You can spend thousands of pounds making your home more energy efficient by having double glazing fitted. But you can start making savings with a budget of just a few pounds. If you’ve spent a couple of winters in your home you’ll probably know — all too well – where it loses heat. And even if you’ve just moved in you can do a quick check to work out if it’s losing heat and therefore wasting money.
Low cost money savers
– Use energy efficient lightbulbs. According to the Energy Saving Trust, energy efficient lightbulbs can use up to 80% less electricity and last up to ten times longer.
COST: Bulbs cost £2.80 – £15 (for specialist dimmable bulbs).
SAVVY TIP: Use the energy saving calculator on Lightbulbs Direct website to work out how much you could save.
– Line existing curtains or fit heavier ones. If you have curtains made of a lightweight fabric, consider fitting lining material or swapping them for thicker curtains in the winter. Also, if you have a door that lets the draught in (like I have!), hang a floor-length curtain in front of it. It will make a real difference.
COST: The cost will vary depending on the size of your windows. The cheapest option is to make them (if you’re any good with a sewing machine) or buy second hand (eBay, charity shops or the free exchange site freecycle are worth a try).
– Fit draught excluders. Draught excluders for letterboxes, window and door frames can reduce the energy that’s lost and they don’t cost much if you fit them yourself.
COST: £50-£200 (depending on how many windows and doors you are able to treat and whether you do it yourself or use a professional company).
SAVVY TIP: You should be able to save up to £25 a year.
Medium cost money savers
– Increase your loft insulation. The recommended levels for loft insulation are now 250 – 270 mm (which is 10-11 inches); and that’s more than most lofts currently have.
COST: Anything from £100 for a small loft if you do it yourself to £200+ if you get a cut-price deal from an energy supplier. Many will do this free of charge if you’re on certain benefits or aged 70+). Log onto the Energy Saving Trust website for details of grants and support in your area. Many DIY stores have two-for-one price offers on loft insulation from time to time.
SAVVY TIP: If you start with no insulation and insulate your loft to a depth of 270 mm, you’ll save approximately £150 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. If you’re topping up insulation, you’ll save around £45 a year (for a three bedroom semi with gas central heating).
– Invest in cavity wall insulation. Many properties built after the 1930s have a cavity wall. Fitting insulation cuts heat loss dramatically.
COST: Up to £500 if you pay the full price, but you may be able to get it done cheaper through one of the schemes run by the energy suppliers (free if you’re on certain benefits or aged 70+).
SAVVY TIP: You should be able to save £115 a year (for a three-bedroom property with gas central heating).
There’s lots of information on the web about how to save money by going green.
The Energy Saving Trust has lots of practical ways to save money and energy.
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