year round but most efficient when used with a low temperature heating system such as under-floor heating.

Running cost

Running costs will vary depending on a number of factors including the size of your home, how well insulated it is and what room temperatures you are aiming to achieve.

Cost

Pellet Boiler
£9,000 to £21,000

Maintenance

Ash removal, sweeping the flue.

Energy availability

Wood available throughout the year, large fuel store will help ensure availability.

Running cost

Fuel can be cheaper than gas and running costs are often lower than other off-grid fuels.

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Estimated savings are based on a family of 4 sharing a 3 bedroom semi-detached home (Energy Saving Trust, April 2016).
For expert and impartial free advice on reducing your fuel bills, saving energy and making your home more comfortable visit energysavingtrust.org.uk or call: England and Wales - The Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 (charged as a national rate call). Scotland - Scottish Government's Home Energy hotline on 0808 808 2282 (calls are free).

Information supplied by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
For further information visit the official gov.uk page.