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blog posts tagged with energy-efficiency

Can the Green Deal Save You Cash?

An energy efficient home is far more than an eco-home with a compost toilet and a turf roof. By maximising your energy efficiency you can potentially save hundreds of pounds per year. You can also have a much nicer home; a home that is warm in the winter. So what is the Green Deal and how can it help to make your home more energy efficient?

The Green Deal is a scheme devised by the government to help households pay for home improvements that can reduce energy bills. The idea is that instead of taking out a loan to pay for big home improvements such as installing double-glazing or a new energy efficient boiler, you pay for the improvements via savings made on your electricity bill. And if this sounds way too good to be true don’t worry because it really is a very good scheme; or at least it is for most households.

Green Deal Stamp

A Green Deal for Everyone

Unlike some government sponsored schemes, the Green Deal is open to everyone. You don’t have to be on a low income to qualify for Green Deal grants. Anyone can apply for Green Deal money, although those on a low income will be eligible for extra assistance. The Green Deal is even available to tenants, the only caveat being that a tenant must get their landlord’s permission as the repayments are tied to the property rather than the tenant. You can also apply for Green Deal money if you have an electricity meter.

How the Green Deal Works

Borrowing money to pay for energy efficiency improvements via the Green Deal initiative is fairly straightforward. Unlike a regular loan, Green Deal repayments shouldn’t cost you any more per month than what you are currently paying out on bills. Because the Green Deal scheme is supposed to save you money on your energy bills, once the energy improvements have been made, your energy bills will be lower and therefore there will be no net increase in annual expenditure.

Repayments are the amount you are predicted to save on your bills, plus interest. The repayments are spread over a long period of time – between 10 and 25 years. The money is deducted directly from the electricity account, so if you move home, the debt stays with the property.

To apply for Greed Deal funding, you need to invite a Green Deal assessor to come and check out your home. This part of the process isn’t free, so make sure you shop around for one of the cheaper organisations. You should also check that whomever you invite is a member of the Greed Deal scheme. There may also be free assessment deals available in your area – so check before you pay for an assessment.

Eligible Home Improvements

There are lots of home improvements you can make with Green Deal funding:

  • Double-glazing
  • Loft insulation
  • Replacement boiler
  • Solar panels
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Solid wall insulation

One important thing to note is the some of the more expensive home improvements will require a portion of the payment upfront. The reason for this being that the energy savings you are predicted to make will not cover the cost of the installation entirely. So do make sure you can afford to inject some cash into the deal before you apply for funding.

Once you have had your energy assessment done, you can shop around for the cheapest quote for the work. You are not obliged to have the work carried out by the company that did the Green Deal assessment, even if they imply you are. So don’t be ripped off – get at least three quotes before you sign on the dotted line.

Here are some useful links for more information on Green Deal;

green deal footer banner

Anger the Energy Company by Saving Big with These Smart Thermostats

Heating the home is by far the biggest utility cost during the winter months for home owners. You may not be aware, but up to twenty five percent of your energy consumption in peak months comes from the use of home heating through central systems, which is why so many people are moving to energy efficient designer home radiators and other methods to keep energy costs lower. It wasn't too long ago that thermostats for heating the home were standard devices: they couldn't be programmed and lots of energy was lost due to inefficiencies. We now have the ability to save on across-the-home heating by updating our thermostats and using 21st century solutions to heat the home. Below, we will discuss some of these awesome solutions that, when coupled with single-room heating solutions like radiators, can save you big money each and every winter.

Total Connect Comfort

We lose so much energy through improper insulation and leaving the heater running constantly to avoid the cold when we get off of work. If there was a solution to fix at least one of those problems, would you act upon it? The Total Connect Comfort system is an innovation by Honeywell that functions with compatible Honeywell smart thermostats, and can be operated from anywhere in the world through a mobile application. The app's interface gives you the ability to adjust the temperature for the entire house, or just for one room. The thermostat can be configured to turn on before you get home and turn off when you leave the house, which saves tons of energy and makes sure that you're never cold. Various Connect Comfort systems are available, with thermostats starting at as little as £100.

Rogers Smart Home Monitoring

Using your heat sparingly can help save energy, as can using a combination of column radiators and central heating. To get the most out of your central heat potential, you can install a solution like the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring system. Much like the Honeywell system, this works with various Rogers thermostats and can be controlled through the use of mobile technology. Not only can you adjust the thermostat when at home from the unit itself, but you can also do so when out and about. The system will even learn your heating preferences and set a schedule that is optimal for saving energy and preserving comfort.

Smart Air Conditioner

You can purchase heated towel rails to keep your towels warm, and a bathroom radiator to do the same for your bathroom, but what about the home as a whole? Samsung wasn't about to be outdone by its competitors, and as such has introduced its Smart Air Conditioner line of thermostats. Don't let the name fool you: it can be used year-round for home climate control and management, and usually runs around £150 for a compatible thermostat and system. Integrated with mobile apps, real-time statistics are delivered to any mobile device for review and input. This will allow you to make any changes in the home's temperature as necessary. Planning to come home early? You can override the smart schedule to warm things up before you get there. You'll also be able to activate settings such as the clean air wizard and smart saver energy feature whenever needed.

Saving energy and maintaining comfort during the winter months is a prime objective for most. Just in case you were wondering, all of these aforementioned systems can also be used in the summer months for cooling the home efficiently. With all of these savings, you may want to invest in single-room radiators and heated towel racks to increase the winter comfort of your home, or simply save that money for another purpose. Whatever your decision, it will surely irritate the utility companies who continue to want to earn pound after pound of your hard-earned income.

Keep Heating Bills Under Control by Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

Heating bills are a significant drain on most people’s household budgets. Of course it is possible to live without central heating, but it isn’t easy, especially during the cold winter months. If you have young children or elderly relatives living in your home, the cold can even be dangerous, so instead of trying to save money by switching the heating off, make your home more energy efficient instead.

Loft Insulation

Heat rises, so if you have zero or insufficient loft insulation in place, a large percentage of heat generated by your central heating will disappear through the roof of your home. This is great if you are comfortable heating the neighbourhood, but not so great if you want to save money on your heating bill. To improve things, check how much loft insulation you have. The Energy Saving Trust recommends a minimum of 270mm mineral wool loft insulation, so if you have less, top it up.

Cavity Wall Insulation

Homes also lose a lot of heat through un-insulated walls. New homes typically have cavity walls whereas older homes are more likely to have solid walls. But either way, it is possible to insulate the walls and reduce heat loss, so make sure you check the status of your walls.

Fix Draughty Windows and Doors

Doors and windows are another primary area of heat loss in the home. New double-glazed windows are very energy efficient, but if you have older timber windows, they are probably draughty and not very energy efficient. Replacing old windows with nice new ones is the ideal solution, but sadly this is a costly route to take. A cheaper option is to fit plastic film over your windows and repair any holes or gaps around the edge of the frames. In the case of ill-fitting doors, fit draught excluder strips around the edges and along the bottom, or install a heavy curtain to block draughts.

Regular Boiler Service

Ideally a boiler should be serviced every year, particularly if it is an older one. Regular servicing will help to ensure your boiler is running efficiently and reduce the likelihood of parts wearing out. If your boiler is very old, you will be able to save money by installing a new energy efficient one. You may even be eligible for a grant to do this.

Bleed Radiators

Over time air and gases can build up inside radiator circuits. These manifest as cold spots in certain radiators, so no matter how high you turn up your heating, the affected room never feels particularly hot. The best way to prevent this from happening is to bleed your radiators. Try and do this once per year.

Turn Down the Thermostat a Degree

Turning down the room thermostat a notch will make a big difference to your heating bills. Setting the thermostat to a balmy 26 degrees may make your home feel like sunny Spain, but instead of lounging around in a t-shirt and shorts whilst complaining about the price of gas, try putting a few more layers on and setting the room thermostat to 19 degrees instead. Your bank account will thank you.