Sunday, 14 March 2010

Guide to greening your home

Greening your home can save you energy and money as well as making it healthier and lowering its carbon footprint


Insulation and glazing

Around half of the heat loss in a typical home is through the walls and loft so it's worth checking whether yours are insulated. Adopting the following measures can significantly reduce your energy bills:

* Cavity wall insulation
* Solid wall insulation
* Floor insulation
* Loft Insulation
* Draught proofing around doors and window frames
* Hot water tank and pipe insulation
* Double glazing for windows

For more details including cost, payback and savings see the Energy Saving Trust's guide to home insulation and glazing.

For information about where to start and what materials to use click here.

Find out about the grants and offers available to help you to make energy saving improvements to your home here.

Heating and hot water

Fitting an A-rated high efficiency condensing boiler with the correct heating controls can make a big difference to your heating bills over time. The current lifespan of a boiler is around 15 years. If your home has a G-rated or worse boiler you can register for the boiler scrappage scheme and receive a £400 cashback voucher towards the cost of upgrading to an A-rated boiler.

If you have a programmer or timer, set it so that the heating only comes on when needed. Just turning your thermostat down by 1C could save you around £55 a year.

Home appliances, home entertainment and electronics

How efficient are your home appliances? Energy Tariff Ltd
has an energy calculator website for domestic appliances, allowing you to choose the most efficient products and tariffs.

Looking to buy a new fridge, dishwasher or TV? Compare and buy products here that can help you stop wasting energy and money at home.

Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics guide ranks the 18 biggest manufacturers of computers, mobile phones, TVs and games consoles according to their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change.

Energy labels

The EU energy label rates products from A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient). For refrigeration the label goes up to A++.

Alternatively look for the Energy Saving Recommended label, a quick and easy way to identify the most energy efficient products. It includes products in categories where there isn't a statutory EU energy label such as glazing, televisions and boilers.

Green electricity

Most energy suppliers offer 'green' electricity tariffs that seek to support renewable energy. Look carefully at what suppliers are offering - few actually produce more renewable energy that they are required to be the legally-enforced Renewables Obligation. This comparison site is a good place to start.

Smart Meters

Knowing how much energy (and money) you are using at any given time is easier with a Smart Meter. Over the next 11 years every household in Britain will receive Smart Meters, one for gas and one for electricity. You'll be able to track your energy usage over set periods of time, from a day, up to a full year.

Laura Sevier
full article

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