This is a question I often ponder to myself after recently moving house (again). The house is relatively old, has single glazed wooden windows at the front of the house, wooden doors and two open fires. It is quite a cold house and I hate to admit it, but I have turned the heating on. My house doesn’t feel like it is very thermally efficient, but how could I find out how efficient it is?
My quest to find out started at the Energy Saving Trust. They have an online tool that allows you to do a Home Energy Check; once it has some info about your home, it gives you suggestions to improve your home and make it more energy efficient. I obviously had a go at this and had a whole reel of suggestions from installing energy efficient double glazing to having solid wall insulation and even doing simple things like draught-proofing my doors. It also gives you a rough estimate cost for each of these improvements, so you can get an idea at how much it could cost to improve your home’s heat retention.
As you can see my home isn’t very good at retaining heat, but I think it is fantastic that this tool shows you how much money and CO2 you could save by carrying out these improvements, and how your Energy Performance Certificate would change.
Energy Performance Certificate
If you are selling, renting or building a home, you need to have an Energy Performance Certificate. This certificate gives you information about the property’s energy use and an average cost of energy usage, as well as some advice on how to reduce the energy usage and help save you money. An Energy Performance Certificate is given to you by an accredited assessor and is graded from A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient).
If you have an Energy Performance Certificate, you can get helpful advice from the EPC adviser, which like the Home Energy Check, gives you advice to make your home more efficient.
Tried and tested
Over the years, we have looked at ways to see how efficient homes are, especially to see how Anglian double glazed windows can prevent heat escaping. We carried out a project called the Thermal Home Survey in Ipswich in 2010 looking at thermal images of homes, before and after installation to see the difference in heat loss. The thermal images showed exactly where a lot of heat was lost in hundreds of homes, which then prompted the owners to take energy saving measures, such as loft insulation, new windows and doors, draught excluders and new fascias and bargeboards.
Other tried and tested techniques to increase your home’s energy efficiency were trialled by our energy blogger, Abbie Clarke. She won an energy monitor in a competition run by Anglian and sent us a diary of events, lifestyle changes and improvements that happened because of the monitor.
A very easy technique to see if heat is escaping your home is looking at your roof during snowy weather. If snow on your roof melts quickly, heat is dispersing out too easily and you may need to invest in some roof insulation. What tips do you have to measure the efficiency of your home?
Let me know in the comments below.