Are you a home owner?

Campbeltown Courier - - FEATURE -

IF YOU’RE a home­owner, there are some other things you can con­sider to im­prove the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of your home. These can be costly to put in place, but will ben­e­fit you in the long term.

Re­new­ables In­stalling re­new­able tech­nol­ogy for your heat­ing or elec­tric­ity can lead to greater sav­ings on your en­ergy bills and ex­tra in­come as a re­sult of the en­ergy you gen­er­ate.

What is re­new­able en­ergy?

Re­new­able en­ergy is gen­er­ated from nat­u­ral re­sources such as the sun, wind and wa­ter, us­ing tech­nol­ogy which en­sures that the en­ergy stores are nat­u­rally re­plen­ished. In­stead of buy­ing all of your en­ergy from sup­pli­ers, you can in­stall re­new­ables tech­nol­ogy (also called mi­cro gen­er­a­tion and low-car­bon tech­nol­ogy) to gen­er­ate your own. What are the ben­e­fits of in­stalling re­new­ables? There are lots of good rea­sons to use re­new­ables. You will be: a) mak­ing use of se­cure and lo­cal re­sources. b) re­duc­ing your de­pen­dence on non-re­new­able en­ergy. c) help­ing to re­duce the pro­duc­tion of car­bon diox­ide and other green­house gases. d) cre­at­ing new jobs in re­new­able en­ergy in­dus­tries. e) re­duc­ing your en­ergy bills. In some cases you can gen­er­ate in­come by selling your sur­plus en­ergy back to your en­ergy provider. There are a va­ri­ety of prod­ucts on the mar­ket that can help you save money. Elec­tric­ity – so­lar pan­els, wind tur­bines, hy­dro. Heat – biomass, ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, so­lar wa­ter heat­ing, ther­mal stores. Be clear on what you want to achieve with your re­new­able tech­nol­ogy. This will in­flu­ence which tech­nol­ogy is most ap­pro­pri­ate for you. Many peo­ple want to save money and re­duce their emis­sions, and it is be­com­ing more pos­si­ble to achieve both. Other fac­tors can have an im­pact, for ex­am­ple: If you need to re­place your boiler or cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem, in­stalling a new biomass boiler or heat pump be­comes more cost-ef­fec­tive. If your pri­or­ity is to save car­bon diox­ide, con­sider wood­fu­elled heat­ing, a large wind tur­bine or a large so­lar PV sys­tem. If you want to do your bit for the en­vi­ron­ment but have limited funds, think about a cheaper op­tion such as so­lar wa­ter heat­ing. If you live in an iso­lated ru­ral prop­erty with no mains elec­tric­ity, you may get the most re­li­able off-grid sup­ply from hy­dro or from a mix­ture of wind and so­lar PV.

In­su­la­tion

Mak­ing sure your home is well in­su­lated can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce un­nec­es­sary heat loss, lead­ing to lower en­ergy bills and a more com­fort­able home. There are many sim­ple yet ef­fec­tive ways to in­su­late your home, which can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce heat loss while low­er­ing your heat­ing bills. Roof and loft In­su­la­tion. A quar­ter of heat is lost through the roof in an unin­su­lated home. In­su­lat­ing your loft, at­tic or flat roof is a sim­ple and ef­fec­tive way to re­duce heat loss and re­duce your heat­ing bills. Loft in­su­la­tion is ef­fec­tive for at least 40 years and it should pay for it­self many times over. Choos­ing loft in­su­la­tion. If your loft is easy to ac­cess and has no damp or con­den­sa­tion prob­lems, it should be easy to in­su­late. It is pos­si­ble to do it your­self. If ac­cess is easy and your loft joists are reg­u­lar, you can use rolls of min­eral wool in­su­la­tion. The first layer is laid be­tween the joists – the hor­i­zon­tal beams that make up the floor of the loft – then an­other layer is laid at right an­gles to cover the joists and make the in­su­la­tion up to the re­quired depth. This can be done by some­one com­pe­tent in DIY or a pro­fes­sional in­staller. About a third of all the heat lost in an unin­su­lated home es­capes through the walls. Heat will al­ways flow from a warm area to a cold one. In win­ter, the colder it is out­side, the faster heat from your home will es­cape into the sur­round­ing air. If your house was built af­ter the 1920s, it is likely to have cav­ity walls. Older houses are more likely to have solid walls. If your home has solid walls, the bricks will have

an al­ter­nat­ing pat­tern: If the brick­work has been cov­ered, you can also tell by mea­sur­ing the width of the wall. Ex­am­ine a win­dow or door on one of your ex­ter­nal walls. If a brick wall is more than 260mm thick then it prob­a­bly has a cav­ity; a nar­rower wall is prob­a­bly solid. Stone walls may be thicker still but are usu­ally solid.

How much could you save by draught-proof­ing?

Draught-proof­ing around win­dows and doors could save you around £25 per year. Draught-free homes are com­fort­able at lower tem­per­a­tures – so you may be able to turn down your ther­mo­stat sav­ing even more on your en­ergy bills. For more in­for­ma­tion on how you can save money, please visit http://www.en­er­gysav­ingtrust.org. uk/ or call Home En­ergy Scot­land to­day on 0808 808 2282.

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