With the recent rise in energy bills, it makes sense why most UK households are looking for ways to make their home more energy efficient. Energy efficiency has always been a focal point of new home builders and architects, with the aim of lowering negative environmental impact as well as saving money on household bills. With the current crisis more and more homeowners are seeing the importance of making their homes as energy efficient as possible and future-proofing against any further impact energy prices may have on their electricity and gas bills.
Why have my energy bills increased?
So where has this sudden increase come from? Wholesale fuel and gas prices have risen dramatically since October 2021, with energy providers passing on the cost to the consumer in order to maintain profit margins. Gas prices have hit a record high and are predicted to rise even more. According to energy regulator Ofgem, the average household will see an increase of £800 to their annual energy bill, although this amount will likely turn out to be even higher (BBC, 2022).
So, how do I make my home more energy efficient?
Ideally, your property is already built with maximum energy efficiency in mind, but with so many properties in the UK being built at a time when this was not a major concern, we have no choice but to adapt the best we can today.
There are the ‘solutions’ we’ve all heard before, such as ‘wrapping up and putting on an extra jumper’, but these are short-term fixes which do not address the issue of energy efficiency. Rather, they depend on your lack of comfort and sacrifice to minimise usage – so we’ll be skipping these.
Instead, we’ll be focusing on improvements you can make to your home, either as a low-effort immediate fix or solutions requiring some work to be done. Remember, there is no telling when or if things will return to normal and so even projects requiring some investment now will help you to save considerable amounts of money on your energy bills in the future.
Draught-proof your home
Let’s start with one of the simplest solutions on this list: preventing cold air from getting in and warm air from getting out! You’d be surprised just by how much draughts can cool your home in the winter. Luckily, counteracting this effect is pretty straightforward and the equipment needed is widely available online and in most DIY shops.
The biggest culprits when it comes to draughts are windows, doors, air vents, chimneys, floorboards and loft hatches – so be sure to check these first. You can do this by looking for any obvious gaps, listening for rattles and whistling wind, or using your hand to feel around for streams of cold air entering through these gaps.
Now, this alone won’t be enough to make a significant impact on your energy bill, but it’s a good start. Draught-proofing your home is quick, easy and should be the first thing on your list.
Find out if you’re eligible to receive help with your energy bills
Fortunately, you may find you’re not totally alone when it comes to coughing up the extra money for your household energy bills this year. Energy schemes and grants are available to help those struggling to pay their bills and household that qualify on the basis of being eco-friendly and reducing their carbon footprint. It’s definitely worth checking if you qualify for any of these as doing so will cost you nothing, but may help you save hundreds of pounds!
A full list of these can be found here. This technically isn’t making your home more energy efficient, but it will still help you save heaps of money and is worth mentioning given the current crisis.
Upgrade your boiler to a low-carbon model
This one ties in with the point made above, which is that money-saving schemes and grants are available to households making an effort to be more eco-friendly, and one way of doing so is switching out your old gas or oil-heating boiler for a new low-carbon model.
This may not be the cheapest thing to do, especially with the fuel crisis driving up household energy bills in the first place, but if you can afford the upgrade it’s definitely something worth considering. Boiler technology has come a long way in the past couple of decades and upgrading to the new low-carbon variety will be something you will need to do sooner or later regardless, not to mention the fact that a more energy-efficient boiler will consume less energy over time. This means you save money by making your home more energy efficient!
Install a smart thermostat
This one is perfect for anyone living in a big home. The magic of a smart thermostat comes from the ability to completely control the output of your central heating system. Smart thermostats allow you to operate your heating remotely from the convenience of your mobile phone or tablet, whether at home or away. This means you can choose which rooms you want to heat and to what temperature as well as being able to make use of other cool features such as your smart thermostat learning your routine or changing temperature levels according to the weather to fully automate the system!
Add insulation to your home
Insulating your home is definitely not a quick and easy fix, but it is one of the best ways to make your home more energy efficient and save money on your heating bill. Similar to draught-proofing your home, this will help prevent any warmth from escaping. Chances are, some areas of your home are already insulated, however, it is worth having a specialist take a look and advise where improvements can be made – adding a few millimetres to your insulation may be enough in most cases. Fully insulating your walls, floor and loft/roof is generally the best way to go and could save you upwards of £300 per year.