The economic climate is never far from our minds these days, as prices for almost everything continue to rise. Looking at ways that your home could be more energy efficient can lower your bills over time and leave you with more money in your pocket. This could be something as simple as swapping traditional light bulbs for energy-saving ones or as forward-thinking as installing new windows or loft insulation.
There are many things you can do to reduce wasted energy before even picking up the DIY kit or getting the workmen in. Your gas and electric bills can easily be cut by using appliances more efficiently and sparingly. You might want to check the thermostat isn't set too high and that radiators aren't on in rooms which aren't being used. The central heating can be set with a timer and doesn't need to be on when no one is at home. Dishwashers are not always necessary if there isn't a full load and air-dryers can be used instead of energy-consuming tumble dryers.
Other ideas might include wearing more layers of clothing around the house, shutting windows and doors to conserve heat and turning off lights and electrical equipment. Draughts can be prevented with tape around windows, excluders under doors and curtains with thermal lining. These little improvements are all about changing your approach to energy saving. When filling the kettle, only use the amount of water you actually need to make a cup of tea, for example. This way, additional energy is not wasted on heating the extra water.
When it comes to changing your home to save energy, there's a long list of improvements you can make. Insulation doesn't have to stop at the loft - cavity walls can account for a huge amount of heat being lost so having these filled can make a big difference. Fitting the water tank with a jacket will also help to make it work more efficiently for your home and you can even have cladding put on external walls.
It's especially important to evaluate your home's eco-status if it's an old building and doesn't meet today's standards. Windows are required to have an energy-efficiency rating of C or above now. Installing A-rated windows will give you the maximum insulation possible, which will reduce bills considerably. Other long-term solutions also include new technology such as solar heating for the whole house.
It can be difficult financially but a few investments can reap bigger rewards in the future. Home improvements can cut your bills by a significant amount but one of the most important things is simply being energy conscious and having a green attitude towards your home.