Energy Efficiency

What is energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency means using less energy to provide the same service.Taking measures to improve energy efficiency within the home is an important way of combating fuel poverty. It also helps reduce domestic carbon emissions.

The main ways in which energy efficiency can be achieved within the home are:

1. Use of modern energy-efficient household equipment

2. Proper insulation of the doors, windows, walls, floors and roofs

3. Maintenance and cleaning of household equipment.

The Importance of Insulation

How is Heat Energy Lost from the Home?

Heat energy can be lost from a home either through conduction or convection.

Conduction is the process by which heat energy travels through a particular material. Conduction takes place when the material in question has more energy in the form of heat in one particular area. This heat energy will spread out throughout the material rather than staying concentrated in one place.

For example, heat will enter a solid wall in the interior of a property, but will spread out so that the heat eventually travels to the exterior as well, where it will be lost. Similarly, heat will enter the interior of a window and then leave the exterior.

“Cold-bridges”, such as window lintels and balconies are particularly likely to cause heat to be lost from a home through conductions. This is because the same piece of material is exposed both to the home’s internal temperature and the external outdoors temperature.

Convection takes place because of gravity. Warm air is lighter than cold air,so will naturally rise above the cold air in a property. This means that much heat will travel up to loft spaces or be lost through cracks and holes in the property’s walls, doors and windows. Unsealed, unused chimney can also cause a large amount of heat to be lost from a home through the convection process.

How to Protect Against Heat Loss in the Home?

Insulation is the best way of preventing heat from being lost from a property. There are many different ways in which a home can be insulated
in order to ensure as little heat as possible escapes. Below are listed a number of actions that can be taken in order to improve
the insulation of a property:

- Use curtains, blinds, carpets and wallpaper to add an extra layer of insulation to a room.

- Block or seal holes or cracks in walls, roofs, doors, windows and floors.

- Install double glazing or add any additional layer of protection to the windows (such as plastic film - known as secondary glazing).

- Place reflective foil behind radiators to prevent heat escaping through the walls behind them.

- Lag hot water pipes and boilers to prevent heat escaping.

- Install loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and underfloor insulation.

- Block unused chimneys

- Insulate Cold Bridges

What to look for when choosing new appliances?

When looking for energy efficient appliances for your home, you need to look out for the energy ratings label on appliances and consider the size of the appliance that you require.

How do energy labels work?

Energy ratings are generally given to products based on their size category. This means that two differently sized appliances with the same energy rating may use quite different amounts of electricity. For instance, an A rated 180-litre fridge freezer could cost £39 a year to run, whereas a larger 525-litre fridge freezer with a better A+ rating could cost £52 a year to run. It is therefore important that you examine both the energy banding and the predicted consumption of electricity in KWhs.

Check Reviews:

Since 2012, consumer magazine Which has been testing the energy consumption of efficient appliances. They found that even when two of the same type of appliances share the same energy rating, there can be a considerable difference in the energyused to power the appliance. For example, Which Magazine tests found that two A++ rated washing machines can vary in energy cost by as much as 30%, or £130, over five years. What's more, the cost of running two different A++ rated Fridges can differ by as much as £85 per year.

Which appliances Should Be Energy Efficient?

The simple answer to the question “which appliances should be energy efficient?” is all of them. However, there are some appliances which are particularly significant in terms of their energy consumption and therefore opting for energy-saving versions will be especially effective at reducing bills and CO2 emissions. These include:

- Fridges

- Freezers

- Tumble Driers

- Washing Machines

- Hot Water Boilers

- Lightbulbs

- Hair Driers

How to keep your home energy efficient

Below are listed some maintenance and cleaning steps that can be taken in order to improve energy efficiency and therefore reduce both bills and CO2 emissions.

Fridge

  • Clean Condenser Coils
  • Move Away from Heat Source and Direct Sunlight
  • Move Away from the Wall (10 inches)
  • Set Temperature at 3c

Freezer

  • Defrost / remove ice
  • Move Away from Heat Source and Direct Sunlight
  • Move Away from the Wall (10 inches)

Oven

  • Clean oven

Hob

  • Clean Hob
  • Thoroughly clean extractor fan

Tumble Drier

  • Clean filter / Remove Lint

Dishwasher

  • Empty All Filters

Appliances

  • Clean Appliances
  • Thoroughly Clean Vacuum Cleaner

Lighting

  • Dust Lightbulbs (Whilst Switched Off)

Heating / Hot Water

  • Bleed Radiators
  • Clean Radiators

Shower

  • Descale / Unblock Shower Head

Bathroom Extractor Fan

  • Clean Extractor Fan Thoroughly