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If you’re a Moral Fibres regular, you’ll be more than familiar with the huge number of small changes you can make to your everyday routine to achieve a greener lifestyle. The food you eat, your beauty routine, daily travel plans – all personal habits that can be tweaked to make a real improvement over time.
But, in addition to the efforts you’re making on a personal level, have you considered the improvements you could make to the bricks and mortar around you?
There are several changes you could make to your home that will save energy, reduce your carbon footprint and lower your energy costs. And, as if that isn’t enough motivation, you only need to make these changes once!
Replace Your Windows With Double Glazing
If your home has single glazed windows there is a high likelihood that you’re losing heat through them. This means you’re using your heating more, spending more money on fuel and, crucially, contributing unnecessary carbon to the atmosphere.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, by installing A+ efficiency rated double glazing windows in a completely single-glazed house you could save up to £110 on your annual energy bill. Obviously this is dependent on the size of your home and the current efficiency of your windows, but it’s still an encouraging fact!
The best windows will use low emissivity (Low-E) glass which has a coating of metal oxide which lets in light and heat but prevents heat from getting out. Gases such as argon, xenon or krypton inserted in the gap between the sheets of glass will also improve the efficiency of the windows.
So what can you expect to pay for your new double glazing windows? Well, for a 3 bedroom house with uPVC frames you can expect to pay between £3,000 – £5,000 for supply and fit. For a more detailed look at window replacement costs, check out this window price guide online.
Get a New Condensing Boiler
If your boiler is over 10 years old it is well worth considering upgrading to new condensing model. In some cases old, non-condensing boilers operate at around 50% efficiency. This means that for every £1 you spend on heating your home, 50p of it is wasted on energy that doesn’t actually heat your home and does little more than add to your carbon footprint. And, if that isn’t concerning enough, the likelihood of your boiler leaking carbon monoxide into your home greatly increases as your boiler ages.
Modern, A rated condensing boilers can achieve efficiency levels of 90%, or even higher in some cases. This is excellent news for your wallet, your safety and the environment.
Paying upfront for a new boiler to be installed in your home can be out of reach, however there are plenty of boiler financing options available now that allows you to spread the cost over low monthly payments.
Install a Smart Thermostat
It’s highly likely you will have heard the term ‘smart thermostat’ and the whizzy apps that enable you to control your heating while you’re on the bus, but how exactly do they help you to save energy?
Smart thermostats enable you not only to automate your heating, which is of course convenient, but also to track your energy usage. This enables you to see when your energy levels are at their highest and adjust your habits accordingly. Some systems will also enable you to heat specific ‘zones’ in your home or even respond to GPS or motion detectors, so you only heat the areas you need to.
Insulate Your Home
Improving your home’s insulation is a great way to keep things cosy and more energy efficient. The amount of heat lost through an improperly insulated home is astonishing; it can be as much as 25% lost through the roof and as much as 33% through the walls. Insulation can be installed in lofts, cavity walls and even solid walls either internally or externally.
Revamp Your Lighting
Replacing your electric lighting with low energy LEDs is a simple but effective way to reduce our electricity usage.
Electricity is one of the most expensive commodities we face. To generate electricity the power stations are burning fuels like coal and gas, releasing carbon. The less electricity we use, the less they burn. It’s also possible to install motion detectors in your home which will automatically turn lights on or off based on movement. That means no more coming home realising the landing light has been on all day and, of course, cheaper energy bills.
There’s no denying that some of these home improvements, like installing a new boiler or insulation, can be pricey jobs. However, don’t assume they’re not possible before doing some research and comparing quotes from multiple companies.
What you may not know is that there are government grants available to support those on low incomes who wish to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. These grants are funded by the biggest energy providers and can be used to replace your boiler or improve your home’s insulation, if you meet certain eligibility criteria.