When it comes to saving energy in the home, insulation is where it counts. Around a third of the energy our country uses goes on powering and heating our homes, and as we are paying increasing amounts for gas and electricity it makes sense not to waste it.
The easiest and most cost effective insulation is in your loft. Current minimum standards for new houses require 270 mm, or nearly 1 foot, of loft insulation. This is far more than houses that were built even a decade ago will have, so chances are that even if you have some already you could benefit by adding more.
If you have a house that was built after the 1920s, it is likely that you have cavity walls. These can be further insulated by injecting insulation into the cavity. This is a straightforward process, taking a couple of hours, and the savings can be huge. If you have an older property you can still make it more efficient by lining the internal walls with insulation, but this is a more complex and time consuming task.
The best bit about insulation is that it’s relatively cheap, and the savings add up quickly to pay back this investment: typically in just a few years. Grants are available from the Government (through a scheme called Warm Front), energy suppliers, and local authorities, and these are not just for those on low incomes.
Although a more expensive job, double glazing your windows is another way to cut down the amount of heat lost.
There are other, even cheaper ways that you can help prevent heat loss from your home. Sort out any gaps around doors, windows, and the loft hatch to prevent drafts that blow away all your heat. Thick, well lined curtains will help keep the warmth inside. Using central heating controls like a timer and thermostat so that you only heat the house when you are in also makes sense. Why not turn off radiators in rooms that are rarely used? Or how about popping on a jumper and turning down the thermostat by one degree? Although not very high tech, all of these are very effective and cost next to nothing, so the savings are immediate.
Although this winter we have (at the time of writing) had very mild temperatures, insulation is not wasted: it helps out in summer too by keeping the house cool. When your loft is roasting in the summer sun, your bedroom below will be much more comfortable if you have plenty of insulation keeping the heat out!