Energy efficiency at home

Spotlight on home energy efficiency

Here are some tips from Energy Saving Trust about the steps you could take to help make your home more energy efficient. Read on to find out more about some of the products on offer.

Take steps to stem your heat loss

1. Use insulation to stop your heat escaping

Your walls

Around a third of all heat loss is due to uninsulated walls, and many homes built before 1990 have no wall insulation at all. With cavity walls, insulation is quick and easy, and could cost you between £400-£1,800. It can be trickier if your walls are solid, which is likely in houses built before 1920. In this case, you can have internal or external insulation fitted to your walls but it’s more expensive (and could cost around £8,500-£12,000).

Your roof or loft

Since heat rises you probably won’t be surprised to hear that you can lose a quarter of your home’s heat through an uninsulated loft. If it’s easy enough to get up there, it’s well-ventilated and you’re keen to do it yourself, you can probably insulate it yourself. It’ll cost you roughly £400-£900. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay more for a professional to install it for you.

Your floors

Cold feet? Your uninsulated ground floor could be to blame (as a general rule, it’s only the ground floor that needs attention). Older homes usually have suspended timber floors, and insulation can typically cost from £1,600-£2,900 depending on size. If your home is new, it probably has a solid concrete floor. You can have solid insulation laid on top but it’ll cost more.

2. Defeat the draughts from windows and doors

Your windows

Old wood-framed windows are notorious for letting out heat, but ageing double glazing may not be pulling its weight either. New double or even triple glazing will go a long way towards banishing draughts, and now you can get designs to suit period properties too. A set of PVC A-rated windows for the average semi-detached house will cost around £7,500.

Your doors

New external doors tend to come with insulation and draught-proofing to help reduce heat loss. But you can upgrade your existing door with draught-proofing strips around the seals and letterbox. You can also fit a disc over the keyhole to stop even the tiniest blast of cold air getting in.

3. Other quick tips to beat heat loss

New windows and wall insulation aren’t an option for everyone. Maybe you’re renting, the cost is too high or you live in a conservation area with restrictions on what you can do. As alternatives, heavy curtains can do wonders to cut heat loss (plus cut out unwanted light and noise) while DIY draught excluders work hard to keep the chill away. You can insulate your pipes and radiators (a hot water tank jacket can cost less than £20) and fill in cracks in floorboards and skirting boards. Even a thick rug can help.

Power your home with renewable energy

Heat pumps

A heat pump transfers thermal energy from the air or ground outside to heat your radiators and water. It may sound like a simple idea but it involves remarkable technology to be a new alternative to your old gas boiler. They’re an extremely low-carbon heating option, and the Government expects that millions will need to be installed in UK homes in the next 10-15 years. Want to get ahead of the curve? Energy Saving Trust has guides on what’s involved to install an air source or ground source heat pump.

Biomass boilers

Biomass is a renewable energy source, generated by burning wood, plants and household waste. You can get a biomass stove to heat one room, or a boiler for your central heating and hot water. They’re considerably more expensive than gas boilers to install but fuel is usually more affordable. As well as being low-carbon, wood-fuelled biomass boilers could save home owners up to £1,100 a year compared to an old electric heating system.

Solar panels

You can also create your own energy, by taking advantage of the wind and sun. While you most likely won’t be able to fit a wind turbine in your back garden, you could add solar panels to your roof. Daylight’s free, so you could make a dent in your energy bills. See how much you could save.

You could also consider a solar water heating system which uses energy from the sun to warm water for storage in a hot water cylinder or thermal store. 

Did you know?

More than 80% of the homes we’ll be living in by 2050 have already been built - and the majority will require major upgrades to reach required energy efficiency standards, according to Energy Saving Trust.

With our Greener Home Reward, eligible existing Barclays residential mortgage customers can apply for up to £2,000 to help make selected home energy efficiency-related improvements, with no need to apply for additional borrowing. Subject to eligibility. T&Cs apply.

This reward helps you with the cost of home improvements such as adding solar panels, insulation, a heat pump and much more.

To find out more and register your interest, click here.

Information and estimates provided by Energy Saving Trust correct as at 27 September 2022. Movements in the price of gas and electricity since this date may have an impact on the size of Energy Saving Trust’s estimated savings. Cost estimates vary depending on where you live.

If you decide to access any of the third-party websites, you do so entirely at your own risk.

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