Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Guest Post - A Guide to Going Green - Improvements You Can Make Around the Home

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make, however the spend doesn’t stop there as throughout your time in the property you will need to spend money on many factors to ensure the space is comfortable and meets your needs. Spending money on energy bills is arguably one of the largest regular expenses you will have, and with finances tighter in this day and age for a rising number of households, any ways that this can be reduced are likely to be welcomed with open arms.

There is often not a day that goes by where there isn’t a story about going green or becoming more energy efficient in the news, with authorities encouraging us all to do more to become more efficient, reduce our carbon footprints, help protect the environment and in turn benefit from reduced energy bills in the process. It may sound like a simple thing to do, but knowing exactly how to implement in your life and particularly around your home can be more of a challenge.

There are however a number of improvement projects that you can embark on, some minor, others on a larger scale, that can provide you with the improved efficiency results you are hoping for, so here is your guide to going green through a number of improvements you can make in and around your home;

Understand Your Efficiency Starting Point

Whilst not necessarily an improvement as such, it is however advisable to see where your property currently stands in terms of its level of efficiency before you start making any improvements. The completion of an energy performance assessment will highlight specific areas of your property where heat is being lost and give an overall picture of how efficient your home currently is. By gaining an understanding of where you are starting off in terms of your home’s energy efficiency, you can compare it back to this once improvements are made.

Head Up to the Attic

The attic is one of the biggest culprits of heat loss and has the potential to be losing you a significant amount of money without you even knowing it. Whilst most attics will have some insulation in place, in may be that this needs to be topped up for ultimate performance, with a depth of 270mm (10.5 inches) of insulation being the recommended amount to effectively keep heat within your home. A steady saving can be made by improving the insulation in your loft space, with an increase from 100mm (4 inches) up to the 270mm (10.5 inches) potentially saving you £25 ($40) or more on your energy bills each year.

Double Up on Your Windows

If you still have the original windows in your home, there is a good chance that these will be single glazed, which are highly ineffective at keeping warm air in and cold air out. Investing in double glazing has the potential to require a relatively large outlay to begin with, however can quickly be recouped in the annual savings you make on your energy bills. Anything up to £165 ($255) a year can be saved following the installation of double glazing as they keep the heat produced from your heating system in your home for longer, meaning you can then run your system on a less frequent basis.

Check Your Wall Structure

Un-insulated walls are also big culprits of heat loss, with around a third of all heat in your home being lost through the walls. Poorly or un-insulated cavity walls and solid walls can both be at fault, yet adding the necessary insulation can make a big difference. Un-insulated cavity walls could be losing you around £140 ($220) a year in lost energy, however with an installation cost of between £400 ($625) and £500 ($780), you can soon make this back over a few years whilst also reaping the benefits of improved insulation. Whilst you may expect solid walls to offer better efficiency, you would actually be wrong as insulated solid walls can save around £450 ($700) over the course of a year, making the installation of insulation highly advisable.

Quick Fire Improvements

  • Draughts around windows and doors can easily allow cold air in to your home, making the warmth produced from your heating system less effective. Implementing draught proofing can make a big difference, with savings on heating of up to £55 ($85) a year a real possibility.
  • A newer boiler (furnace) offers significantly improved energy efficiency than an older model. In a similar way to windows, replacement is a large investment to begin with however replacing your current inefficient boiler could save you around £300 ($470) a year on the cost of running it.
  • The bulbs you use in lights around your home is another area where potential savings can be made through improved energy efficiency, as energy saving alternatives cut running costs and also last far longer.
  • A water meter can help you keep a close eye on the amount of water you are using, ensuring you aren’t wasting any and in turn simply throwing money down the drain.
  • Assess the current appliances you are using in your home, particularly in the kitchen, as updating to newer, more energy efficient models could result in improved performance as well as helping to cut the costs of running.

Hopefully this guide to going green has opened your eyes to the improvements that can be made around your home which can make a very real difference to how energy efficient your household can be and the subsequent savings that can be made from achieving this. Good luck in your endeavours to make your household a greener, more environmentally responsible one!

This post was written by blogger Oliver Kyle who, when investing time and money into making the necessary improvements around his own home to make it more energy efficient, called on the services of Skip Hire UK for a waste disposal solution that also takes the impact on the environment incredibly seriously.