Energy efficiency is a leading concern for households today, and not just due to the growing publicity around the urgency of the climate crisis. More immediately, household bills are becoming untenable, as energy bills significantly higher than their 2020 average.
The government’s Energy Price Guarantee has capped bills at an average of £2,500 per year, but this is still more than twice the average energy bill from before the inflation crisis. What can you do to improve energy efficiency in your household, and reduce your expenditure as a result?
Addressing your home’s lighting may be a small way to approach energy efficiency, but it is an actionable one – and can have surprisingly effective results over time. Many households have already made some form of switch from older incandescent lightbulbs to relatively more efficient halogen lightbulbs. However, some households still rely on the former, while the latter still loses a not-insignificant amount of energy to heat.
LED lightbulbs are the next step in energy-efficient light fitting design, requiring replacement much less often that their alternatives and running at a much higher efficiency rating than any other form of light fitting. Swapping all your home’s bulbs for LED bulbs can reduce energy usage on lighting manifold.
Energy is also used somewhat wastefully in the heating of water for cleaning use. Heat is lost to radiation, and water is naturally wasted as a function of cleaning processes – even showers, efficient as they are in comparison to baths. Installing a low-flow showerhead reduces the flow of water, reducing the amount of water that needs to be heated per shower and thus reducing the energy cost of each shower.
Air- or Ground-Source Heat Pump
Next, the mechanism by which your water is heated is the same mechanism that handles the heating of your home. Your home’s central heating system is likely fed by a combi boiler, which boils water on-demand for supply to your radiators and separately to your faucets. These boilers are reliant on the burning of gas, and hence not only pollutive but also relatively inefficient – at least, in comparison to modern technological advancements and alternative heating systems.
Air source heat pumps are powered by electricity, and transfer heat from the outside air to internal water pipes via a heat exchanger. Ground-source heat pumps perform the same function but through transferring heat from the ground. Both can be used in service of a new heating system that runs much more efficiently than conventional systems.
If moving away from a standard central heating system is not an option for you, there are still ways in which you can directly impact its energy efficiency. According to smart thermostat providers, homeowners can save up to 31% on their energy bills through their use.
Smart thermostats are IoT (Internet of Things)-enabled devices that give users more control over their heating systems. They can use home temperature and boiler data to maximise the efficiency of home heating, and can be controlled by app – allowing you to switch the heating on or off wherever you are, whether you forgot on your way out or simply want a warm living room when you return. With the right add-ons, you can change temperature room by room, switching on individual radiators and ensuring wasteful heating is minimised.