I’ve recently shared with you an article on how we reduce our bills using renewable energy, but I want to share some investments in the home that can also improve your energy efficiency. Making sure you have equipment that is working effectively will mean you are not wasting energy or money. Luckily there are a lot of competitive prices nowadays for great products as well as some intuitive smart technology to help keep our energy costs down.
The below do require an investment to start, but this will be cost effective in the long run. They could even improve the value of your home and make it more desirable to buyers in the future! Plus, you may need to replace your boiler or tank anyway, in which case you should ensure you are choosing an eco-friendly replacement. Professional installers will advise you, but always do your own research too as they may be incentivised by a specific company.
Table of Contents
Upgrade your boiler
We all dread the day we have boiler problems, because boilers come with pretty hefty price tags. A new boiler is costly, but if yours is old or working inefficiently then it’s a worthwhile investment. Boiler installation from My Plumber starts at just £1650 which is actually half the price I was expecting for a brand new boiler. According to Which? The average installation price is between £3000 and £5000, so make sure you search online to get quotes and find a competitive price.
Remember, prices can vary from installers and change without prior notice. That’s why it’s important to always take note of the boiler installation cost before upgrading your boiler. If you’re interested in working out how much a new boiler may cost, check out this boiler installation cost calculator.
I asked Google how long a boiler should last and it says 15 years. That’s a pretty long time, making the boiler above only £100 per year. To keep boilers running efficiently it’s recommended to have a service every year. Choosing an energy-efficient and reliable brand will ensure you don’t waste money on wasted energy or a poor-performing product that needs costly repairs. You can also greatly reduce the carbon emissions that your home has as well, as boilers tend to count for nearly 60% of your carbon emissions.
LED bulbs are highly energy-efficient, consuming up to 80-90% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs. They boast an impressive lifespan of 25,000 to 50,000 hours or more, significantly reducing replacement and maintenance costs. While the upfront investment may be slightly higher, the long-term savings on energy bills make LED lighting a cost-effective choice. Moreover, LEDs are eco-friendly, producing lower greenhouse gas emissions and containing no hazardous materials. Their versatility, instant illumination, and minimal heat generation further enhance their appeal as a superior lighting solution for homes and businesses.
Install an eco-friendly hot water tank
You probably already know you can get eco-friendly white goods and many of us always shop for those with an A rating without fail, but did you know you can also choose an eco-friendly hot water tank? The revolutionary Mixergy tank will save time, energy and money. Conventional water tanks heat all the water in the tank, which when you think of it, is really wasteful! You might only need to use a small amount of hot water at any one time.
Mixergy has developed technology that can float the hot water on top of the cold water in the tank and heat up water 5x faster than standard tanks. This means it can only heat up the water you need to use. Plus it has smart technology that can sense and learn how much water you use each day so it will know exactly how much to heat for your own personalised use.
Link your hot water to your solar panels
So not everyone has solar panels, but they are a worthwhile investment that are worth considering. I’ve often seen schemes to have them installed for free too, the catch being you get to use the solar power generated, but you don’t get the cheques from what is sold back to the grid. Either way, if you have solar panels, then you should look into other ways you can benefit from the energy produced. We invested in an ImmerSun immersion hot water heater. This clever little bit of kit utilises the energy produced by our solar panels and feeds it into our hot water immersion tank. This means we get free hot water when the sun is shining and not just free electricity!
Installing a smart thermostat is a smart move towards optimizing heating and cooling efficiency in your home. These innovative devices go beyond traditional thermostats, as they learn your heating and cooling preferences and adjust settings automatically based on occupancy patterns and your daily routine. By gathering data on your usage habits, smart thermostats create personalized heating and cooling schedules, ensuring that you’re comfortable when you need it and conserving energy when you don’t.
One of the key features of smart thermostats is their remote control capability through smartphone apps. This allows you to manage and monitor your home’s temperature settings from anywhere, giving you the flexibility to adjust the temperature even when you’re away. For example, if you’re leaving work earlier than expected, you can remotely turn on the air conditioning or heating so that your home is at the perfect temperature when you arrive. Similarly, if you forget to adjust the thermostat before leaving for a trip, you can do it easily from your phone, avoiding unnecessary energy consumption. The ability to control your HVAC system remotely not only enhances convenience but also contributes to significant energy savings over time, making smart thermostats an intelligent and eco-friendly investment for any household.
Insulation and Sealing
Adequate insulation and proper sealing are crucial elements in creating an energy-efficient home. By ensuring your house is well-insulated and sealed, you create a thermal barrier that prevents heat from escaping during the winter and entering during the scorching summer months. Proper insulation in the walls, roof, and floors works as a buffer against external temperature fluctuations, maintaining a comfortable indoor climate year-round. This reduces the need for excessive heating or cooling, leading to substantial energy savings and lower utility bills. Additionally, effective insulation contributes to a more eco-friendly lifestyle by reducing the overall energy demand, resulting in decreased greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller environmental footprint. By investing in insulation and sealing, you create a more sustainable living space while enjoying increased comfort and cost-efficiency for the long term. As an example, those in the US, should consider bringing in an insulation contractor like iFOAM in Sandy, Utah to ensure that your insulation is installed properly and effectively.
Energy star appliances
When it comes to replacing household appliances, opting for those with the Energy Star label can significantly impact your energy consumption and utility costs. Energy Star-rated appliances, whether it be refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, or other appliances, are specifically designed to be more energy-efficient compared to their standard counterparts. They meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), ensuring that they consume less electricity without sacrificing performance.
By choosing Energy Star appliances, you can enjoy several benefits. First and foremost, these appliances are designed to operate efficiently, reducing the amount of energy they use during operation. This translates into tangible savings on your electricity bills over time. The energy efficiency of these appliances not only lowers your monthly utility expenses but also contributes to a greener environment by reducing the demand for electricity and consequently lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy Star appliances undergo rigorous testing to ensure they meet or exceed the efficiency standards, providing consumers with confidence in their performance and durability. Additionally, some states or utility companies offer incentives or rebates to encourage the purchase of energy-efficient appliances, further offsetting the initial cost and making these appliances even more financially appealing.
From refrigerators that keep your food fresh while using less energy to washing machines that clean clothes effectively with reduced water and electricity usage, Energy Star appliances make a noticeable difference in your household’s energy consumption. When considering a new appliance, look for the Energy Star label to make a smart, eco-conscious choice that not only saves you money but also contributes to a more sustainable future.
Conducting a comprehensive home energy audit is a proactive and insightful approach to uncovering opportunities for improving energy efficiency. This thorough assessment involves a detailed evaluation of your home’s energy consumption patterns, insulation, heating and cooling systems, lighting, and appliances. The primary goal is to identify areas where energy is being wasted or lost and to pinpoint potential upgrades that can lead to significant energy savings.
During an energy audit, a trained professional or even a DIY enthusiast will inspect various aspects of your home, such as windows and doors, to check for air leaks and inadequate insulation. Thermal imaging cameras may be used to visualize temperature differences, revealing hidden sources of energy loss like poorly insulated walls or ceilings. The assessment may also include an examination of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, looking for inefficiencies, clogged filters, or duct leaks that may be increasing energy consumption.
The audit will evaluate the energy usage of household appliances and lighting fixtures. This could involve checking for outdated or inefficient appliances that may be consuming more energy than necessary. Additionally, the audit may assess the use of lighting technology and recommend switching to energy-efficient LED bulbs to reduce electricity consumption.
Upon completion of the energy audit, you will receive a detailed report outlining the findings and recommendations for energy-saving upgrades. This valuable information empowers homeowners to make informed decisions on which upgrades or improvements are most cost-effective and have the greatest impact on reducing energy usage.