5 energy saving tips from the owner of one of the UK’s most energy efficient homes

As many people struggle to pay their energy bills, a new study shows that two-thirds of Britons would introduce green measures if it saved them money.

Research from sustainability and money-saving platform SaveMoneyCutCarbon found that 66% of homeowners will implement more green behaviors to save money, while 45% said the next home they buy will be energy efficient.

For a shining example of how to save as much energy as possible at home, look no further than a beautiful and eco-friendly cottage in the hills of Hampshire, which produces more energy than it consumes.

Sustainability guru Martin Evans, aka Mr Net Zero, and his wife Ruth have transformed their five-bedroom farmhouse into what could be the UK’s most energy-efficient home.

Because of the energy they generate through solar panels and how well insulated and smartly designed their home is, they were essentially “paying” to run their home, until the recent rise in energy prices.

“When we first completed the house six years ago, we were actually getting paid to live here, but the energy costs have changed and now it’s not as good,” explains Evans. “We weren’t trying to be zero cost, we were trying to be net zero carbon and we achieved that.”

It estimates that without the introduction of energy saving and production measures, including replacing a gas boiler with a ground source heat pump, installing triple glazing, adding external insulation, installing mechanical ventilation systems and installing solar panels, the energy costs of The house, including charging the two diesel cars, it would be around £24,000 a year.

With the meters, the cost is just £2,400 a year. “Doing the right thing pays off quickly,” he observes. “But you have to make sure you do things right.”

In the summer, the panels produce more energy than the house and cars use, so the pair export the spare energy to the grid, and there are periods in the winter when they use more than they produce, so they sometimes import energy. But they use a battery to store the summer backup power and in the winter they charge the battery at a very cheap rate of power overnight.

“Our goal was to get to the point where, in a year, we would produce the same or more energy that we use for all of our travel and running the house,” he says. “In fact, we produce about 30% more energy in a year than the whole house and cars use, so we’ve become net energy negative.”

But Evans, a civil engineer who specializes in low-energy homes and buildings, understands that, especially during the current cost-of-living crisis, most people don’t have the money to invest large sums in making their home super-energy efficient. efficient. . So what can financially strapped homeowners do to ensure their energy costs are as low as possible?

Those planning to stay in their home long-term could benefit from a 10-year plan, Evans suggests. Raising capital by obtaining a lifetime mortgage or pension lump sum to invest in energy saving measures such as heat pumps and/or solar power generation.

“Many of these things won’t pay off in a few years, but investing in future-proofing your home to make running costs cheaper in the long run can be a smart move,” he says.

“Otherwise, you’re left with trying to do secondary things – the basics that everyone should be able to do.”

These include…

1. Checking and installing loft insulation

Check how much attic insulation your home has or have a professional do it for you. “People often don’t have a lot of insulation in the attic. It doesn’t cost thousands and can improve energy efficiency,” says Evans.

2. Waterproofing

Feel where heat escapes through doors and windows and block the gaps. Air drafts and heavy curtains can also help keep the heat in and the cold out.

“Reducing energy losses by sealing windows and doors is another simple and inexpensive measure you can take,” advises Evans.

3. Use of LED lamps

The SaveMoneyCutCarbon survey found that 51% of homeowners want to replace all traditional light bulbs in their home with LEDs by the end of the year to reduce energy bills.

Evans points out that old-fashioned downlighters are “crazy energy intensive”, as are floodlights, which also generate a lot of heat, and stresses: “Using LED bulbs makes a huge difference – they use a tenth of the energy of a traditional bulb, so it’s definitely worth it check them out.”

4. Reducing the use of hot water circulation pump

Evans says many homes have a hot water circulation pump, which runs continuously, explaining: “When they’re running, you have heat loss from the pipes, so the whole time the hot water is circulating you’re wasting energy for no benefit.”

He says it’s a good idea to only turn on the pump half an hour before you need it and not leave it on all the time. “Limit usage so you have hot water when you need it, but the boiler doesn’t top it up all the time,” he advises, estimating that he has reduced energy losses in the hot water circulation by 90%.

5. Reduce water use with aerated showers and faucets

Evans points out that while showers use much less water than baths, jet showers only use about a third of the water of a standard shower, though they still feel the same.

Inexpensive screw-on faucet fittings are also available, which will reduce the flow to about a quarter of the normal flow, he says. “The actual experience of washing your hands isn’t really any different, it’s just sprayed, instead of coming out as a solid stream.

“If you store hot water at a lower temperature, circulate it only when you need it and limit the amount of water you pump.

“All these things can make a significant difference – and they’re so simple to do, that’s the cool thing.”

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