Imagine a completely energy efficient home; the ideal home of the future, some would argue. The outer-shell of the building has a double-wall construction, three layers of insulation and an impermeable vapour barrier that resists moisture diffusion through the walls. Add in high-tech solar panels, the most nifty and energy efficient appliances money can buy, LED lights and things like a narrower bathtub to use less hot water and you are well on your way. The house is in fact so efficient that you no longer need a boiler or a chimney.
Research has shown that the transfer of energy per annum from 11 solar panels on a roof in the UK would generate sufficient energy to run a dishwasher cycle four times daily; cook five family dinners in an electric oven; operate a tumble dryer; use a vacuum cleaner for more than three hours; support 49 five-hour sessions on a computer and produce sufficient power to make 166 cups of tea. Not bad. Energy efficient design features can certainly add value to your property.
But unfortunately not all of us have the time, money or south-facing roof to make these dreams a reality. Here are some simple energy saving tips in the meantime.
Reduce Draughts: check the weather-stripping on your windows and seal your doors to keep heat from escaping. Closing curtains at night will help windows insulate against heat loss while opening them during the day will let the sun's natural warmth in.
Bleed Radiators: Trapped air in your radiator system will result in radiators being warm at the bottom but cool at the top. This is because warm water cannot make its way round the whole unit. Make sure to bleed them if you notice this is happening.
Turn down Thermostat: reducing the temperature on your thermostat by one or two degrees can save you a lot of money over the course of a year.
Do not Heat Empty Rooms: speaks for itself really. But make sure to keep the doors of these rooms closed to keep the rest of the house warm.
Look After your Boiler: Getting a new boiler can be mighty expensive , but if you have the old girl serviced at least once a year this should not be a problem. Energy efficient condensing boilers waste the least amount of energy.
One big energy company has suggested sharing showers to reduce energy bills. Bit steamy!