New Year, New Home: How to save money and energy in every type of property

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A new year inspires new beginnings, and for many, this could mean moving home or freshening up an existing property.

Whatever your property plan for 2015, being energy efficient should be a top priority. Not only will being more energy efficient help the environment, but it can also add value to your property and save a significant amount of money on your energy bills every month.

At Zenith Home, we frequently remind our customers that it is wise to mould your energy saving habits around the type of property you live in. So depending on whether you live in (or are moving to) shared accommodation, a bungalow, a flat, a house or an older property, below are some practical tips you should bear in mind:

Shared Accommodation

Shared accommodation usually contains more electrical appliances than the average home with everyone having their own laptops, mobile phones, printers and speakers etc. to charge. Many people don’t realise that leaving appliances on standby still uses up energy, so it is important that appliances are always unplugged if they are not being used. By unplugging unused appliances you can save up to £80 a year on your energy bills*.

Cooking meals individually can also be extremely costly. Not only does it waste energy each time the oven is switched on and off, but it also adds to the washing up. The obvious answer is cooking together, however, this isn’t always the most harmonious choice as house-mates may eat at different times or like different foods.  Alternative cookers use less energy, so investing in a solar box cooker or a pressure cooker can help to reduce your bills as they are more energy-efficient than the traditional oven. Slow cookers are also a great way to save energy and you can get on with other things whilst your dinner cooks throughout the day.

Bungalow

As a bungalow is a single-floor home, it’s always beneficial to install a traditional fireplace. Lighting a fire instead of turning on the central heating will save you a significant amount of money on your energy bills, as the rooms will heat up easily without using energy.

It is also essential that a bungalow has loft insulation, as the larger surface area of the roof, compared to a house, means heat can escape at a quicker rate. Many people don’t realise that loft insulation is effective for at least 40 years and it can save you up to £250 on your energy bills each year, so it is definitely worth consideration*.

Flat or Apartment

20% of your home’s heat escapes through cracks and gaps around doors and windows*. It is common for flats and apartments to have fitted blinds, but these won’t be much help keeping the heat in. Fitting a pair of curtains as well as blinds will help to keep your flat cosy by preventing twice the amount of heat loss.

If you live in larger a flat or apartment block you may find you don’t need to switch the heating on very often, as the heat from neighbour flats will radiate into yours. This is an easy (and slightly cheeky!) way to save money and energy!

House

House owners will reap the benefits of installing A-rated energy efficient double glazing. As many houses have at least one window in each room of the house, energy efficient glazing will help to greatly reduce heat loss and will save you up to £175 per year*.

If your family has a regular daily routine, setting your central heating timer correctly is another simple and easy way to save on your energy bills. Fix the heating to come on for a couple of hours when you wake up, and then for a couple of hours again in the evening. Don’t waste money by having the heating on during the day when no-one is home.

Older properties

We would all love to live in a beautiful Georgian house of a Tudor cottage full of character, but its important to remember that old properties can come with some downsides.

Houses built from the 1990s onwards will have been built with wall insulation, but older properties may not be properly insulated. Approximately a third of all heat lost in an uninsulated home is through the walls, so be sure to have an expert look over your property properly to ensure you have the correct type of wall insulation. Depending on the type of walls your property has, Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) or External Wall Insulation (EWI) will help reduce heat loss, add value to your home and avoid high energy bills.

What’s more, the older your home is, the more likely it will have an old gas boiler with no controls. Replacing your old boiler with an A-rated high efficiency boiler and full set of heating controls will significantly decrease your home’s carbon dioxide emissions and can save you up to £490 a year on your energy bills.

Phil Lamb

*Figures taken from the Energy Saving Trust

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