If you are in the process of building a new house, its location on the section and window sizing should be such that it is able to soak up as much passive energy from the sun as possible, no matter what the season. This coupled with good insulation will ensure that precious heat is not wasted. In fact research shows that if every home in the country had adequate insulation in just their ceiling, the country would save seven per cent on residential electricity use. In addition to decent insulation in your home, choosing the most appropriate heating is another important aspect. A fair amount of research should be done prior to installation. Attractive open fireplaces are certainly a thing of the past and should be replaced with a new, high-efficiency, clean burning wood fire. Pellet fires too are becoming increasingly popular and are one of the most environmentally friendly ways of heating. Wood pellets emit up to 0.7 grams of fine particle soot for every kilogram of fuel burnt compared to almost 1 gram from the cleanest wood burner. Popular too are heat pumps, tripling in sales over the last six years and consistently improving in efficiency. These reverse cycle heating units take heat from the air outside your home and transfer it inside and are up to five times more efficient than a conventional electric heater. There are huge differences in efficiency and running costs throughout the heat pump range so it is important you get one matched to the size of the area you are wanting to heat. Another way to ensure efficiency within the home is to insulate your hot water cylinder. This will prevent unnecessary heat loss. Further advances in energy efficiency include using solar power to heat water and recently some homeowners have invested in domestic wind turbines which are becoming increasingly efficient and more affordable. Where appliances are concerned, choose Energy Star* rated appliances and low energy ecobulbs, switch off lights when not in use and appliances at the wall.