There are a few changes you can make to your home that will save you money and help protect the environment at the same time. Study the following options to see if there is room for improvement in your home.
Insulate your home
Up to 40 percent of the heat that is lost in the home is through the roof and surrounding walls. This percentage can be reduced significantly by installing simple loft insulation costing between £200 to £300, resulting in an average saving of £150 per year. Cavity wall insulation prices start from £130 with an average saving of £100 a year. Obvious improvements such as double glazing will also reduce heat loss through the windows.
Reducing your water usage
At present, homes across the UK can use up to 1000 litres of water per day. One option is to install a water meter along with low-flush toilets. You can also take advantage of rainwater, by installing a harvesting system which can reduce your water consumption by as much as half whilst being used with toilets, washing machines and gardening. Systems such as this can start from £3500.
Generate your own Energy
Photovoltaic (PC) Cells or solar panels as we know them, operate by capturing solar radiation and converting it into electricity. An average home with a south facing roof could potentially generate half of its own needed energy using these cells. Systems vary in prices but are expected to be paid back within at least ten years. Wind turbines are also an option, but only effective in certain locations. It is important to carry out a wind assessment beforehand – Prices for wind turbines start from £1000.
Make small change around the home
Lighting in the home accounts for around 15 per cent of your annual electricity bill, so it is important to change over to energy saving bulbs throughout your home. Each bulb can save up to £7 per year! Installing an efficient condensing boiler is expected to save £150+ per year, whilst investing in a jacket and lagging for your hot water cylinder and pipes will pay itself back within one year of installation.
Sources: Homebuilding & Renovating magazine – June 2008