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Construction Ecoretrofit Money saving sustainability

Simple ways to improve the efficiency of your home Part 1

This is based on my recent talk at the London Green Fair and includes links to extra information and websites that may be useful.

The ideas here are deliberately simple and hopefully easy for most people to follow at home. There are no numbers, U values and technical terms, just ways for you to make your house warmer and cut your bills. Based on my experience working on people’s house s through Ecoalex ltd, I estimate a cut in bills of 10-15% is possible just by implementing a few of these changes.

Insulation

There are three main areas where you can add insulation to your house, the roof, walls and floor:

Roof

Currently you can get your loft insulated for free by many energy companies as part of the Carbon Emission Reduction Targets set for them by government. So if your loft isn’t insulated get it done now, latest deals on the Money Saving Expert site here. The offers won’t last forever and this will save you money.

Walls

Again, cavity wall can be free at the moment so get it done if you can.If you have solid walls it is more complicated and expensive but consider solid wall insulation.

Floor

If you have a cellar it can be quite easy to put insulation under your floor. If not it is probably only worth considering if you have the floors up for another reason or there is a major draught problem with the floor. Carpets can help tremendously.

Energy

You have probably replaced most of your old fashioned energy guzzling bulbs now. However, evil bulbs may well still lurk in your house, particularly the kitchen. Halogen spots are the scourge of anyone trying to reduce their electricity bills. Inefficient producers of light that heat up so much they need fire protection these bulbs are usually used as down lighters restricting their light to a small area of the room. I don’t expect people to change their lighting entirely but changing these bulbs can make a huge difference to your energy use. On a recent survey I worked out that replacing 7 50 watt bulbs with low energy LED bulbs would save £40 a year (based on 3 hours use a day) and cost about £60 so the bulbs pay for themselves in 18 months. They also last longer and aren’t a fire hazard.

Turn things off

You have probably done this already in your house but remember to turn off the TV properly and unplug mobile phone chargers etc. They don’t use a lot of electricity individually but collectively it builds up and they don’t do anything when you aren’t using them.

Get an energy monitor

These can help you work out where you are using energy and also quite fun. The list on money saving expert is getting a little old but a good place to start.

Heating

Check your boiler on the boiler efficiency website and see if it is worth replacing with a more efficient model. This can be quite expensive but save quite a lot.

Put panels behind radiators on outside walls. If your radiators are under windows make sure they aren’t covered by curtains and consider a shel above them to reflect heat back into the room.

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