At the time of writing this, energy prices are through the roof in Europe. Just last year, major grid failures in Texas lead to surging energy prices that left some people with bills in the thousands of dollars.
With one of the largest energy transformations in centuries, energy prices have never been more volatile.
To protect yourself and your family from rapidly increasing bills, unaffordable electricity, and inefficient heating, you need to take active measures to reduce the energy intensity of your home.
In this article, we’ll go over some steps you can take to reduce domestic energy use.
Heating accounts for 65 to 75% of energy consumption at home (and 58% of the energy bill) — this can run up to thousands of dollars in a year.
The most effective way to reduce this amount is to improve the insulation in the building.
Although insulation might sound like a daunting job that would take days of retrofitting and cost thousands of dollars, that’s just a common misconception. There are small tasks you can do with a great return on investment.
- insulate the attic and protect your home from the outdoor cold.
- insulate the cellar ceiling and make sure you don’t let any breezes in.
- insulate hot water pipes in unheated rooms — this helps reduce the energy required for heating.
- sealing a door that opens outwards — this is very important
- Installing triple-paned windows and sealing them properly. Normally, windows are the major points heat escapes from in homes.
These are small changes that should be accessible to every homeowner — they are easy to implement, and they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Homeowners can also search for spray foam insulation San Antonio near them if they want to ensure the quality of insulation that’s worth their money.
Insulation isn’t without its downsides, however: Major insulation work (roof, walls, floor, replacement of windows…) can be very expensive and it’ll take several years before you see a return on your investment.
That doesn’t mean they’re a bad idea — no, but they’re primarily suitable for homeowners, who will not only benefit from the energy savings, but they can also sell their homes for a higher value later on.
While insulating your home is really important, you have to remember one key fact: regardless of how well-insulated your house is, the heat needs to come from somewhere.
Depending on how efficient (or inefficient) your primary heating system is, your energy bills will look very different.
Once you’ve properly insulated your home, it is time to think about how to heat it: If your home has a central heating system, you can opt for a low-energy-intensity system or a high-energy intensity system (like an instantaneous electric water heater)
Replacing an old, inefficient boiler can save up to 25% of energy (depending on how old the original boiler is and how efficient is the new boiler).
And this is even without upgrading the radiators and improving the water network. All in all, it can have a massive impact on your energy consumption.
If you’re living in an area with mild weather year-round, you probably neither need central heating nor central cooling. In this case, an electric heater for the winter and a fan for the summer should be enough.
Despite these not making up a large percentage of your energy consumption, you nevertheless should opt for more energy-efficient ones.
In this case, it is essential to choose an electric heater with an efficiency higher than 80%.
They guarantee effective heating, which allows you to get the best bang for your buck — not to mention, efficient heaters generally release fewer pollutants.
While the efficiency of the heating system installed is very important, the way it is used is also crucial if you want to avoid wasting energy, fuel, and money.
The ideal way to manage central heating and save up to 25% on energy consumption is by installing a thermostat and thermostatic valves. With these two devices, you can control the temperature in each room in order to perfectly balance comfort and savings.
But you still need to program your thermostat and adjust your valves to suit your lifestyle. Typically, while we are at home, we want to heat our rooms to 19-20 degrees celsius in winter, but what about the time we are away at work?
What about the time we spend away during holidays? By programming your heating around your daily routine, you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling.
But programming the thermostat in itself isn’t an easy task, and it works differently from one central heating system to another.
For example, air conditioning doesn’t work faster if you set the temperature lower, it merely works longer. You need to pay attention to these idiosyncrasies when programming your central heating system to work efficiently.
Sadly, there are heating systems that can’t be controlled at all — this might be a rare example, but what can you do to control your heating system if you use logs to heat up your house? Very little.
In these cases, you still pay attention to how you operate the heating system, nonetheless. For example, the quality of the fuel is crucial. Using low-quality fuel means less efficient heating and more pollutants.