Save Energy – Save Money
At this time of year thoughts turn even more so to the se of energy as we look to keep our homes warm through the winter period. At Shape Architecture through our Director, we have over 26 years of experience of low energy design and are well able to offer practical and effective advice on low energy design and in particular the upgrade of existing housing. Below we set out a variety of effective approaches.
Energy Saving Tips
Draught proof gaps
This is around doors in particular and also around windows and at open chimneys. There are a wide range of insulated overs to apply to letter boxes. To a draughty door fit a draught excluder to the gaps at the underside of the door. Add draught strips around the edges of the door with self-adhesive edging strips. Cover the keyhole. Add a traditional soft draught excluder to the bottom of the door. Chimney ‘balloons’ or ‘pillows’ are widely available. An old pillow wrapped in a bin bag should also help. To draughty windows consider thick curtains with a liner as a simple measure. Sealing tape fixed to the window frame junctions will address heat loss around the perimeter of the window.
Insulate your loft and walls
Approximately a third of heat is lost through the walls in an uninsulated home and a quarter of heat goes through the roof. To insulate your loft use rolls of mineral wool insulation tightly fitted between the loft joists. This is relatively easy to do with a significant payback. A more efficient approach is once the depth of joists is filled with insulation then a further layer at right angles over the joists is installed. Ensure insulation is tightly fitted at the low-level eaves junction. Do not squash the insulation. The Energy Savings Trust note that if your home was built before the 1920s it is likely to have solid brick external walls. It has no cavity and so no cavity wall insulation. An insulation upgrade to existing solid brick wall can either be applied to the outside or inside of the wall. Applied to the outside would see external insulation boards fixed to the wall and then rendered. This may raise issues in its integration with existing pipework, projecting window cills etc. and may require planning permission. Alternatively, plasterboard panels with insulation bonded to them can be fixed to the inner face on plaster dabs or a some form of liner frame. This will require skirting and services such as power points to be re-set.
Turn off lights and fit LED bulbs
Turning off lights in rooms on leaving makes sense. The Energy Savings Trust note that for every traditional halogen bulb you switch to a similarly bright LED bulb you save around 5kg of CO2 emissions.
Buy energy efficient appliances
An energy efficient appliance such as a fridge or freezer should be the right size for your requirements in the first instance. Washing machines should have ‘load detection’ determining how big or wet a load is so no unnecessary water or energy is used.
Install high performance windows and doors
A great deal of heat in a home is lost through windows and doors. Windows and Doors that comply with current building regulation standards (U Value of 1.4W/m2K) or go further will provide a considerable benefit. The window or door assembly should also be installed to stop air leakage around the frame. Here both the detail and workmanship are important.
Use Renewable Energy
Solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels or heat pumps are all increasingly popular methods of generating ‘free energy’ and are often incentivised with the offer of grants. The incorporation of these technologies will reduce carbon emissions and can be considered once the range of more simple – fabric first elements are addressed
How do energy labels work?
Appliances are tested for how much energy they use during typical use. This gives them a rating on a scale of A to G, with A being the most efficient product of its class, and G being the least efficient. Some appliances use an older scale, from A+++ to G, with A+++ being the most efficient.