Energy efficiency in the home: small changes, long-lasting benefits

These days everybody is talking about the importance of energy efficiency, and doing your bit is a lot easier than you might think. As well as helping to protect the environment and provide a better legacy for the next generation, it can help to spruce up your home and make it more comfortable: there’s no better time to get started than the present!

Small changes, big benefits

Most of the changes you can make to improve energy efficiency are simple, easy and inexpensive. Here are some you can get started on right away:

  • Filling in cracks in walls, door frames and window frames with Polyfilla. You’d be amazed at how much energy escapes this way.
  • Fitting solid shutters over your windows to keep out draughts. You can even double these up with curtains for extra insulation.
  • Adding rugs to your floor. You can buy these new, pick them up second-hand or even make your own using rags or old pieces of carpet.
  • Switching to LED lighting. This is the most efficient form of lighting and it’s now available in a range of tones. You can attach it to existing light fittings.
  • Turning off electronic devices like your TV and DVD player when they’re not in use. Leaving them on standby can use a surprising amount of energy.
  • Heating only as much water as you need, whether it’s for a bath or a cup of tea, and turning off your radiators in the summer months.

Cutting carbon emissions

Making small changes like this can directly contribute to reducing carbon emissions, helping to reduce global warming. It may not feel like much but when a lot of people do it, it soon starts to make a real difference. If you want to take things a step further by using renewable energy, there are positive changes you can make even if you’re not in a position to install a domestic solar panel or windmill. Some energy suppliers offer inexpensive green tariffs which guarantee that they’ll source an amount of energy from renewable sources that’s equivalent to the amount you use.

Cutting fuel bills

If you feel your fuel bills are already too high, don’t worry — these simple changes can help to reduce them. In winter, you can make further savings by only heating the rooms you really need to use and by using efficient heating technologies. For instance, a small oil heater can be quite sufficient to warm up the bathroom before you take a shower or bath, so you don’t need to have a radiator running in there all the time.

A chance to redecorate

Making your home more energy efficient is a great excuse to redecorate. Choosing shutters, curtains or rugs can help you introduce a new colour scheme, and you can even put up new, insulating wallpaper. An attractive new throw for the sofa can double as a snuggle blanket in winter, so you don’t have to turn the heat up as high. It’s all about getting creative!

Simon OatesEnergy efficiency in the home: small changes, long-lasting benefits

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