Archive for the ‘Energy Efficiency’ Category

Historic Home, Energy Efficient

Do you live in a beautifully traditional home, but wonder how to improve energy efficiency without losing the charm and historical character of its features?

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As an owner of a time-honoured property, it should be your aim to enhance its traditional features, whilst reducing its impact on the environment. Whether a first time buyer of a historical home, or a restorer of all builds classic – here is a quick guide to improve the property’s energy efficiency whilst preserving its charming style and sought-after characteristics.

Make it weatherproof

Although it may seem obvious, a good door and a good set of windows can do wonders for your home’s energy usage and bill costs. Many traditional homes will come with beautiful, yet poor quality window and door designs, so if you want to notice an improving change in your home’s current bill costs – we recommend that replacing your windows and doors should be your main priority before commencing any other building work.

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Here is a great article demonstrating the reasons why you should replace wooden windows rather than renovating. This can prove far more beneficial over time; after all, you’ll soon recover the initial cost of installation through your new and affordable bill prices! Hurray!

When considering replacing your historic windows with contemporary yet aesthetically traditional window options, you should consider a bespoke joinery company such as Bentley Brothers that offer unique and experienced service with both modern and traditional builds and work to enhance a property’s original design and features. There is nothing worse than replacing beautiful and characteristic windows with a modern-day style and non-complementing design. Modern technologies and contemporary sash window design can provide your home with beautifully crafted and time-honoured window and door designs as well as providing high quality sealant, air infiltration and durable material use to improve your home’s energy efficiency in style.

Insulate it

Because heat rises, the majority of a home’s heat is lost through the top half of a property. Insulating your loft, attic or even flat roof is a simple and cost-effective way to save on waste and reduce your heating bills, and you can even insulate your home yourself!

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Loft insulation has been an effective way of making your home more energy efficient for years, and often pays for itself within a short space of time. Check out how much money you could save by insulating your home. If you don’t fancy yourself as the DIY type, get the professionals in! Many companies such as Apex Green can insulate your home and advise you on how to ‘go green’ with your home and living.

Go green!

The government is now offering ‘The Green Deal’ plan, which helps you make energy-saving improvements to your home and offers the best options in order to pay for them. These options may include insulation, heating, double-glazing, renewable energy generation and heating improvements to provide your home with a greener way of living.

If you are interested in finding out if your home could benefit from any energy-saving improvements, check out the energy grants calculator or contact a Green Deal assessor direct.

Making your traditional home an energy-efficient property may seem like a challenge, but in fact, with a little planning and simple weather-proofing tasks – any historic build can quickly become a modern and environmentally friendly home with charming characteristics of the past.

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How to Make the Most of The Government’s Green Deal

Over the last few years, conserving both warmth and energy within the home has become considerably more important, with the possibility of saving homeowners a significant amount of money. We are constantly bombarded through the media about the necessity of monitoring and yet a recent article in The Guardian (which can be found here) stresses that despite the Green Deal package being offered to homeowners for free, barely anyone is considering the resources presented to them. Look carefully at these three methods of reducing your energy bills in your house through the use of the Green Deal, and if you aren’t already benefiting from them, ask yourself why not.

Insulation – Both cavity wall and loft insulation are being presented as part of the Green Deal package, and as a result have the potential to be completed for a fraction of the price through their Cashback scheme.  It is estimated that homeowners with an un-insulated loft could be spending up to an unnecessary £175 per year on energy bills that could have been avoided. Insulation Installers, found here, are a directory company who are promoting the Green Deal, by ensuring that all of their listers can provide further information on the funding scheme available and make you as the customer aware of the grants available. With homeowners able to save up to an amazing 33% on their energy bills, it seems like madness that the country isn’t springing into action.

Double Glazing – Similarly to insulation, double glazing is a preventative way of dropping your energy costs by reducing the amount of energy wasted through ill fitted or maintained windows. Many homeowners convince themselves that their double glazing is perfectly sufficient, but if you’re experiencing window panes that are misted, full of condensation or broken, you could be throwing away a significant amount of money. Locks Express are a company who specialise in restoring, changing and boarding windows, as well as lock repairs, and can offer you expert advise on your current double glazing, or having double glazing installed for the first time. As a family run company they are aware of the importance of keeping your family home warm and saving money where possible. Their website can be found here.

Solar Panels – The vast majority of you reading this will have heard about the possibility of having solar panels installed on your house for a reduced amount, but have still refused. The benefits of having solar panels include the eco-friendly repercussions, solar panels produce zero carbon emissions and are sourced from 100% renewable and unlimited raw materials, are completely noise free, and eventually can earn you money via the energy produced. Evo Energy, whose website is here, offer information on the panels they install and help you to judge if your home is suitable for installation. The range of testimonials on their website provides reassurance and highlights the wealth of their expertise, from businesses to the family home.

The amount of support the government is offering homeowners as part of the Green Deal package is encouraging, and whether you consider yourself to be an eco warrior or not, their positive impact on the climate change issues are not ignorable. For more information on how the Green Deal works and how you as a homeowner can benefit, visit the GOV.UK webpage by clicking here.

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Make Your Home A Green One

We are all too aware of the negative impacts we have created and caused to the environment and action is being taken throughout the world in every country to try to reduce and slow down the damage we are doing. If it is happening on a global scale, you can do your part too in your home by making small alterations that will benefit you, your pocket, and the environment.

  • Turn off the lights – it will save you an electricity bill and it will save the environment. We waste an awful amount of electricity year in and year out simply by leaving a light switch on. Change your light bulbs to energy saving light bulbs to reduce costs and do your bit for the environment.
  • Solar Panels – saving energy is essential in your home for both you and the environment. Installing solar panels allows you to harness energy from the sun as a natural source, rather than using gas and oil to heat our homes. As Solar panels are powered by rays from the sun; you are not wasting any non-renewable materials as the panels are simply affixed to your roof. Check out www.dkpelectrics.co.uk to get solar panels installed and begin saving energy.
  •  Use your tap water – people are under the illusion that tap water is damaging to our health and bottled water is in fact a better option. Studies show that bottled water is more harmful than tap water and it is in fact drastically damaging the environment due to the plastic bottle wastage. It is understandable that you may need a bottle of water while you are out but invest in one good, reusable plastic water bottle and fill it form the tap. If you are still concerned about tap water, buy a water filter and fill the bottle from it. Check out www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-bottled-water for some shocking facts about bottled water and the companies they come from.
  • Use your recycling bins – here in the UK, we have all been provided with recycling bins to improve as a nation our environment and waste habits. Get involved and use the recycling bin you have been provided with. A few minutes out of your day to separate waste to the correct bin will help the environment dramatically if everyone does it together. It will reduce the waste in landfill sites or the waste that is incinerated, therefore reducing toxic waste going into the atmosphere. In addition, the recyclable items can then be reused which is more cost effective for us and beneficial to the environment. Remember that plastic bottle you chucked into the recycling bin? That’s now a new plastic bottle or plastic bag because you recycled it. Check out recycling-guide.org.uk/rrr.html for advice on recycling and see the progress that we have already made.
  • Green cleaning products – the cleaning products that you clean your home with everyday are in fact bad for the environment. This is something that we do not think about or consider when it comes to the environment because it is essential and they do such a fantastic job. But this is only on the surface, the chemicals in our everyday cleaning products are more harmful than good. When they are washed away or sprayed into the air, the harmful chemicals go through or drains and into rivers damaging the wildlife of the rivers and surrounding areas. The chemicals also release toxins into the air, although small, they still overall are a contributing factor to the damage of the environment. Check out www.ecover.com/gb/en/products/productscategory.aspx, which is a brand that makes and sells only environmentally friendly cleaning products. They have no harmful chemicals therefore, they are completely safe and friendly to use. If you do not want to buy environmentally friendly cleaning products, making your own is always an option and they work just as well.

These are only 5 small steps you can take to helping the environment, but a little help is better than no help at all, so take a look around your home and consider what steps you can take to make your home, a green one.

 

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Save Energy, The Planet and Money

No matter what your standpoint is on environmental energy production both environmentalists and ordinary consumers can all agree that their energy bills are growing at an alarming rate.

There are many factors that govern the price of our energy and to some extent they are beyond the scope of this blog. What is being discussed here is how we can all do our bit for the planet and our pockets by adopting energy efficient lifestyles.

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Do an Energy Audit

Perhaps the best way of starting to save money is to study each room of the house identifying appliances and goods are left on when not in use. Leaving products on standby or continuously on charge is not good practice. Following the 10 energy saving tips that you can see on this page of Energy Saving Trust website will help you as you do your energy use audit.

Switch to Efficient Appliances

The cost of buying a new appliance just because of its energy efficiency rating will, in nearly all cases outweighs the amount they will save you in energy usage. However, when an appliance becomes unserviceable and needs to be replaced, you should choose one with a good energy efficiency rating. Even if the more energy efficient appliance has a higher purchase price over a less efficient model, it will save you money in the long term. For more information, this Which? consumer website article has a good explanation of energy efficiency ratings for appliances.

A good source of advice on electrical efficiency in your home can be provided by electrical installers such as DKP Electrics who can install devices to help you manage your energy usage, including photo voltaic solar panels to harvest electrical energy from sunlight.

Smart Meters

The Government plans for every home in the UK to have a ‘Smart Meter’ installed by the end of 2019. The advantages of smart meters include not having to have someone call to take a meter reading and in terms of energy usage they provide real time feedback on the amount of energy consumption and the cost of energy. This can help consumer make changes to the way they use their energy. More information on smart meters is available on this page of the Energy Saving Trust website.

This Telegraph website article suggests that our bills have grown by 30% in the last three years. Increases of this magnitude are putting real pressure on the budgets of UK households. Why not give some of the measures mentioned above a try and see how much you can reduce your electricity bill by?

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Green Heating

Heating your home can be a costly venture, and sometimes it’s not just your pocket that gets stung. The knock on effect when it comes to the environment can be potentially devastating. It may not seem like much when you think about it on an individual level, but nationally the effect is much, much bigger. If we all just thought about the way we use energy in our homes, and did something about it, then we could end up saving both the planet and a sizeable amount of money. Check out the blog below to see how you can keep your heating bills down and your green credentials up.

Boilers
One of the first things you’ll want to do is check your boiler. Supplying almost all the heat to your house, the more efficient you can make it, the more money you’ll save, and the less damage you’ll do. It’s worth casting your eyes over www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Heating-and-hot-water/Replacing-your-boiler to see the savings replacing your boiler could net you, both financially and environmentally. If it looks as if your boiler needs replacing then you can follow that up with a trip to www.uswitch.com/boilers/guides/boiler-guide to get a great guide to compare and contrast all the different variables. Lastly, head to www.directheatingsupplies.co.uk to pick up your new energy-efficient boiler, though it might be fruitful to visit www.quotatis.co.uk too as they offer a free advice service with no obligation.

Fires
It’s no longer older houses that have fires and flues these days, as many modern builds incorporate contemporary fireplace designs as an attractive focal point. Electric fires are incredibly environmentally friendly but can often lack the je ne sais quoi of the real thing or even gas fires. If you’re set on keeping your real fire (and they do possess an inherent romantic quality that is exceedingly hard to part with) then take a look at www.energysavingsecrets.co.uk/can-open-fire-be-green.html to see what you can do to make yourself a little greener. I would also recommend perusing www.marblehill.co.uk/energy-efficient.html, as Marble Hill offer a fantastic range of eco-friendly traditional fires without sacrificing the traditional feel. However, for the truly eco-conscious, visit www.smartfireuk.com. Smartfire specialise smokeless, clean burning fires that burn bio-ethanol. This combines the romanticism of a real fire with ecological and environmental responsibility to produce greener fires without ever compromising on style or aesthetics. Check out the video below for more information.

Bits and Bobs
Boilers and fires might be the big ideas, but often people can overlook how they can help out and save money with just a few simple tricks. Invest in some draft excluders for your thresholds, as well some thick rubber weather strips to line your doors and windows. You can pick those up at www.stormguard.co.uk, followed by a quick trip to www.greenstamp.co.uk to grab some radiator foil. Radiator foil is the simple but ingenious solution to getting the most out of your radiators, as the highly reflective surface channels all the heat from the back of the radiator into the room, instead of it going to waste by seeping into the wall. For even more tips and tricks, check out www.progressgroup.org.uk/homes/newprogress/save/tips.

Heating doesn’t have to cost the earth, in more ways than one. By utilising advances in modern technology you can make the most of boilers and fires, and once you add a little common sense into the mix too you can really begin to feel the benefits without breaking the bank. Best of all you do your bit for the planet too, so it’s a really a win-win all round!

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