Many energy customers frequently find themselves looking for new ways to reduce their gas and electricity bills, whilst making attempts to cut down their carbon footprint. It’s easier than you might think to reduce your energy usage, and just a few simple changes can make a substantial difference, including using products with high energy ratings that tell you how energy-efficient they are.
What is energy efficiency and why is it important?
Energy efficient products are those that use lower amounts of energy whilst still delivering the performance you expect from them. Modern appliances are generally much more energy-efficient than they once were, which many economical yet highly efficient washing machines, dryers, gas boilers and refrigerators being available on the market.
If you are still using older appliances, you may well wish to replace them with newer, more energy-efficient alternatives that will serve you well for years before they need to be replaced.
You can improve the energy-efficiency of your home in a variety of ways, such as switching to energy-saving light bulbs, only boiling the water that you need and switching appliances off at the mains when you are not using them.
Becoming more energy-efficient is a good idea for many reasons. If you take steps to make your energy go further, you can make a valuable contribution to the environment. When many people increase their energy-efficiency, the strain on power plants and natural fossil fuels is reduced and we can also reduce our dependence on activities such as extractions and mining to source energy.
When demands on power plants are reduced, so are greenhouse gas emissions. Natural resources such as oil, natural gases and coal are becoming scarce, which also means they are rising in cost. When we save energy, we can make these resources last longer.
What are energy efficiency ratings and how can they benefit me?
Many people have been finding it tougher to make their income stretch as far as it needs to over recent years, with large energy bills being just one reason why energy customers are finding themselves out of pocket.
The less energy you use, the more affordable your energy bills will become. Thankfully, it’s possible to cut down your consumption without seriously compromising your comfort levels or your quality of life.
Upgrading your appliances and purchasing goods with high energy ratings may cost you a few pounds initially, but they can help you make outstanding savings in the long term. Most new household appliances come with energy ratings that will help you make the right purchases.
Products such as televisions, vacuum cleaners, fridge-freezers and washing machines usually come complete with energy ratings today.
Appliance energy labels tell you where your appliances rank between A to G in terms of energy consumption. Class A appliances can also be rated A+. A++ and A+++ depending on how efficient they are. A growing number of appliances are achieving A+. A++ and A+++ ratings thanks to improvements in technology, though these rankings will be phased out in the future, with the system reverting back to simply A to G.
Labels are also beneficial for manufacturers and can encourage them to improve the energy-efficiency of their products to maintain trust.
Can insulation improve the energy efficiency of my home?
If you are a homeowner, you can improve the insulation of your property to reduce your energy costs. Approximately a quarter of all the heat generated inside your home may disappear through your walls and roof if adequate insulation is not in place. Some customers can even source free insulation.
Investing in Compact Fluorescent Bulbs is also a wise move. Though these are normally more expensive than conventional bulbs they can last for 12 times longer, with some customers using CFLs for up to a decade before replacing them.
The energy that you use is measured in kWh or kilowatt hours. A kWh equates to 1000 watts of energy being used for an hour. A kWh provides you with 4 hours of television viewing, 286 phone charging hours, 31 hours of laptop use and 80 minutes of microwave usage, to give just a few examples.
What is energy conservation?
There are a few key differences between energy efficiency and energy conservation, with the former generally relating to upgrades and taking advantage of technological advancements to cut bills and reduce waste.
Energy conservation is generally focussed on changing behaviours to cut fuel consumption, such as switching off appliances when they are not in use and only using lights when they are required.
What are Energy Performance Certificates?
Switching to energy-efficient products and seeking out solutions with the best energy ratings can help you make your household budget go further and make your lifestyle much more energy-efficient. Energy ratings tell you how products compare with one another in terms of energy-efficiency.
It’s also possible to order a survey that will tell you how energy efficient your home is. Energy Performance Certificate bands are used to tell you the environmental impact of your property, with inspectors using software to make calculations.
The test can take 1-2 hours, depending on how big your property is, and how it is laid out. You will receive information about your fuel costs, energy use and CO2 emissions and will gain advice about how you can boost the home energy performance. The higher your rating is, the more energy-efficient your home will be. The higher your CO2 rating is, the lower the impact of your home on the environment.
Your Certificate will feature a Standard Assessment Procedure or SAP rating. There are seven bands included, with A being the most efficient and G being the least. You can improve your SAP rating by investing in solutions such as thermal insulation, condensing boilers, double glazing, low energy lighting and cavity insulation.
The report will tell you how much you are currently spending on lighting, hot water and heating and how much you could save by making suggested improvements. It is essential that the survey is conducted by a professional who is fully competent to carry it out and provide quality advice. You may wish to book a survey every one or two years so any changes that you have made can be assessed..
There are sizeable savings to be made when you make your home more energy-efficient. By obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate and complying with the recommendations you are given, you can spend less on fuel and make your property more eco-friendly.