10 Carbon-friendly home improvements

carbon friendly home improvements

As it’s Big Energy Savings week, we thought we’d share several carbon-friendly home improvements you can make to reduce your bills. Led by the Energy Savings Trust, this campaign raises awareness of energy efficiency measures that can help to lower costs.

One way to rate your home’s energy efficiency is by having an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) survey. When people sell their homes, they must have an EPC survey, which usually costs around £40. However, it’s worthwhile seeing how your home is rated, as it could help you improve your energy efficiency and reduce bills. Ideally, you want to aim for a minimum rating of C and above. The average rating of most homes in the UK is a D.

Below are ten ways you can improve the energy efficiency rating of your home:

1. Insulate your home
There are two main ways you can improve your home insulation – in your loft and your walls. Aim for at least 270mm of insulation material made from mineral or glass wool for loft spaces. Depending on the age of your property, you might not have cavity walls, which are needed for wall insulation. If your home was built before WWII, you may only have single-brick walls, but you could consider cladding.

2. Use renewable energy
There are a few ways you can start using renewables to improve your household’s carbon footprint. You could switch to a renewable energy supplier, who only use sources such as air heating systems, biomass stations, wind or solar.

3. Upgrade your boiler
A new, fully working boiler is always going to be more energy efficient than an old boiler system. Over time, components can corrode or become damaged, and pipework around your home can become blocked. Such issues can cause your boiler to become faulty, which means it won’t work efficiently. A power flush can also make your central heating work better; this process cleans out any sludge from radiators.

4. Fit a smart thermostat
Nowadays, there are lots of smart heating systems available, such as Hive from British Gas. These systems connect to your boiler through your home’s Wi-Fi to provide accurate temperature control and save energy. You can switch heating on or off using a mobile app, which means you can manage the amount of energy being used. Control individual room temperatures by fitting thermostatic radiator valves.

5. Install a heat pump
Air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps are steadily replacing gas boilers. Ground source heat pumps are large, and typically installed to heat multiple properties or a big commercial building. Air source heat pumps are usually more suitable for the average home. They convert outside air into heated water, which flows through radiators or an underfloor heating system. They can cost around £10,000 to install but will only work correctly in a home with an A or B EPC rating.

6. Fit solar panels
Solar panel installation is another solution for producing your own source of renewable energy. An eco-friendly source of green energy, over time you will also reduce your energy bills. It’s worth bearing in mind that solar panels are a long-term strategy, as they can be quite costly to fit. But in the long run, you may find that you are in a position where you can sell surplus energy back to the grid.

7. Check your windows
If you have old or wooden windows, it’s important to make sure they are sealed against draughts. A draughty home will make your central heating come on more often. Modern UPVC windows have a good level of draughtproofing through rubber seals and the way they have been produced. If your windows are more than 20 years old, check for any gaps, which can be caused by corroded seals or warped frames.

8. Other draughtproofing
Following the same principles as above, look around your home for any other gaps, including doorways. Constant draughts could be causing your room temperatures to fluctuate, which will trigger your heating thermostat. Aim to limit how many times your boiler comes on a day, as this will help you reduce your energy usage. Replace an old front door or use draught excluders in front of doors that lead to the outside.

9. Replace old appliances
This simple measure is often overlooked when people are looking at ways to improve their home’s carbon footprint. Old fridges, freezers and washing machines are notoriously inefficient when it comes to energy usage. Newer appliances have been designed to be more energy efficient and offer lower everyday running costs.

10. Use LED light bulbs
Replacing old lightbulbs with LED alternatives is an easy measure, which can soon add up over time to make a real difference. From 2019, halogen bulbs have been banned apart from specialist use. So, if you haven’t yet replaced all your incandescent light bulbs, this is one way where you can save energy and money.

There are many ways you can improve the carbon footprint of your home. Always factor in both short-term and long-term costs. It’s worth noting that certain improvements will not only save you money, but they could increase the value of your home in the long run.

Planning to make large carbon-friendly improvements to your home? You might benefit from a financial plan. Get in touch today to speak to our financial planners.