Centre for Sustainable Energy: how to reduce your home energy and bills 

Want to reduce your home’s energy use and save money but not sure where to start?

About 17% of the UK’s carbon footprint comes from heating our homes, so improving your home’s efficiency isn’t just good for your pocket – it’s good for the planet too.

The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is an award-winning charity supporting people and organisations across the UK to tackle the climate emergency and end the suffering caused by cold homes. CSE’s free energy advice service, Cosier Homes, offers impartial advice, resources, and individual support to help you make your home more energy efficient.

William, an Energy Advisor from the Cosier Homes team at CSE, shares his top tips on what to think about when making energy efficiency changes to your home.

Heat loss from different parts of a home

You might be surprised by how much heat is lost from different parts of a home. It’s not always what you’d think.

Every home is different, but for cost effectiveness, I usually recommend you consider energy efficiency measures in this order:

1. Draughtproofing

Draughts can be responsible for up to 15% of heat lost from your home. They occur around windows and doors, where pipes or electric cables enter your home, and up between bare floorboards. You can stop draughts by using draughtproofing strips made of rubber, foam or brushes. You can buy them online and at most DIY shops. They’re not very expensive and can save you an average of £123 per year. See more information on how to do your own draughtproofing.

2. Loft insulation

The recommended levels of loft insulation have increased – it’s now recommended that your insulation is 27cm thick. You might think you have the recommended amount but it’s worth checking. You can top up your insulation yourself by following our loft insulation factsheet, or you might be able to access funding for a professional installation. Call our free Advice Line on 0800 038 6345 if you want to find out if you’re eligible.

3. Wall insulation

If you have cavity walls it’s worth having them filled. This too is often fully funded so do call us if you want to check if you’re eligible. If your walls are solid, then internal or external wall insulation will help to reduce the 35% of your home’s heat that is lost through your walls. Check out this video where one of our clients describes their experience getting external wall insulation.

4. Windows & Doors

Draughtproofing windows and doors can significantly reduce heat loss. If you have uPVC doors and windows that are draughty, you can buy special replacement uPVC seal strips online and install them yourself or ask a handyperson to do it for you. This is much cheaper than replacing the entire door or window. If any of your double-glazed windows are misty, it means the internal seal has failed. Before replacing the entire window though, check with a glazing company if they can replace the failed pane. This is usually much cheaper. If the windows were installed less than 15 years ago, it’s also worth checking the warranty. If the warranty is still valid, any replacements will usually be free, even if you did not own the house when the glazing was installed. If your existing windows are only single pane, it may well be worthwhile upgrading to double glazed or getting secondary glazing installed.

For more information about improving the energy efficiency of your home’s doors and windows, check out our webpage.

5. Floor Insulation

If you live in a house or a ground floor flat, you could consider having the floor insulated to prevent heat from escaping into the ground below your home. You can do this for both concrete and timber floors.  I’ve put floor insulation at the bottom of this list because it’s often the least cost-effective option for the amount of energy you save. This is because it can be a lot of work to remove flooring, insulate underneath it, and replace it, or put insulation on top of existing flooring and adjust doors and skirting afterwards. However, if you have access to the underside of your ground floor, such as in a cellar, insulating your floors from below can be much cheaper and is worth considering, especially if your floor feels cold in winter. We have a webpage on floor insulation too!

If you’d like more advice about how best to approach improving the energy efficiency of your home, get in touch with the Cosier Homes free and impartial advice service. You can call us on 0800 038 6345 or email cosierhomes@cse.org.uk. You can also fill in a form on our website.

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