Top 10 Affordable Ways to Make Your House Energy-Efficient and Save Money Today

Making your house energy efficient isn't easy. Rest assured with years of eco-house and PassivHaus knowledge to draw on, we'll show you the top methods here.

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The energy efficiency of your house is quickly becoming one of the most important considerations when it comes to homeownership and home improvements. Homes that use these 10 techniques can make huge savings on energy bills and they also help protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions. This article will cover the top 10 ways to make your home energy efficient, so keep reading!

1. Install Loft Insulation

Loft insulation is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make your house more energy efficient. The heat inside your home naturally rises through convection, making the top of your property the most likely area it will escape. 

There are now a few options for loft insulation, these are namely the use of loose sheep's wool style insulation which is laid between the ceiling joists or the use of foil insulation on the inside of the roof rafters. 

Both of these options are fantastic ways to save on heating bills and are relatively easy and quick to install. The cost of the average amount of insulation required for a regular attached UK home range between £250 - £500. Which is likely to make a return on savings within 1 - 2 years.

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2. Thermal tape to air leaks

Continuing with the low cost solutions available. For many houses the biggest issue is extreme air leakage. This means that no matter how well heated the property is, the heat escapes through these passages very quickly.

Making the building as externally air tight as possible will often yield massive energy savings, especially in what we call junctions. A junction in a building is any area where there is a corner or a join, say a corner in the wall, or the join between the floor and the wall or a wall and a window etc. 

Often junctions are the primary areas where you will find air leaks and they can be taped over with affordable thermal tape and hidden behind paint, wall paper or skirting board.

You can buy enough thermal tape to do the majority of a standard house for approx. £35. The result is likely to make a return within the first two months.

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3. Replace single glazed windows

Next up is a slightly more expensive endeavour, but one that will yield huge improvements and savings. If your property is still using single glazed windows, it is important to replace them to avoid huge amounts of heat loss. 

With the market improving greatly around this area, access to energy efficient windows is now easier and more affordable than ever before. This is even the case for triple glazed windows which may be only a small increase in price. 

A++ rated triple glazed windows range from £150 to £500 for most standard sizes, bare in mind the cost associated with having an experience tradesperson installing the product. 

You should expect to make a return on investment within 3-4 years depending on the size of your windows and efficiency in other areas of your home. 

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4. Install LED light fittings

LED light fittings are another cheap way to save on electricity costs. LED fittings use on average 90% less energy than incandescent alternatives and have a wealth of options and flexibility that you wont find with other lighting options including strip lighting and colour alterations.

LED strip lighting can be created from LED strips which cost approx. £5 - £10 for 10 metres, affordable LED light fittings for ceilings can be found for as low as £8 per light. You can expect to make a return on this investment after 2-3 months.

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5. Look at smart home and smart thermostat devices 

A system which carefully manages your heating according to rooms your are occupying and whether or not any is present at the property can mean heat is only generated when it is being utilized. 

Many of the smart home and smart thermostat systems are now able to achieve this, making it very easy to make major savings as a result of clever programming. 

Smart thermostats usually cost between £130 - £200 with many being easy enough to install yourself. When programmed correctly, you should expect to make a return on this purchase within 1 year.

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6. Upgrade your appliances

If you are using old washing machines, dishwashers, ovens and the like. Saving on energy bills could be the perfect excuse to make an upgrade.

A++ rated appliances are becoming far more accessible and affordable with comparable prices to the typical prices you can expect to pay. This means these appliances are another no-brainer if you are considering a replacement anyway. 

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7. Provide only cold water to bathroom sinks

This may be a controversial tip but stick with us! 

The washing of hands and use of water at a sink basin can easily be provided with cold water only. In fact - a case study where this was applied to a school building found it saved a huge amount of energy and money from the heating costs. 

This is because - even if the hot water tap is not used - the hot water stored in the tap lets out its heat over time. 

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8. Install a ground / air source heat pump

Ground and air source heat pumps are becoming more and more popular as a new energy efficient alternative to heating your house. 

Heat pumps work by taking heat deep under the ground or from the surround air. This is increased in temperature via a compressor which increases the pressure of the gas, a factor that causes its temperature to rise.

Heat pumps is a more expensive endeavor than those previously mentioned, ranging between £6,000 - £12,000. However with the technologies improvement and recent grants being made available for homeowners. A return on this investment can be expected as quickly as 7-8 years with the future years being savings.

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9. Upgrade your boiler system 

If you are running an old boiler and heating system, upgrading could yield huge savings. 

Upgrading to a new energy efficient boiler - particularly one that can make use of technologies such as heat pumps and photovoltaic panels - can quickly have you saving on your heating bills. 

While new boilers can be expensive at anywhere between £1000 - £2000 to purchase and have installed. Grants are always available which can be used to reduce the cost.

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10. Install photovoltaic panels (solar panels)

Photovoltaic panels - commonly known as solar panels - are a well known way to provide renewable sources of energy for you home. 

These panels capture the sun's heat rays, converting the solar radiation into electricity. Other systems can be used to aid in the heating of how water and the interior temperature. 

PV panels are very dependant on your location and the direction they would be facing. In the northern hemisphere, this is usually as close to south facing as possible on a 22 degree inclined surface / roof.

The technology behind PV panels has improved vastly since the early 2000s with a system being attainable for anywhere between £500 - £2000. These improved systems can be expected to make a return in the right climate after 3-4 years.

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Wrapping Up

If you are looking for ways to make your home more energy-efficient, without committing to major works and construction, these are some great tips to get started!

Not only will making these changes help you save money on your monthly bills, but it can also help reduce your carbon footprint. For even more energy-saving tips, be sure to check out our other articles and projects here on the site.

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