Energy efficiency has become a prevailing subject for homeowners and households in the UK. The severity of the climate crisis has grown increasingly clear, with increased incidences of wild weather and the near-assurance that a key greenhouse emissions threshold will be passed this year.
While it is incumbent on industries and larger businesses to address their own contributions to the crisis, this doesn’t preclude the individual from seeking their own alternatives. Besides, energy has become a costly thing in the UK – and improving efficiency in the home can help bring costs down as well as alleviate the burden on the climate. What are some of the most effective ways to do this?
Insulation is an extremely effective route to passive improvement of a home’s energy efficiency. Newer home builds account for insulation from the foundation up, with the use of polystyrene blocks or cavity walls to improve the base heat retention co-efficient of the build. Wall insulation, whether cladding or cavity wall insulation, has the most impact on energy efficiency.
However, this doesn’t make it the most accessible form of insulation – where roof insulation can be much more cost-effective for the average household. Roof insulation aims to tackle the effects of heat convection as opposed to heat radiation, by trapping heat attempting to escape upwards through the attic. Installing this insulation is cheaper, quicker and simpler – and can even be done DIY using Milwaukee hand tools and a delivery of fibreglass insulation material. The result is an instant improvement to heat retention with a less immediate impact on savings.
Heating System Upgrades
Energy efficiency measures are generally designed to reduce your reliance on your central heating system, giving you the ability to comfortably heat your home with less energy consumption. As well as passive measures to reduce heat lost from the home, you can also directly address the efficiency of your heating system itself.
Indeed, the UK government announced a subsidy programme to increase uptake of efficient alternative heating systems, including air-source heat pumps and biomass boilers. While the initial cost is high, the shift away from burning natural gas makes a significant difference in terms of both carbon footprint and energy cost.
Energy efficiency conversations typically revolve around the management of heat and heating systems, owing to the significant portion of energy usage devoted to it each month. However, our reliance on the national grid for electricity is often overlooked. Even though electricity is relatively cheap, it can still cause significant costs, and still has a carbon footprint of its own.
An increasingly-available alternative solution is to install solar panels. Again, there is an upfront cost to solar panel installation that might turn off a number of households, but if you settled in your home for the long-term the investment can be well worth it. Not only are you free of electricity tariffs and carbon costs, but you can also sell surplus electricity back into the grid.