With the Russian conflict in Ukraine, and before then the price shock in the energy sector it’s all too easy to see what is coming with regards to heating costs in the UK.
Energy bills are rising sharply and will continue to do so.
It’s having a dramatic impact on people’s finances, it’s also having a dramatic impact on energy suppliers, with a record number already collapsing, putting thousands of people out of work.
In October 2021 the government produced their Heat and Buildings strategy, which sets out plans on how the UK will cut carbon emissions by changing the way we heat our homes. This publication also outlines how workplaces and public buildings can also cut emissions.
But is this strategy enough?
This strategy includes a grant of £5,000, which is available from April this year for homeowners in England and Wales as part of a “Boiler Upgrade Scheme” to support the installation of low carbon heating systems in homes. The installation of the widespread use of hydrogen gas in heating systems is now being delayed until 2026, but it’s hoped that a new £60 million Heat Pump Ready innovation programme will help to grow the electric heat pump market.
Despite these positive developments, it’s regarded by some they don’t go far enough. One issue, which has been raised is that little has been done to address improving the energy performance of existing homes in the UK. A recent report from National Energy Action (NEA) warns that average domestic heating bills have soared by over £230 per customer compared with last winter. They further add that the anticipated increase to the energy price cap in April will see the average combined domestic dual fuel bill increase by a further £550 per year.
Now is the perfect time to start taking action and combating the cost of heating your home.
According to the Building Research Establishment (BRE), houses built during the industrial revolution still make up a large percentage of many urban areas. Over 50% of UK’s homes were built before 1965. Over 30% were built before 1945, and around 20% were built before 1919. The fact is we are not a nation of new homes. We need to be aware of this and look at ways we can reduce the rising cost of heating our older homes.
Ideas to consider:
1. Energy Saving Bulbs. Save around £35-£40 a year with LED/Energy Saving Bulbs. Although they cost more to buy they use less energy and last a great deal longer than regular bulbs.
2. Lower Your Thermostat Temperature. You can save between 2-4% on your heating for each degree you drop on your thermostat. An easy way to save here is to drop the temperature 1 degree at a time, and keep doing this over several days until you arrive at a temperature that you find comfortable. It could easily save 10% or more off your heating costs.
3. Cover Bare Floors – A rug is a great way to cover a bare floor and reduce heat loss. Some people do like the look and feel of a bare floor. However, it is not that energy efficient. So unless you can’t live without a bare floor we would suggest covering it either totally with carpet, or even just a rug.
4. Unplug Battery Chargers – A battery charger often uses current when not in use, but when still plugged in. When you are not charging a battery simply remove from the socket or switch off to save money.
5. Select Energy Saving Appliances – Take the time to look for energy-saving appliances when the time comes to renew. EU efficiency labels score appliances from A+++ to D, the former being the most efficient. The more efficient an appliance, the cleaner it will be for the environment, and it will be cheaper to run too.
6. Dust Your Fridge – The coils fitted to the back of your fridge collect dust, and over time can become less efficient, costing you more to run, as the appliance efficiency reduces. Taking less than a minute to dust every few months will save you money.
7. Wood & Multi Fuel Stoves – How could we leave this one out! If you have been reading our various posts and articles about stove efficiency, you will already be an expert in how to ensure the maximum efficiency of your stove.
8. Block Out The Sun – If you have air conditioning, ensure it does not need to work excessively hard and use unnecessary energy, by using shades and blinds where possible.
9. Hob and Pots – Many people waste energy by cooking on a hob, which is too big for the pan. Always ensure you match the hob with the pan. This is an easy way to save money and energy. It also helps avoid boiling over too!
10. Reduce Your Water Temperature – Many households have their water far too hot, which is a waste. A quick and easy tip here is to reduce the water temperature in small intervals until you reach a level you are happy with (i.e the lowest temperature, which is still comfortable to use).