Seven in ten Brits want to make their homes greener and more cost-effective, according to new research.
Energy Saving Trust found that a household can save up to £581 on energy bills each year if they implement a full range of efficiency measures, purchase efficient appliances and exercise best practice energy saving behaviour, such as getting a smart meter installed.
On top of the financial savings, a household could also save 2,141 kg of CO2e emissions, which is the equivalent of driving 7,500 miles or enough energy to power the lights in 27 homes in the UK for a year.
Home improvement conversations increased during lockdown, with ‘insulation’ being the most discussed topic.
However, Britons are also considering additional energy efficient or sustainable actions they can take in their home, from eco-friendly paint to water saving shower heads.
New research of 4,000 respondents, commissioned by Smart Energy GB, reveals that Brits’ key motivation behind making their homes greener is to help the environment (71%) - but equally to save money (71%).
This week,Homebase, in partnership with Smart Energy GB, launched 'The Green Aisle' in 137 of their stores nationwide to showcase home improvement products in one place, including information on how to get a smart meter from your energy supplier, which will help make homes greener and winter-ready
“We know that more and more of our customers are looking to make environmentally friendly decisions as they embark on home and garden improvement projects," said Homebase's Chris O’Boyle.
"'The Green Aisle' not only puts some of our most sustainable and eco-friendly products all in one place for those who know what they’re looking for, but will also provide advice and inspiration, supported by our expert teams, for people who need a hand turning their green ambitions into reality."
Craig Phillips' top energy saving tips
A simple DIY task that anybody can do is to plug those draughts. Have a good look around your doors and windows, and if you find you’ve got a tiny little bit of draught coming in, it means your heat is also escaping. Draught excluders or draught insulations fitted around all the doors and windows can make a massive difference to stop heat escaping and cost a couple of pounds to buy. You could also try and make one! Put your craft skills to good use by making a draft excluder dog!
Think about those places that you wouldn’t expect heat to be escaping like a letterbox or cat flap. Even things like an unused fireplace or chimney will result in a lot of heat loss. These have simple DIY fixes, like installing a specialised balloon flue in chimneys that are not in use.
Firstly, the Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme does cover insulation – such as solid wall insulation, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation.
Insulating your house properly is very important and it’s recommended to almost always start with the roof area. Check all around your loft, if there isn’t much lagging in the insulation up there, get some advice on how best to tackle it.
If access is easy to your loft and you have evenly spaced joists, you can use rolls of mineral wool insulation.
If access isn’t easy or you’re unsure, you can ask a professional to advise. If you have your insulation surveyed by a professional, their advice might mean you can improve and look to upgrade the insulation yourself. If it’s a bigger job, homeowners or landlords can apply for the Government’s Green Homes Grant Scheme in England, the vouchers for this can be used towards the cost of upgrading the energy efficiency of your home, including insulation. Make sure you appoint a contractor with the Government required accreditation, such as one with Trustmark.
There are a number of different products on the market that can help you and the first step is figuring out what type of insulation you already have.
If it’s a house with cavity walls, you can have them injected with a foam inside them. This makes them more airtight and, of course, more energy efficient.
If you have a solid wall construction on your house, you can apply a rigid insulation foam board on the outside, this is then covered up by a lightweight silicon render. Sealing the gaps in the original wall and keeping heat inside.
Both of these should be carried out by an appropriately accredited contractor in order to comply with the Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme T+Cs.
Get a smart meter installed
One of the easiest things you can do is to speak to your energy supplier about getting a smart meter installed. Having a smart meter allows you to better manage your energy consumption at home and identify situations where you are using a lot of energy, which you can then change as necessary. But also, on a national level, they help to upgrade Britain’s energy system to one that can help tackle the climate crisis and meet our net zero target.
Technology to help us be more sustainable is changing all the time and it’s so exciting. Earlier this year, I got an electric vehicle. A smart energy system – with smart meters at the heart - will allow consumers to charge their vehicles when rates are low and energy is greenest, whilst hopefully lessening the peaks in electricity demand.
When it’s time to upgrade white goods in your house, do be careful about what products you purchase. All these items will have energy ratings on them from A+++, for most efficient, to G, the least efficient. Selecting white goods with the best efficiency rating, is not only good for the environment, but good for your pocket as the less energy used, the more money saved.
Also, don’t forget, that with your existing white goods, you don’t just have to upgrade to be more energy efficient in the way you use them – for example, doing a full wash rather than half a load and washing on the coolest possible cycle.
When the time comes to replace lightbulbs, replace them with LEDs, which are the most energy-efficient bulbs available. Even though they are more expensive to buy at first, they will save you money on your energy bills in the long-run as they are much cheaper to run and rarely need replacing. But, make sure you check which fitting you need for your new lightbulb.
Windows and doors
Energy efficient doors and double, or even triple, glazed windows make a huge difference to stop heat escaping, save money and are eligible within the Government’s Green Homes Grant Scheme.