A paradigm shift is taking over the UK. With ambitious plans to reach its Net Zero by 2050, the UK is mandating all homes to be zero-carbon-ready. Climate change is not something we can put off, and reformation has to take place now. Homeowners and builders throughout Britain are focusing on energy-efficient home improvement ideas that reduce emissions and lower energy bills. Smart, low-carbon homes are no longer top-end designs but the new normality by necessity and responsibility.
Almost all household appliances now come with energy-efficient upgrades. Usually, smaller products use less electricity. For example, laptops use about one-sixth of the energy a desktop uses. Labels display the energy rating and energy consumption of appliances. The ratings are on a scale from A to G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least efficient. Lower the kWh/yr, the more energy you save. The labels will have a QR Code you scan on your smartphone for additional information. Avoid unnecessary features like light indicators. Household fridges, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, and tumble dryers are the biggest contributors to energy bills. Always look for energy-saving versions of these.
Switch to energy-efficient lighting
Lighting is one of the most used electrical components of a home. Opting for energy-efficient lighting can save you money and reduce CO2 emissions. LED lights can save up to 90% of energy. They also have exceptional durability, lasting 10 times longer than traditional bulbs. Inefficient lighting is already being phased out, such as halogen lights. These lights are also dimmable, letting you choose a lower brightness when you don’t need high brilliance.
Upgrade heating and cooling systems
Since 2005, all gas boilers installed in the UK are condensing boilers. These have larger heat exchangers that recover more heat from burning gas, considerably reducing heating costs. With gas boilers phasing out in the UK as a result of cutting down fossil fuel heating, heat pumps are emerging as the new cleaner alternative. Adding a programmable thermostat organises your central heating to fit around your routine. The heating system can automatically switch off when you are not at home or don’t require heating. Smart thermostats allow you to control heating remotely.
Water heating too is become more energy-efficient over the past years. A Tankless water heater supplies water on demand rather than keeping it hot in a cylinder. This is especially beneficial for smaller households that do not need hot water throughout the day. If you have a tank hot water system, insulating the tank prevents heat loss. Insulating the distribution pipes also helps.
If your air conditioner is an outdoor unit, the pipes must have high-quality lagging, or you will be cooling the air outside rather than the interior. Well-insulated walls and a roof ensure that cold air does not escape, wasting energy. The air conditioning system should be the right size. Undersizing the system makes it work extra hard, using up excess energy. An oversized system leads to unnecessary energy use and sub-optimal operation.
Replace or renovate roofing
Insulating the roof and loft is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve home energy efficiency. Pitched roofs are insulated at joist level as a cold roof or at rafter level as a warm roof. Flat roofs can be insulated as a warm deck, cold deck, or inverted roof.
Seal air leaks
Air leakage of a home is the escape of air through the gaps and cracks in the building fabric – the walls, floors, and roof. Air leaks are detected with an air-tightness test or a thermographic test. Air leak is resolved with air sealing, weatherstripping, and insulating. Seal the pipes, vents, and recess lights that let in air. Use weatherstripping to seal doors and window frames. Add extra insulation or replace old insulation.
Maximise natural lighting
One of the methods to reduce energy consumption during the day is to utilise natural light as much as possible. Using oversized glass-paned sliding/folding doors, strategic window placement, and using sun-shades instead of light-blocking glass treatment helps bring in more natural light to your home.
Proper and sufficient insulation
Insulation retains heat in the home, reducing heating requirements. A warmer, fitted-out home lowers the possibility of damp later on and even raises the property value. You can do this with cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation, floor insulation, roof & loft insulation, insulating tanks, pipes, & radiators, and draught-proofing. Older properties have solid masonry walls, and newer properties have cavity walls. Usually, the ground floor is insulated by laying mineral wool insulation supported by netting between the joists.
Replace windows and doors
Double and triple glazing improves energy efficiency in your home, helping you save money on utility bills. Buy a purpose-made keyhole cover for your door. Install a letterbox flap or brush. Yu can use a brush or hinged flap draught excluder for your door’s bottom gap. Foam, brush, or wiper strips seal gaps around the door edges. Energy efficiency window and door U-value under Scottish building regulations is 1.6 W/m2K or better.
Our homes are getting greener, and so they should. Energy-efficient homes do not just protect the environment; they also create improved living standard while reducing costs. GS Brown Construction builds are fitted with new and improved energy performance standards.