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How To Make Big Cuts In The Energy You Use In Your Home, And Your Energy Bills - Articles Surfing
Concern over energy consumption has grown greatly in recent years. Gas and electricity prices have been at record highs, hitting homeowners in their pockets. Plus there is a growing realisation amongst the general public that our energy consumption is causing global warming, which is leading to growing problems with our climate. In a recent Henley Centre survey, over 62% of respondents said that climate change is the biggest single problem facing the world today.
We use a great deal of energy in our homes. Our homes account for over a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in northern countries like the UK. However, reducing your home's energy consumption is in most cases quite easy. It can also be very lucrative: some of the major actions you can take to reduce your home's energy consumption pay back very quickly, and so you soon start saving a small fortune. There are 4 or 5 simple measures that almost every householder should focus on.
1. Insulate your home. By keeping more of the warmth in your home in winter, you will save a small fortune on your heating bills. The most common types on insulation to install are in the loft and also in the gap between your external walls (called 'cavity wall insulation'). You can also insulate your floors and walls. Not only will this save you money, but your home will be more comfortable in winter and cooler in summer. Plus in the UK, because the government subsidises insulation, the investment needed will normally payback in under 2 years. Moreover, on average you will be preventing 1 to 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted each year.
2. Upgrade to a super-efficient condensing boiler. Your boiler is the main energy user in the house. Modern condensing boilers are far more efficient than some models made even 5 years ago. They use far less gas, and can save you up to 40% off your heating bills as a result. They last for around 15 years so the savings really add up over time. Plus by doing this you are saving an estimated 1.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
3. Replace your light bulbs with low energy bulbs. These use up to 80% less electricity used by traditional incandescent bulbs, and are now indistinguishable in terms of the light they emit. Plus they last up to 10 times longer. So as well as cutting your electricity bills, you don't have to get the ladder out so often to replace bulbs that have blown. Now that these bulbs have come down in price, they can payback their extra cost in a very short time (only a couple of months) in terms of lower electricity bills.
4. Install energy efficient home appliances. Replacing your old fridge with the most energy efficient models can save you a small fortune on your electricity bills. In fact with the most energy efficient models, the savings can actually add up to cover the entire cost of the new fridge! Plus you can also buy other energy efficient appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers. In the EU all appliances carry an energy efficiency rating, so it is easy to spot the most efficient.
5. Install a solar hot water system. This is the most expensive of the measures mentioned in this article, but still worth doing, even in northern climates. A solar system can provide up to 70% of your hot water needs in a year, saving on your gas bills. Using solar panels mounted on the roof, solar hot water systems can be installed in most houses. This is a tried and tested technology, and you may qualify for a government grant to help with the cost of installation.
By taking these 5 measures, the average householder can save hundreds of pounds a year off their energy bills, and prevent several tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. Even taking one or two of these steps has a big impact.
Plus for those who want to make an even bigger reduction in their home's energy use, there are also more advanced measures to be considered such as solar electricity and ground source heat pumps. These generally cost more, but can allow your home to lower even further its impact on Climate Change.
With energy prices set to stay high, and time running out to prevent harmful changes in the earth's climate, it really does make sense to improve our homes as soon as possible to include these measures.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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