What can the average household do to help save the planet?

Climate Change Effects
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We have repeatedly been warned over the years that we need to do everything in our power to protect our planet and the impact of climate change. However, it certainly seems that we have not been doing enough. This is especially the case considering 15,000 scientists from around the world sent a written warning about the fate of our planet in what has been dubbed as a new ‘letter to humanity.’ All the way back in 1992, 1700 scientists sent an original warning. However, the picture for our planet is way worse than it was back in 1992. Of course, this is highlighted by the fact that just under nine times the number of scientists have backed the most recent letter. The threat of runaway consumption of limited resources by our rapidly growing population is getting bigger and bigger all the time. The letter that was published stated that media influencers, scientists, and lay citizens are not doing enough to fight against this problem. With that being said, in this piece, we are going to take a look at some of the different things that can be done when it comes to saving the planet.

Energy efficient windows

Double glazing funding
Energy efficient windows & doors also come recommended. If you opt for energy efficient glazing within your home you can expect to lower your energy bills considerably as well as lowering your carbon footprint. This is something that can be achieved in a number of different ways – not only through triple or double glazing but also secondary glazing and even by simply purchasing heavy curtains.

There are lots of benefits associated with changing your windows. Not only will you be doing your bit for the planet but you can also expect reduced condensation buildup on the inside of your windows, as well as peace and quiet, as your home will be insulated against external noise, and a more comfortable home, as heat loss is lowered through windows, meaning fewer cold spots and draughts.

There are very few exclusions or hurdles when it comes to installing new windows in your home. Nevertheless, you may need to check with your local planning office if you will be allowed to do this if one of the following applies: you live in a listed building, you have an article 4 direction on your property, or you live in a conservation area.

Help to Buy Windows

So, what is the difference between double and triple-glazed windows?

The former involves two glass sheets, with a gap in the middle of them, which is typically around 16 mm. This keeps heat in by creating an insulating barrier. Sometimes this gap will be filled with gas. As the name suggests, triple-glazed windows involve three glass sheets rather than two.

Considerations when replacing your windows

One of the most critical factors that need to be considered when it comes to replacing your windows is the materials that you are going to use. Energy efficient windows come in many different materials. The most energy efficient option is low emissivity (low-E) glass. This will typically have a metal oxide coating, which is invisible, typically on one of the two or three internal panes. This is designed to let heat and light in while cutting the amount of heat that is able to escape.

You also need to think about the gases that will be contained in between the panes of glass in double and triple glazing. Typically gases like krypton, xenon, and argon will be used. Pane spacers will also be set around the inside edges to ensure that the glass panes are kept apart. The best pane spacers are those that contain little or no metal.

What about the frame materials? There are also lots of options here. uPVC is popular because these frames can be recycled and they last a long time. Composite frames have an inner timber frame, which is covered with plastic or aluminium. This lowers the need for maintenance while keeping the frame weather-proof. Steel or aluminium frames can also be used. They are long-lasting and slim in their appearance. Plus, they can be recycled. You may want to consider wooden frames. Wood frames require maintenance but they have a lower environmental impact. They tend to be used in conservation areas whereby timber frames were used for the original windows.

Cost savings of switching to double glazing

So, how much can you expect to save if you install double glazed windows in your home? Of course, it all depends on the size of your property and the rating of the windows you choose. You can find details for each property type below…

Annual savings (£/year) for detached properties:

  • A++ energy efficiency rating: £115-£120
  • A+ energy efficiency rating: £110
  • A energy efficiency rating: £105-£110
  • B energy efficiency rating: £100-£105
  • C energy efficiency rating: £100

Annual savings (£/year) for semi-detached properties:

  • A++ energy efficiency rating: £85
  • A+ energy efficiency rating: £75-£80
  • A energy efficiency rating: £75
  • B energy efficiency rating: £70-£75
  • C energy efficiency rating: £70

Annual savings (£/year) for mid-terraced properties:

  • A++ energy efficiency rating: £60-£65
  • A+ energy efficiency rating: £55-£60
  • A energy efficiency rating: £55
  • B energy efficiency rating: £50-£55
  • C energy efficiency rating: £50-£55

Annual savings (£/year) for detached bungalow properties:

  • A++ energy efficiency rating: £60
  • A+ energy efficiency rating: £55-£60
  • A energy efficiency rating: £105-£110
  • B energy efficiency rating: £100-£105
  • C energy efficiency rating: £100

Annual savings (£/year) for mid-floor flats:

  • A++ energy efficiency rating: £115-£120
  • A+ energy efficiency rating: £110
  • A energy efficiency rating: £105-£110
  • B energy efficiency rating: £100-£105
  • C energy efficiency rating: £100

Install solar panels

Solar panels installed on a house

The third approach you should take in terms of ensuring your household is doing its bit to help save the planet is to have solar panels installed. A solar panel electricity system, which is known as photovoltaics (PV), will capture energy from the sun by using photovoltaic cells. A misconception is that solar panels cannot capture energy during cloudy days. This could not be further from the truth. They do not require direct sunlight to operate. The cells will then convert the sunlight into electricity. This can be used to run lighting and household appliances.

How do solar panels work?

So, what’s the science behind solar panels? Well, the PV cells tend to be made from layers of silicon, although another material that is semi-conducting could be used. When the light is shone onto the cell, an electric field is created along the layers. The stronger the sun is, the greater the amount of electricity that is created. Clusters of cells are grouped and mounted together in either modules or panels, which can either be mounted onto the ground or the roof of your home. The PV cell’s power will be measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). This refers to the rate at which the cell can generate energy when operating at optimal performance, i.e. when it is in complete and totally direct sunlight, which would be during the summer months. There are different shapes and sizes available when it comes to PV cells. The vast majority of these systems tend to feature panels that fit onto your current roof, yet you can also get solar tiles available and fit them.

Benefits of solar panels

The main benefit of having solar panels installed is that they will cut your carbon footprint significantly. Solar electricity does not release any harmful pollutants, including carbon dioxide, and it is also green renewable energy. You could save between 1.3 to 1.6 tonnes of carbon per annum with a standard home solar PV system, depending on where in the UK you are based. This leads to another benefit, which is cutting your electricity bills. As sunlight is free, your electricity bills are going to decrease by a significant amount once you have covered the cost of installation.

How much money can you save by having solar panels installed?

In terms of how much money you can save, it all depends on how much electricity you currently use and where in the UK you are based. If you live in London, and you are out all day until 6 pm, you can expect to save £100 per year. If you are out until 4 pm, this increases to £120. If you are home in the afternoons, you can save £175 per year. If you are home in the mornings, you can save £195. If you are home all day and you live in London, you can expect to save £240 per year. Of course, this is in the capital city, whereby bills are usually more expensive. However, if you live up north, the savings are still significant. If you live in Manchester, and you are out all day until 6 pm, you can expect to save £95 per year. If you are out until 4 pm, this increases to £115. If you are home in the afternoons, you can save £165 per year. If you are home in the mornings, you can save £185. If you are home all day and you live in Manchester, you can expect to save £230 per year. When you consider this over the course of several years, it is not hard to see how you will quickly make the installation fee back. Plus, you are also going to make money through adding value to your home too.

So there you have it: some of the steps that you can take to make significant energy savings in your household. It does not matter what type of property you live in, by making the changes that have been mentioned above, not only will you help the planet, but you will feel the benefits when it comes to your bank balance too.
Solar Panel Funding

Replacing your existing boiler

Help 2 buy Boilers

Did you know that heating accounts for roughly 55% of the money you spend on energy bills per annum? Therefore, an efficient boiler really can make a massive difference. Any boiler that has been maintained properly will burn fuel efficiently. However, they will also all lose a degree of heat in the form of the hot gases that escape up the flue. A modern boiler has been designed to ensure it runs as efficiently as possible, and there are a number of different ways that it achieves this. One of the key differences is the fact that a condensing boiler will have a big heat exchanger. This makes the boiler more efficient because it means that it recovers more heating, with cooler gases being sent up the flue. There is a company in the UK who are offering a free boiler grant scheme, if you’d like to apply click here.

Choosing a boiler

When choosing a boiler, there are a number of different factors that you will need to consider. Of course, the fuel type you select is important. Your cheapest heating option will typically be a gas boiler if you have a gas mains. However, if you do not have a gas supply to your home, you should take a look at low carbon heating options, like biomass or heat pumps. Going down this route can actually be cheaper overall once you have factored in the different renewable heat incentives that are available. You also need to consider the type of boiler you are going to go for. Again, there are different factors that influence this, including your compatibility with solar water heating, as well as the space in your home and your hot water usage.

Heating controls

Replacing your existing boiler is not the only step you can take to make sure that your central heating is efficient. You can also make the most of the wide range of heating controls that are available. Other beneficial additions for your heating system include chemical inhibitors, hot water cylinders, and heat recovery systems and devices.
Help to Buy boilers

So there you have it: some of the steps that you can take to make significant energy savings in your household. It does not matter what type of property you live in, by making the changes that have been mentioned above, not only will you help the planet, but you will feel the benefits when it comes to your bank balance too.

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