Over the last few months, the debate over energy bills has led to lots of discussion on the internet and in the media about how to save energy at some. Some if it has been very useful, but there have lots of recommendations made that have our staff boil with rage. So, here are a few nuggets of wisdom from our team busting a few energy efficiency myths…
Keeping your heating on low all the time is better than putting it on intermitantly
Wrong! Essentially this is conflating two different things. The first is that it uses less energy to heat your house if you keep it a little cooler. The second is that it uses less energy to heat your house if you only heat it when you need to heat it. If you are happy with a cooler temperature then great, but it’s still a waste to have your heating on when you don’t need it! The most cost effective way to keep comfortable is to programme your heating to heat your house to the right temperture for when you need it. This will usually mean it coming on slightly before you come home or get up and going off before you go out or to bed. How long before will depend on how quickly your house heats up and cools down, which depends on how well insulated it is. The better insulated it is, the less time it will need and the cheaper it will be!
Double glazing puts pounds in your pocket
Despite what certain celebrities may say in their TV ads, double glazing is generally one of the least cost effective energy measures. It may be worthwhile for comfort, security and noise but will rarely pay for itself in pure energy bill savings in under 40 years. There are some cheaper alternatives out there such as acrylic secondary glazing or even the “cling-film” equivalent. These will save you a big chunk of the energy for a fraction at the cost – albeit without some of the security/aesthetic benefits.
Electric heating (of almost eny description) is ever a good option
If anyone tries to tell you on-peak electric radiator panels, electric underfloor heating or heated glass is a good thing, then send them packing ASAP. They may try and convince you by saying they are highly efficient, but propbably won’t tell you what they are efficient at – namely converting something very very expensive and very CO2 intensive into heat. That is not the same as being cost-effective!
Standby for savings
Although the media likes using pictures of standby lights to designate energy wasted, standby, especially for a modern appliance, accounts for a tiny proportion of your energy use. While every little helps, there are much better things to obsess about. One great example is making sure you only heat the rooms you use. It sounds obvious, but many people forget that they’re heating an unused guest room most of the time – something that can be solved with the addition of a thermostatic radiator. Of course it’s good to start with easy wins, but sometimes that can distract us from the really important things.
Of course if you really want to know how to reduce energy use in your home, and to cut your bills, get yourself a Home Energy Masterplan!