Information about energy in the home and how to reduce the amount you use
How significant are home energy losses and how can we reduce them?
The biggest contribution to your home energy carbon footprint is the energy that is lost due to poor insulation. It is estimated that this contributes to up to 50% of your home energy footprint depending on the level of existing insulation [Prof Nick Eyre, ECI, Climate Assembly UK presentation].
There are several ways to get help with the cost of home insulation improvements such as The Green Homes Grant. For information on funding opportunities see the UK Gov Website.
How much does domestic gas use contribute to your carbon footprint?
A typical medium sized household uses around 18,000 kWh of energy from gas per year, most of which is used for heating and hot water. The associated carbon footprint is 3.65 tons of CO2 per year which equates to about 70kg of CO2 per week. [Data from Carbon Independent]
How can we reduce the energy we use on heating and hot water?
There are some simple steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption for heating and hot water.
- Limit the hot water temperature to 55oC, it doesn’t need to be any hotter.
- Turn your room thermostat down; a 1oC reduction can lead to about 10% lowering of household bills and carbon footprint.
More significant reductions in energy use can be made by installing a more energy efficient boiler or better still switching to a heat pump system. See the National energy foundation website for more information.
The Renewable heat incentive (RHI) is a UK government scheme to help with the cost of installing heat pumps.
What about Solar Panels?
Although the Feed in Tariff scheme is no longer operating (for new solar panels) it is worth noting that all household electricity suppliers are obliged to offer payments for electricity from Solar that you export back to the grid. This is called the Standard Export Guarantee (SEG), to find out more see the Energy Saving Trust website.
What about household appliances?
Minimising the amount of energy you use to run household appliances depends on many factors including the energy rating of the appliance as well as how you use it. Some appliances (such as tumble driers and hair driers) are very energy hungry so it’s also worth considering how much you use them and whether you even need them. For some great advice on this take a look at the Confused About Energy website.
Lighting your home uses a surprising amount of energy. Lighting a typical home for 6 hours a day with 20W compact fluorescent bulbs contributes 0.3 kg CO2 a week to household emissions. This can be reduced by ~25% by switching to LED light bulbs.
In this infographic we have used the data from Confused About Energy to calculate typical weekly emissions for electrical appliances.