What is energy efficiency?
Energy efficiency is all about doing more with less - in terms of energy efficient households, this means getting as much useful power out of appliances while using as little energy as possible, and not letting any go to waste.
For instance, while old-style lightbulbs produce a lot of light, they also produce a lot of heat, which is a waste of energy. Energy-efficient lightbulbs produce the same amount of light, but very little heat, which means there is less energy wasted. This is the case with all energy-efficient household appliances.
You can also make your house more energy efficient by installing loft and cavity wall insulation to reduce the amount of heat that is lost through walls and the roof - simply improving your home's insulation could cut your annual energy bill by up to £390 per year.*
*£390 savings a year figure is for a 1940s 3 bed semi-detached home with a ten year old gas boiler and a gas price of 3.73p/kWh, when cavity wall insulation and loft insulation are installed. More modern homes save less. Individual savings depend on a large number of factors and the £390 quoted should be treated as a guide. †Based on installing a new A-rated condensing boiler and full set of heating controls in a gas-heated, semi-detached gas heated home with three bedrooms.
Are there any alternative ways to power your home?
Biomass is a type of organic matter, often referred to as 'bioenergy' or 'biofuel', which is used as an alternative, green source of energy.
Biofuels are produced from organic materials, either directly from plants or indirectly from industrial, commercial, domestic or agricultural products. These materials fall into two main categories:
- Woody biomass includes forest products, untreated wood products, energy crops, and short rotation coppice (SRC), e.g. willow.
- Non-woody biomass includes animal waste, industrial and biodegradable municipal products from food processing, and high energy crops, e.g. sugar cane and maize.
Find out more at our guide to biomass heating for your home.
Hydro power systems
Hydro-power systems are used to convert the potential energy in water which is stored at height, into kinetic energy (the energy used in movement). This then moves a turbine, which, in turn produces electricity.
Find out more in our guide to domestic hydro-electricity
Domestic wind turbines
Small-scale wind power is particularly suitable for remote off-grid locations where conventional methods of supply are expensive or impractical. Most small wind turbines generate direct current (DC) electricity. Off-grid systems require battery storage and an inverter to convert DC electricity to AC (alternating current - mains electricity).
You will also need a controller to divert power to another useful source (e.g. space and/or water heaters) when the battery is fully charged. Find out more at our guide to domestic wind turbines.
Ground source heat pumps
Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) transfer heat from the ground and into a building to heat radiators and hot water. They can also be used to power boilers to pre-heat domestic hot water. Find out more at our guide to ground source heat pumps and our blog on what are heat pumps?
How can you make your home more energy efficient?
Making sure your home is properly insulated is a great start when it comes to energy efficiency. Find out more in the sections below 👇