With the planned rises in energy prices affecting milliions of homes around the country and news that this is unlikley to change any time soon, one of the strongest ways we can protect ourselves is by making our homes more energy effieicent. Did you know that the average EPC rating (the review of a property's energy efficiency) in the UK is D? This review ranges from A (best) to G (worst), so for the majority of homes around the UK energy efficiency is something we can channel our efforts in to.
1. Install a smart meter. Our boilers and home heating systems are one of the biggest ways we consume energy as homeowners or renters. These ingenious devices can be programmed to only come on at certain times of the day and make you more aware of the energy you are using day to day. They can also save you some money too.
2. Insulate your home properly. A well-insulated home holds in heat properly, meaning that it’ll take less energy to keep reheating your living space when you really need to. Check around doors, windows and other openings for draughts and gaps. Rolls of foam insulation are cheap and three rolls of 8in deep foam should be enough to give most homes an important layer of protection. Mineral wool (such as Rockwool or Rocksil), glass fibre and recycled paper products all work well, too. Don't forget the loft hatch, letter box and keyholes.
3. Install solar panels or other energy efficient measures in your home. With rising energy prices an investment in solar panels seems more attractive as time continues. Free energy, often more than is needed by your own home, sounds more important than ever. In the Chancellor budget, released yesterday, Rushi Sunak revealed “Homeowners who have solar panels, heat pumps and insulation installed will no longer have to pay 5% vat - they will pay zero,”. This means a typical family having rooftop solar panels installed will save more than £1,000 in total on installation, and then £300 annually on their energy bills. The changes will take effect from April 2022. If you are fortunate enough to be able to install any of these devies then now if a very strong time to do so.
4. Energy Efficient lighting. Although lighting may seem a minor part of your home's energy use, it is part of the EPC assessment. Swapping old light bulbs for low-energy LEDs can even improve your EPC rating. LED bulbs are more expensive to buy, but they use around 90% less energy and can last up to fifteen times as long.
5. Turn off appliances.This one can feel like a bit of a chore however it can save the average family £30 a year on their energy bills so is definitely worth doing.
Whatever happens over the next few months, there is information and resource out there to help you through this energy crisis. Here are some starting points below -