Most of us know about many of the smaller ways we can reduce the energy we use around the house and thereby reduce how much money we spend on it. We know that by changing our light bulbs to low energy ones we’ll reduce the power we use and save money. We know that turning things off instead of leaving them on standby will help, as will lowering the thermostat a degree or two, and putting up thicker curtains.
So if you’ve done these things, and are looking for the next step, what’s open to you? How else can you reduce the energy you use, and save more money?
The first thing you can look at is insulating your home. Your windows, doors and roof are primary areas for heat loss, and as heating is one of the most significant energy costs we all have, this is a great place to look for energy and monetary savings. Walls loose heat as well, so don’t forget them.
Lagging your loft with a good thick layer of insulation will reduce the heat lost through the roof. It’s not a hugely expensive job and if you’re on benefits you may be able to get help with the cost of this.
Cavity wall insulation will reduce the heat lost through walls, and as with lagging the loft, those people on benefits may be able to get help with the cost.
Fitting uPVC windows or even triple glazing will help with heat loss through windows – each layer of glass, and the air gap between each layer of glass acts as an extra barrier between your home and the outside world, reducing the heat loss, and also cutting down on noise that you’d otherwise hear too.
Of course once you’ve reduced the amount of energy you use as much as possible, the next step is to look at producing some of your own energy so that you need to buy less. A very good way of doing this is to install solar panels on your home. These can be fitted quite easily to most homes, and unless you live in a conservation area, or a listed building you’re unlikely to need planning permission.
By installing solar power, you can generate your own electricity and will need to buy less from the national grid meaning that your overall costs for energy will be much lower each year.
An additional benefit to installing solar at the moment, is that as long as the panels you have installed, and the supplier you use are registered as suitable, you can register with the government to receive FiT payments. FiT stands for Feed in Tariff, and it’s the government’s way of encouraging more people to install solar. Basically for every kWh of electricity you produce, even if you use it yourself, the government will give you 43.3 pence. A 3 bedroom house with a south facing roof that has a 2.4kWp system fitted could produce around 2040kWhs per year which would generate an income of £883 each year for 25 years.