10 ways to save energy

10 Ways To Save Energy - lets-do-diy.comGordon Miller, founder of whatgreenhome.com, provides ten tips for greening your own home that will save you money and help prevent climate change in honour of Energy Saving Week (19-25 October 2009):
  1. Insulate in the attic because hot air rises and you could be losing as much as 15% of the home's heat through the roof, costing you £110 and the environment one tonne of CO2 per year. Current recommendations are for 270mm of insulation. B&Q has a recycled plastic loft insulation product made from 90% recycled plastic bottles. Each rolls covers 1.48m2, and is priced £11.98. Grants are available for loft and cavity wall insulation.
  2. To stop heat escaping through your windows, draw the curtains at night, or install a primary or secondary glazing system, such as EcoGlaze by Access Plastics UK Ltd. The product comes as different sized easy to fit acrylic sheets that are attached to the interior of a window frame with a magnetic strip. Prices start from £40 per m2.
  3. Install energy efficient lights bulbs which last far longer than normal bulbs. They cost a bit more than ordinary ones but you'll find plenty of places giving them away free, perhaps your energy supplier. From September 2009 you'll only be able to buy low energy light bulbs. Osram has a several ranges of bulbs. (Pictured are ‘Parathom' bulbs, priced at £5.99 each). Available from Osram or at most stockists such as B&Q.
  4. Fit air-flow taps and showerheads. For example, the ecocamel showerhead reduces the flow rate of water per minute from 12 litres with a conventional showerhead to 6.7 litres. Over a year, a family of four will save 30,000 litres of water and knock around £140 off their annual energy bill, or up to £250 if they have a water meter. Priced at £24.95.
  5. If you have an older style toilet (fitted pre-1991) you could be wasting three litres with every flush compared to a modern low flush toilet which uses six litres per flush. Adding a displacement device, such as Hippo the Water Saver, will reduce the amount of water used per flush, saving as much as 40% annually. The price is just £1.95 from BigGreenSmile.com.
  6. An alternative to buying a new boiler is to ‘Tag on a tadpole'. This innovative ‘green gizmo' improves the efficiency of heating systems by minimising the dissolved air that makes water slower to heat up. Savings can amount to several hundred pounds and up to a tonne reduction in CO2 emissions annually. (The average home accounts for six tonnes of CO2 per year.) Easy to fit by a capable plumber or heating engineer, Tadpole is priced at £195.
  7. If you need a new boiler choose a condensing boiler which will save about 1.7 tonnes of CO2 and £200 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. You can have a gas, electric, biomass or oil-fired condensing boiler. Prices start from around £400 for a combi condensing boiler, rising to £1,500 and higher dependent on the capacity required.
  8. Reuse and salvage rather than buy new. Not only will you doing your bit for the environment by re-using items that have already been made (which cuts down on embodied energy CO2 emissions), but you can create a unique look by combining classic fittings and fixtures with contemporary ones - and save yourself money in to the bargain. SalvoWEB has lots of useful information.
  9. Go ones step further and consider rainwater harvesting or grey water recycling (from baths and showers for reuse in your toilet). Rainwater harvesters can be a simple as fitting a downspout from your roof into a recycled plastic water butt (priced from £29.98 at B&Q), or a more sophisticated model such as those sold by BigGreenSmile.com.
  10. The holy grail for many greens is to produce their own electricity from renewable sources - such as the sun, wind, water, biomass (burning of timber either logs or pellets) or ground source heat. You'll need solar panels or tubes to produce hot water and photovoltaic (PV) panels to convert sunlight to electricity. You can even export it to the mains and earn income. The Energy Saving Trust has a directory of reputable manufacturers and suppliers who have signed up to its scheme.

And if you are looking for professional help, visit The Green Register. The Green Register is an independent, self-funded organisation which promotes sustainable building practices. Its register of members - including architects, tradesmen and manufacturers - is freely available on the website.

For more information on whatgreenhome.com visit www.whatgreenhome.com

N.B. The information contained in this story is provided by the supplier and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of lets-do-diy.com.

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