Over the past few months, you can’t have missed the headlines about the rising cost of energy bills. Due to the war in Ukraine, and the international sanctions on Russia, the price of gas has spiked and so the energy cap for UK households is being increased.
Ofgem have already announced that the energy price cap will increase to £3,549 in October and could then climb beyond £5,000 in January 2022. These increases are some of the highest on record and could really affect your household finances.
If you want to reduce your bills and save the planet at the same time, read on to find out five useful ways to make your home more energy-efficient this autumn.
1. Turn your appliances off standby
If you walk around your house right now, you’ll probably find more than one appliance that’s turned off but still on standby mode. While you might not think much of this, they could be using energy unnecessarily.
Unless they’re turned off at the wall, these devices still draw electricity, costing you money and increasing your carbon footprint.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average UK household spends around £55 each year to power appliances left on standby mode, while creating 45kg of carbon dioxide emissions. This usage is sometimes known as “vampire power” but thankfully, it’s easily solved.
If you want to make your home more energy-efficient, a good start is to make sure you turn off your appliances at the wall when you’ve finished using them. Doing so not only reduces your carbon footprint but can also shave a few pounds off your bills too.
2. Insulate your home
Due to the rising price of gas, your heating bill could increase considerably when the energy cap rises in October. That’s why it’s important to ensure your home is properly insulated before the temperature starts to fall.
Not only does this make your house much more comfortable for you, but it can also save you money as you’ll burn less gas or electricity to stay warm. Typically, the three best areas to insulate are:
Since heat rises, it’s important to properly insulate your loft and roof cavities to minimise the amount of warm air that can escape.
According to research by Northern Energy, around one-third of heat loss in homes is due to poor wall insulation. This can be especially important if you live in a fully or semi-detached home, as you have more surfaces for the warmth to escape through.
Surprisingly, a significant amount of heat is lost through your ground floor, which is why insulating it can make your home much more energy-efficient.
3. Consider installing solar panels
In the past few years, solar panels have become increasingly popular as a way to make homes more energy-efficient. Not only can they reduce your utility bills, but they could even earn you money by feeding electricity back into the national grid.
According to Money Saving Expert, installing solar panels could save you up to £605 a year, depending on your household usage. Not only is this a healthy saving, but you’ll also be doing your bit for the planet by reducing your carbon footprint.
Of course, it’s important to bear in mind that there will usually be an upfront installation cost, which means that it could be several years before you break even.
4. Double glaze your windows to reduce heat loss
Double glazing can be a great way to make your home more energy-efficient as it reduces the amount of heat you lose through your windows. It also has the added benefit of making your home quieter!
There are several different options to consider, such as double, triple, and secondary glazing, which each have their own benefits and drawbacks.
While it’s not always possible to replace windows in every home, such as if you live in a listed building, it can be a great way to reduce your heating bills.
5. Use energy-efficient lightbulbs
Another great and easy way to make your home more energy-efficient is to replace older lightbulbs with more modern LED ones.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, lighting makes up around 11% of average household electricity usage. That’s why switching to a more efficient bulb can make a significant difference over time, saving you money and reducing your carbon emissions by up to 40kg each year.
While the upfront cost of LED bulbs is often higher than standard ones, they use up to 90% less energy, so can pay for themselves in a short amount of time.