Green Deal Report – More than just insulating your loft

    sustainable living   

by Tim Willmott : Be the first to leave a comment

It is true that wall and loft insulation are very important in terms of energy savings. Getting your loft insulated can save you hundreds of pounds every year. But a Green Deal report does much more than just recommending insulation measures; it provides 1 to 1 tailored advice on where you as a household can save energy and of course, save money!

The little behavioural things are so often overlooked, but they really do add up. Here are some of the typical pieces of advice we offer at an assessment.

Lighting and Appliances

  • So who leaves their TV on standby? Your games console? laptop? Maybe your stereo and microwave as well? You are using lots of energy right there. If you are having trouble remembering it all, there are gadgets out there that track movements in a room and as soon as they notice you have left, all appliances connected get turned off.
  • LED lights are one of our favourites! Switching your home from incandescent bulbs to low energy lighting can save you £50-100 a year. But be careful – halogen bulbs are not very efficient, always go for LED. They even come in dimmable, so there are no excuses!

Doors and Windows

  • Draught proofing, those little strips of fur along the seal of your doors and windows. They make a much bigger difference than you think – in fact they usually pay for themselves within a year or two. How often as an assessor we see old, worn strips that have long since become ineffective at stopping draughts. Check yours and make sure you have some. Brushes underneath the door are also a great way to stop draughts.
  • Close your curtains at night. It is amazing how much of a difference this makes. Some people ask me if it is worth knocking out their 10 year old double glazing and replacing it with triple, when they don’t do simple things like this. It’s a lot cheaper!

The Kitchen

  • So you are leaving some rice on the hob to cook while you watch TV – put a lid on it! Lots of energy is wasted this way – your food will cook more quickly, or you can set the heat a little lower once the lid is on.
  • Don’t fill your kettle to the brim for one cup of tea. It takes longer to boil and wastes energy. Just heat what you need.
  • Doing your washing or putting on the dishwasher? Make sure you have a full load. It takes the same amount of energy however much you have in there, so make sure it is full. If you only have a half load – make sure you use the half load option on the machine.
  • Drying your clothes? Don’t use the tumble dryer unless you really have to. If you have a clothes line and it’s a dry day, stick your washing on the line.

Water Use

  • All the more important if you are on a water meter, there are lots of ways to save water in the home. Taking showers instead of baths, fixing leaky taps, watering the garden with a watering can.
  • Saving hot water is even more important. Remember to use your timer to heat your water only when you need it (if you have a hot water cylinder) and to ensure you have your cylinder thermostat set correctly. Most cylinders nowadays have them and making sure you don’t overheat your water is a great way to save money.

So those are just a few tips that could save you hundreds of pounds each year, and every household can do it. But of course, these things can only get you so far. Installing insulation and better heating systems etc. are also worthwhile ways to improve efficiency, and as Green Deal advisors we are always on the lookout to try and recommend the best deal for you. An example of some of the ‘big winners’ are below.

Winner – Loft insulation, despite the cliché, is very much one of the biggest most rewarding measures on the Green Deal. It really can save you hundreds of pounds a year. Even if you already have some, it may be insufficient (270mm is now the standard), so get it checked out.

Winner – Wall insulation. There are so many properties with solid walls, built before cavities came along in the 1930’s. It is expensive, but long term getting solid wall insulation (and throw in some ECO help) will make a big difference to your bills. Cavity walls are obviously more efficient than solid walls, but getting them filled is also a big winner.

Winner – Heating controls. Many people underestimate how much they can save with good room thermostats, programmers and thermostatic radiator valves. If you install all the insulation and a new heating system you need heating controls to ensure that you keep the temperature of the home at the same comfort level, otherwise the home will be warmer than it was before, but you won’t be saving on your bills. They also help you better control the heating of each room, and the times you want them heated – no more ‘forgetting to turn the heating off’, or overheating the little study while the big bedroom freezes. Getting good controls pays back surprisingly quickly.

Of course, the Green Deal is also there to help you get involved with renewable energy and with the Renewable Heat Incentive kicking in soon, there has never been a better time to look at these new technologies. Solar PV, with the benefit of Feed-in-Tariffs, will now pay back in around 8 years in many cases. Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps offer another way to save energy at a time when the cost of gas and electricity is spiralling upwards.

So the Green Deal is not just about insulation – it is a real holistic approach to improving your home. You stand to gain so much from just a few hours of an assessor’s time, why not book an appointment today?

Reposted from the DECC Blog, author 
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