Reducing your home energy consumption can be simple to apply. Here we suggest home energy projects that cost almost nothing and have big savings, others pay for themselves many times over within the first year. Renewable home energy technology may be expensive, but are a buffer against higher fuel bills and in some cases you can generate income by selling your surplus energy back to your energy provider.
If you are planning to upgrade your home with a new kitchen or an extension, making home energy efficiency upgrades in parallel with work being undertaken is usually more cost effective than having work done at a later date.
Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney. The most significant savings in home projects is draught-proofing your home to retain warmer, help alleviate many causes of damp and lower your home energy bills.
Professional draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can cost around £200, but can save up to £25 to £35 a year on energy bills. DIY draught proofing can be much cheaper. Installing a chimney draught excluder could save around £25 a year.
More than half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water, making this an area where significant home energy savings can be made. Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves and using these controls efficiently can create savings between £75 and £155 a year. Reducing your room thermostat by just one degree for savings between £80 and £85 a year.
Smart technology helps you control your heating and understand your energy use. It also allows you to control your heating remotely via a mobile app so you can manage the temperature of your home from wherever you are, at any time. Whatever the age of your boiler the right controls will let you set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need them, heat only the areas of your home that need heating and set the temperature for each area of your home.
Another of the simple home energy projects is to use LED spotlights, which are now bright enough to replace halogens and with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to reduce your energy use. These lights come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings. If the average household replaced all of their remaining old-fashioned bulbs with CFLs, and all of their halogens with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and save about £35 a year on bills.
Turn your lights off when not in use to create savings around £13 on your annual energy bills. If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, regardless of the type of light.
Switch off standby
Turn your appliances off standby mode to make savings of £30 per year. Almost all electrical and electronic appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. A standby saver allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.
Energy savings in your kitchen
You can make savings of around £50 a year just by using your kitchen appliances more carefully. Use a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap can save £30 a year in energy bills. Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need to save around £7 a year and reduce your washing machine use by just one cycle per week for savings of £5 a year on energy and £7 a year on metered water bills.
Home energy savings in the bathroom include a water efficient shower heard for those who take water from a boiler or tank rather than an electric shower. This will reduce your hot water usage while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower and save a house with four adults around £80 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £120 on water bills.
Spending one minute less in the shower each day will save around £8 off your energy bills each year and £12 off annual water and sewerage bills per person.
Renewable energy is generated from natural resources such as the sun, wind and water, using technology. Instead of buying all of your energy from suppliers, you can install renewable technology (also called micro generation and low-carbon technology) to generate your own.
More and more home energy projects include renewable energy as home-owners look to make savings as well as helping the environment. Using secure and local resources reduces your dependence on non-renewable energy and helps reduce the production of greenhouse gases whilst creating new jobs in renewable energy industries.
Before starting your energy renewable projects, ensure your home is as energy efficient as it can be, as this will help you get the most out of your new system. Consider insulating your property wherever you can and using your appliances, lighting and water more efficiently.
There are various technologies available for generating your own electricity at home including solar panels, wind turbines, hydro, micro-CHP and off-grid.
You can also generate your own heat through biomass, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, solar water heating and thermal stores.
Some renewable technologies have specific requirements for installation which may not suit your home. For example, Solar PV and solar thermal depends on the way your roof faces. Solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass require space inside and outside and hydro requires a nearby stream or river.
Once you've thought about which technology would best suit your home and your needs, you can start to research the options in more detail. Weigh up the products that are available, their costs, the size of systems and any special requirements for installation.