Want to lower your bills and make your home (and life) more eco-friendly – doing your bit to help save the planet from pollution and climate change?
Great, read on…
Lower your electricity bills by using LED lightbulbs throughout your house. This is one of the easiest things to do. Your lighting accounts for about 20% of electricity consumption, which you can easily reduce to 4% by replacing your lightbulbs with LED bulbs! LED lightbulbs are also now even better and cheaper than ever before.
- LED bulbs last about 50 times longer than ordinary incandescent bulbs – that’s 50,000 hours (or 20 years if used for 6 hours a day).
- LED bulbs use about 90% less power than incandescent bulbs
- LED bulbs fit all normal light fittings – bayonet, screw, spotlights, small screw, GU10, MR16, MR11, G4, G9, T8, T5, R7 etc.
- LED bulbs come in all shapes – standard, candle, reflector, spotlights, strip lights, even old-fashioned style filament look etc.
- No IR or UV emissions, no dangerous chemicals
- Direct lighting, so less light pollution
- 20% of the world’s energy use is from lighting. This can be reduced to 4% with LED lighting
- The average UK household can save over 5 tonnes in CO2 emissions by replacing their standard lighting with LED alternatives
Buy LED bulbs here (and look for discount codes or sign up to the website newsletters for 10-25% discounts):
Don’t forget that the easiest way to keep your bills down and be ‘green’ is to insulate your house – keep the heat that you’re generating in the building for your comfort. Add plenty of loft insulation, install secondary or double/triple glazing, use draft-excluders around doors and windows, have thick curtains and blinds (and use them in the evenings) or window shutters, put rugs or carpets on cold floors etc etc. These methods are also usually the cheapest.
However, as many buildings in Monxton are old (and listed) please ensure that works are sympathetic to their needs. There still needs to be some ventilation to avoid causing damp and interstitial condensation. A really great source of information is the Listed Property Owners Club – www.lpoc.co.uk
Renewable & Sustainable Energy
There are now quite a few energy companies that source all their power from renewables. Click here for the list
So if you are unable to have your own PV panels/tiles or similar then you can still ensure you buy your electricity from a company that ONLY sources it from renewable sources (solar, wind, wave energy etc).
By switching to Good Energy not only can you source 100% of your electricity from renewable sources, but Good Energy will pay £25 for each household that switches, and it all goes into an account for the renovation of Monxton & Amport Village Hall! Click here for details. Please ensure you quote ‘Monxton Village Hall’ and Affiliate Code GE2331.
Photovoltaic (PV) panels: These are the black or black/silver panels you see on quite a few roofs to generate electricity from the sun. They work best on a south-facing roof but still work on slightly cloudy days. Households will benefit from lower bills, a feel-good factor, and the Government-backed feed-in tariff (FiT). Households with PV panels can also use the excess electricity generated to heat the hot water for FREE with products such as a Solar iBoost or Immersun.
Solar tiles: Solar tiles are a possible solution for those that don’t want mounted PV panels, or an in-roof system where the panels are mounted at the same surface level as the normal roof tiles. Solar tiles are shaped to the same size and weigh the same as normal roofing tiles. They effectively replace the tiles, so they serve all the normal function of the tiles (mainly keeping the weather out), but generate electricity at the same time. The tiles are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. They come in the same range of sizes that you’ll find normal roof tiles in, and even in a range of colours so that an approximate match can be made.
Solar Slates: Solar ‘slates’ are photovoltaic roof-integrated solar tiles, which combine the latest in photovoltaic technology with a roof tile.They are unobtrusive making them blend in perfectly with the added bonus of being able to create energy for the household to use.
Solar thermal: Either flat black panels (flat plate collectors) or evacuated tubes, solar water heating systems use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water. A conventional boiler or immersion heater can be used to make the water hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable.
Thermodynamic Panels: Despite being panels, they are closer to an air source heat pump than they are to a solar thermal panel. They are basically a freezer in reverse. Refrigerant enters the panel and as it passes through it absorbs heat from the atmosphere and becomes a gas. The gas then passes through a compressor which increases the temperature and finally through a heat exchange coil inside the hot water cylinder. This heats the water in the cylinder to 55 degrees. It is estimated that about a quarter of the energy absorbed by a panel comes from solar irradiation, the rest from air and rain.
Air Source Heat Pumps: Air source heat pumps (ASHP) absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, or warm air convectors and hot water in your home. An ASHP extracts heat from the outside air in the same way that a fridge extracts heat from its inside. It can get heat from the air even when the temperature is as low as -15° C. Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, but the heat they extract from the ground, air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally. The electricity can also be offset by PV panels.
Ground Source Heat Pump: Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) use pipes which are buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in your home. A GSHP circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze (glycol) around a loop of pipe – called a ground loop – which is buried in your garden. Heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid and then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. The ground stays at a fairly constant temperature under the surface, so the heat pump can be used throughout the year – even in the middle of winter. The length of the ground loop depends on the size of your home and the amount of heat you need. Longer loops can draw more heat from the ground, but need more space to be buried in. If space is limited, a vertical borehole can be drilled instead.
Water Source Heat Pumps: A closed-loop system is similar to a ground source heat pump,where exchange panels are placed within the water source and a water/antifreeze mixture is passed through the pipes/panels absorbing energy from the water.
Micro Combined Heat & Power: ‘Micro-CHP’ stands for micro combined heat and power. This technology generates heat and electricity simultaneously, from the same energy source, in individual homes or buildings. The main output of a micro-CHP system is heat, with some electricity generation, at a typical ratio of about 6:1 for domestic appliances. A typical domestic system will generate up to 1kW of electricity once warmed up: the amount of electricity generated over a year depends on how long the system is able to run. Any electricity you generate and don’t use can be sold back to the grid.
Thermal Stores: A thermal store is a way of storing and managing renewable heat until it is needed. In a domestic setting, heated water is usually stored in a large well-insulated cylinder often called a buffer or accumulator tank. A thermal store may contain one or more heat exchangers, usually in the form of internal coiled pipes or external flat-plate heat exchangers. It may also include an electrical heating element, such as an immersion heater.
Wood-fuelled heating/Biomass systems: Wood-fuelled heating systems, also called biomass systems, burn wood pellets, chips or logs to to provide warmth in a single room or to power central heating and hot water boilers.
A stove burns logs or pellets to heat a single room – and may be fitted with a back boiler to provide water heating as well. A boiler burns logs, pellets or chips, and is connected to a central heating and hot water system. A wood-fuelled boiler could save you up to £650 a year compared to old electric heating.
For solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, thermodynamic or solar thermal panels, ground or air source heat pumps, underfloor heating installation try these local companies:
MG Cavill: Palestine, Andover – 01264 889710
Confused as to what is best for your house? Try the Whole Home Energy Toolkit to help you choose the right energy saving options for your home.
How big is your environmental footprint? Measure your lifestyle choices on this easy calculator – and in less than 5 minutes you could even change the way you live. There are 100 tips to help you reduce your impact on the planet.
Building & Renovating
There are lots of eco-friendly and efficient products and building methods that help the environment – and are usually better for the buildings too!
- Have a look at the website Climate Change and Your Home – designed to help you understand more about the potential impacts of climate change and ways to save energy if you own or manage an older home, especially those of solid wall or timber frame construction and pre-1919.
- Consider underfloor heating, especially a ‘wet’ or water-based system (rather than electric). The temperature is far more even and the thermostat can be a lot lower than for radiators. Therefore the water doesn’t have to be heated as much to get the same, if not better, effect in your home
- Invest in either a ground-source heat pump (GSHP) or air-source heat pump (ASHP). The Government-backed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) offers payment for 7 years, which effectively pays back the cost of installation (unlike a gas or oil boiler), as well as dropping your bills and your carbon footprint. Both GSHP and ASHP are much more efficient than conventional boilers too: For every unit of energy put into a boiler you get about 0.97 of a unit out in heat. For every unit of energy put into an ASHP the return is 3 to 4 units of heat, and greater still for GSHP. This is known as the COP (co-efficient of performance) rating: The ratio of heat output to the amount of energy input.
- If you are replacing windows in listed building then look at slimline double glazing. This is approved by the TVBC Conservation Officers and has been granted for at least one listed house in Monxton. There are a few companies that offer this glazing, even with old-style ‘restoration’ glass!
- Use extension leads: by using multi-socket extension leads and turning it off when it’s not in use, you can reduce your home’s energy consumption by up to 15%.
- Unplug your television: TVs are typically left on standby for 20 hours a day. Unplug the TV or turn it off at the wall to save electricity.
- Bamboo is better: Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth. This quick rate of replenishment means it’s more environmentally friendly that timber trees to use as hardwood flooring. It’s also great for making clothes and bamboo is cool and naturally anti-bacterial, making it great for socks and underwear in particular.
- Curtains & Blinds: Open your curtains and blinds during the day to let sunlight and warmth in, and then close them at night to keep the heat in your home.
- Rugs: Using rugs on wooden floors car save 4%-6% on energy bills
- Thermostat: By turning your thermostat down by 1C you can save around £60 each year.
- Eco-scents: Instead of chemicals and synthetic fragrances, opt for 100% essential oils and non-aerosol scents.
- Paint: Use eco-paints with very low VOC levels. Donate your leftover paint to a community project: Britons fail to use 6.2 million litres of paint they buy each year!
- Buy sustainably produced wood instead of chipboard or MDF, which both release formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen.
- Refrigerator: Having your fridge or freezer in the sunlight will force it to work harder to keep cool. Move your fridge or freezer into the shadiest part of your kitchen.
- Buy low-energy appliances when replacing any white goods. Look for A+++ ratings as they use the least energy.
- Compost: Separating and composting kitchen scraps not only reduces the amount of household waste in landfill but also eases the costs associated with rubbish collection. It’s also excellent to use as compost or fertiliser on your garden.
- Dishwasher: Save energy by avoiding pre-rinsing, always run a full load and air dry the dishes at the end. Many dishwashers also now have a time-saving or eco wash which takes a lot less time and therefore uses less water and energy.
- Multi-task in the oven: Try and organise your cooking to cook a few things in the oven at the same time, rather than just one thing.
- Keep the oven door closed: The oven temperature can drop by 65C when opening the door for 30 seconds. Don’t be tempted to keep unneccesarily checking your cooking.
- Use eco-friendly cleaning products. Click here for suggestions. Use low-phosphate washing-up liquid and washing powder. Phosphates stimulate algal growth when discharged into the water supply, lowering oxygen levels and killing plants and fish.
- By keeping a lid on the pan as your water boils or food cooks, it will reach temperature 6% faster – and stop your kitchen misting up or wasting more energy with the extractor fan.
- Don’t drink bottled water. Britain’s tap water is good quality and costs next to nothing. We use 2.7 million tonnes of plastic to bottle water each year and only about 10% of bottles are recycled. Most go to landfill and take 450 years to break down.
- Buy loose fruit and vegetables as they are nearly always cheaper – and better for the planet as there’s no packaging. Try and buy food that’s in season too – to reduce food miles.
- Wool not man-made: If you have a choice between wool and polyester blankets, go for wool. It’s more eco-friendly to produce and will breathe, rather than cause you to overheat.
- Mattress: When you purchase a new mattress ensure it has not been treated with synthetic chemicals and toxic materials.
- Organic cotton: Cotton linens account for 25% of the world’s insecticide use. Switch to organic cotton or sustainable bamboo instead.
- Turn off the tap: When brushing your teeth remember to turn off the tap.
- Install a low-flow toilet: Flushing toilets account for 30% of total indoor water use. Alternatively place a bottle (eg plastic milk bottle) weighted with either stones or water, in the cistern to cut down on water use.
- Toilet-paper: By recycled paper loo roll
- Shave smart: Use a cup of warm water to rinse your razor rather than using the tap.
- Stop leaks: 182 litres of water is lost per week from a leaky tap
- Open windows: Excess humidity causes mould. If there’s no toxic mould there’s no need to use any harmful chemicals.
- Showers: Install a low-flow shower-head which can save a family of four 160,000 litres of water each year. Also turn the shower off when you’re washing/soaping to save some extra water, and just use water for rinsing.
- Shower not bath: Taking a shower can use as little as 14% of water used during a bath.
- Use eco-friendly washing products than are less harmful to you and to the environment. Click here for products.
- Fix leaking toilets: A leaky toilet can waste 757 litres every day.
- Hang dry: 2-3kg of carbon emissions are produced for every hour a dryer is in use. Hang your clothes on a line or clothes airer instead.
- Cold is better: Wash your clothes at 30C or less. 85%-90% of energy goes into heating water when washing clothes. Washing at 30C used 40% less electricity than washing at higher temperatures, saving around £13 annually on bills.
- Use soap nuts or eco-friendly washing liquids: Soap nuts are tge berry of the saponus bush. Completely natural and hypoallergenic, they can be used for washing laundry and can be composted once they’re no longer useable. Click here for eco-friendly laundry products.
- Install a water butt: Harvest rainwater from your roof for use in the garden instead of using the tap.
- Compost: Composting organic waste can reduce the need for water, fertilisers and pesticides.
- Home-made pesticides: Chopped tomato leaf spray or garlic oil spray are just a few recipes that can keep bugs away.
- Native landscaping: Protect your local environment by planting plants that are native to your area. This also encourages bees and birds.
Please get in touch if you have other suggestions to add.