World Environment Day falls on Friday, June 5th of this year; this is a UN backed initiative that happens annually with the goal that it will encourage people to be more environmentally conscious and aware. Through efforts in the mainstream media and with the rise in popularity of activists like Greta Thunberg on social media, we’re now in a world where we are regularly encouraged to improve our carbon footprint. Not only is it a moral and world issue and concern, we should also remember that being climate conscious like this will allow us to actually save money in household costs in the long term…below we outline some recommendations to do this for both inside and outside the house…
Inside the House
- Check Your Boiler
Keeping your boiler in check should ensure that you don’t encounter any inconvenient breakdowns or costly interventions from plumbers. The experts recommend that you have your boiler serviced once a year in order for it to be as efficient as possible. It’s also important to remember that an efficiently running boiler will ensure it’s operating at its optimum thus helping to keep those running costs consistent or at the very least, under control. Furthermore, ask your heating expert about whether you are using the best boiler for your family’s needs; for example, if you have a large family and the hot water is in regular use, a good option is a regular boiler. If it’s a smaller household i.e. not using as much hot water, then a combi-boiler might be a more efficient choice but your heating contractor/plumber will guide you further on this with expert advice; check out the Google reviews of any prospective plumber before you contact them to get a good insight into the quality of their work. The experts say that the average boiler should last 10-15 years and interestingly they also say that the boiler accounts for up to 60% of your energy costs so it’s definitely something that should be carefully looked at.
- Monitor Usage
According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), a homeowner who installs heating controls to monitor / oversee their home heating system will typically see reductions in energy usage by up to 20%. Not only will this reduce your heating bill, it will of course on a long term basis reduce your carbon footprint. While there might be some installation costs required at the outset, the good news is that the SEAI has a grant in place that can assist homeowners on this. More on this on the official SEAI website here.
It might seem like an obvious suggestion but a homeowner should make it a project to check all lightbulbs within the home and ensure they’re energy efficient. To lower initial outlay costs, the homeowner could resolve to change “older” lightbulbs as they blow/die with the more energy efficient versions. Or a homeowner could isolate the five most used lights in the home and begin their energy efficiency project by replacing those with newer energy efficient bulbs. After natural sunlight, LED spotlights and CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light – energy-saving bulbs) are probably the most energy efficient lights. They’re long lasting and provide all the brightness you need.
Outside the House
- Window / Door Upgrade
Did you know that in the average home, a quarter of the heat generated disappears via the windows. If you pick the right windows, you can vastly reduce the loss of your home’s heat, as well as reducing the risk of condensation which can cause other issues for homeowners. Senator Windows manufactures and supplies energy-rated windows, so you know from the outset that you’re buying responsibly and working towards reducing your household energy costs. Our network of dealers are highly experienced and are well placed to advise you on the best window solutions including replacement and upgrading of windows in your home as part of your home energy efficiency project. We love the excellent actionable advice from our Design Expert Denise O’Connor in her recent post “Double Vs Triple Glazing” whereby she explains that the window glazing options you choose can be mixed throughout the home depending on what way your property faces; this will make the most of natural sunlight and also focus on areas that need that extra bit of glazing insulation depending on their aspect. A similar logic applies for a good front door. Our composite doors are not only stylish; they’re also highly energy efficient, durable and are built for weather resistance (ideal for those living in weather-exposed areas).
- Solar Panels
Installing solar panels on the roof of your home is a fantastic way to reduce (and even eliminate) your energy bills while using a natural resource like the sun. It’s important to note that there are two types of household solar energy. Solar PV (Photovoltaic) converts the sun’s energy into household electricity, and solar thermal, which allows you to heat your water and cut down on your heating bills. Get advice from a local solar heating expert on whether your existing boiler is compatible for a change to solar panels and encouragingly again, you may qualify for a grant from the SEAI – more here on solar thermal heating grants and more here on solar PV grants from the SEAI!
It’s important to note too that some or all of these actions above could positively impact on your property’s BER – an improved BER can add value to your home so this is relevant if you plan on selling your property in the future.