How green is your home and central heating system?

How green is your home and central heating system?

Many people pay a lot for heating with oil or gas boilers. This cost will rise when the April 2022 price cap on energy bills goes away.

Did you know that home heating is the UK’s most polluting sector? A small terraced house with an insulated loft and modern gas-fired boiler can produce 2.75 tonnes of climate-warming greenhouse gasses per year. This is equivalent to driving 11,770 miles on an average car, or 11 round trips from Rome to and back.

Home heating doesn’t have to be expensive or harmful to the environment. Eco heating can reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment. It also keeps you warm and lowers your monthly bills. They could be made available to anyone, regardless of their income, with the right government investment.

What are your options if you’re a homeowner who wants to reduce your energy consumption and carbon emissions?

These 12 simple tips will help you save energy

Insulation is the best option.

To determine the best insulation options for your home, you can pay around PS50 for an energy assessment (the government has a list of accredited assessors ). Many options aren’t difficult to choose from so it’s easy to make your own decisions. The Energy Savings Trust has an abundance of independent advice available on its website.

Here are 12 ways to save energy starting with the most expensive.

1. Make sure you use your boiler efficiently

This will help you save money and reduce carbon emissions. A combi-boiler heats radiators and gives hot water on demand. Set the heating control to 60-65C as this is the optimal temperature for boiler efficiency. You can set the hot water temperature to lower temperatures. There is no need to heat water too hot to make it cool. If you have a hot-water tank, you will need to heat the water to 60C to prevent legionnaires’ disease. Otherwise, it should be between 45-50C.

2. Your thermostat should be adjusted

Set your thermostat to 18oC or less and see if that helps. Your energy consumption can be reduced by 10% by lowering your thermostat one degree. This will result in a savings of around PS80 per year. You can also get a plumber to install thermostatic radiator valves on your radiators. This will allow you to keep the most used rooms warmer and the rest of the rooms cooler.

3. Consider draft-proofing

Draft-proofing can be a cost-effective, simple, and inexpensive option. The Simple Energy Advice website has a brief explanation video that explains what you should do.

4. Explore loft insulation

The roof can lose around 25% of the heat. Loft insulation is a DIY project that can be done by anyone. It should be repaid in less than two years.

5. Exterior walls should be treated

Stormdry, a transparent paint that can be applied to exterior walls, is a cheap option. This prevents brickwork from absorbing rainwater, which can reduce heat loss by about 10%. It should be repaid in five years.

6. Try money saving smart devices

Credit: Russell Hardman/Friends of the Earth

The rapid development of technology to make our homes more efficient in using energy is a sign of how technologically advanced we are. Smart thermostats can learn about how your home heats up and cools down and adjust heating according to the weather. They can also switch heating on and off depending on whether you are home. The payback time is approximately 5 years and will reduce your energy use by at least 5%. has recently reviewed the options. Smart radiator valves can be purchased to program individual radiators in different rooms. These can be quite expensive at around PS60 per unit. However, depending on how often you use your home, they may be worthwhile.

7. Insulate your walls

Cavity walls are two layers of brick with a gap between them that were common in homes built after 1920. It is a skilled job, but it will pay off in 4 years.

Credit: Russell Hardman/Friends of the Earth

8. Insulate your underfloor

Most people consider underfloor insulation a professional job. This involves either removing floorboards, hanging insultation between joists or placing small robots under floor insulation. The payback time will take longer depending on the property. It may take up to 10 years.

9. There are still many insulation options available for homes with solid walls.

The UK has approximately 8 million properties with solid walls. These properties are more difficult to insulate. These are the two most common options. They cost approximately PS10,000 and PS8,000 respectively. Internal thin wall insulation, which is as efficient as 70-80% and can be DIY installed, is a cheaper option. According to a recent government report, the high-tech aerogel was rated the best (better than the latex rolls I have fitted) and costs only around PS80 per m2. Woodfibre ( Diffutherm or Pavadry ) is just as good, cheaper and offers a smaller carbon footprint. However, it must be twice as thick to achieve the same energy savings. Either follow the manufacturer’s instructions or hire a certified retrofit coordinator (PAS2035 Accreditation). Insulating solid walls can make a significant impact on your carbon emissions as well as your energy bills.

10. Replace old doors

Old, poorly-fitting exterior doors can make a huge difference in your home. Draft-proofing is not enough to stop drafts from entering homes because old doors can warp. The door also loses heat. Insulated doors can be expensive. Mine cost PS1,000 per door ten years ago. You will see the benefits in a few decades. It made a huge and immediate difference to our home’s comfort.

11. Replace old windows

Replacement windows, like replacing doors, is not cheap and has a slow payback. However, the noise reduction and comfort are well worth it. A++-rated windows have triple-glazed glass with an inert gas like argon between the panes. Secondary glazing is an option if your windows aren’t in good enough condition. Secondary glazing that is professionally made will last for 10 years. However, it will not be as effective as double- or triple-gazing. Cheap plastic film can be purchased at a DIY shop to be fitted. This will stop some draughts, but it won’t do much else.

Grants and support can help you save money

If you wanted to complete the entire list at once, it would be a huge expense. Your financial situation will determine how much you can do.

You can apply for grants if you are a low-income household, e.g., on benefits less than PS30,000 per year, and you own your home. As part of its strategy to reduce fuel poverty, the government requires that energy companies fund energy efficiency measures. This includes more costly measures like external wall installation. More information is available on the OFGEM website. In the 2021 budget, PS950 million was also allocated to homes not connected to the gas grid. Additionally, additional funds were provided to local authorities for energy efficiency support for low-income households. To find out if grants are available, it is worth calling your local council and your energy company.

The government won’t offer any financial assistance for energy-saving if you don’t live in a low-income household. However, they will provide some support to help you get rid of your boiler and switch to a heat-pump (see below). Nevertheless, you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint by using many of these options.