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How to Make Your Home Energy Efficient

energy performance rating reducing energy use

Rising energy costs have many homeowners scrambling to improve the energy use performance of their properties.

Governments are also keen to legislate and enforce energy performance improvements so buildings are more energy efficient and contribute lower emissions.

There is no time like the present to take control of your energy use and make your home more energy efficient. This article looks at energy usage in percentages, the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), and incentives provided to homeowners so they take action now.

Governments have targeted Landlords with pending deadlines, so they must take action. Their investment will be sizeable. The upside, however, is that their properties will fetch higher sales prices when they’re listed for sale.

Average Usage in Percentages

Before exploring ways to save money on energy costs, it’s essential to understand that the largest percentage (around 44 percent) of your utility company bill is for heating and cooling.

The next most considerable pull on energy is lighting and cooking at 33%; heating, water and other appliances make up the rest of your energy use.

As the adage goes, information is power, so use it to make better choices on your energy usage with a plan to make your home more energy efficient.

You will know about the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) if you’re in the UK.

UK Energy Performance Certificate

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a document that provides information about a property’s energy efficiency. It is designed to help homeowners, tenants, and buyers make informed decisions about a building’s energy performance.

The EPC includes an energy efficiency rating, ranging from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient), similar to the labels on household appliances.

In the UK, an EPC is required whenever a property is built, sold, or rented. Depending on the property type, it is produced by an accredited domestic energy assessor or a qualified non-domestic energy assessor. The certificate includes recommendations for improving the property’s energy efficiency.

Deadline for Landlords

By 202,8, all rentals must have a C rating, which will be challenging for most landlords.

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The UK Government aims to reach net zero emissions by 202,5, and to reach this, their homes must achieve an average of C rating by 2035.

USA

Other countries have changed their building codes and standards to improve energy ratings. Plus, there are incentives to get homeowners to improve their properties so they use less energy. For example, in the USA, some of the incentives include the following:

Tax credits

Install solar panels, energy-efficient windows, doors, insulation, and HVAC systems, and you will get a personal tax credit.

Energy efficient programs

Many states and utility companies offer energy efficiency programs to encourage homeowners to make energy-efficient upgrades. Some programs include rebates, incentives, and financing options for installing energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and insulation.

Upgrading Grid and other Tech

Deploying intelligent grid technology allows homeowners to monitor and control their energy usage more effectively. Smart meters and home energy management systems enable consumers to decide when and how they use energy.

Energy Efficiency Plan

In your plan, include the tasks you can do immediately to save power, like sealing windows, etc., and invest in replacing extensive usage systems like your washing machine and HVAC.

Upgrade the HVAC System

Since heating and cooling are the most enormous home energy costs, it makes sense to start here.

At the minimum, ensure your system is checked and tuned if needed. A professional energy audit is the best way to see if more of your energy costs fair share goes to heating and cooling.

Remember that replacing the system with a more energy-efficient one may be a significant expense initially but will pay off big time in savings. Modern air conditioners are surprisingly energy-efficient.

Replace Your Washing Machine & Use Cold Water

Invest in a more energy-efficient washing machine and use cold or warm water for the clothes washer.

The most significant percentage of energy a washing machine uses is heating the water, so using cold water will save a considerable amount of power. Most of the time, clothes will get just as clean.

Use A Heat Pump Clothes Dryer

Use a heat pump clothes dryer to use 30% less energy instantly. Use the dryer during the night when energy costs are lower.

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Lower the Thermostat

Don’t leave the house daily without lowering your thermostat’s temperature. Setting it 10 to 15 degrees lower on days during the work week can amount to a five to 15 per cent savings over a year.

Ideally, you have or will upgrade your heating system so you can program your thermostat to regulate the temperature for more efficient energy use.

Seal Windows and Cracks

Sealing air leaks around windows and cracks is an easy and inexpensive way to lower energy costs. Use weatherstripping to seal around drafty windows. Chaulk any cracks in drywall. Also, consider applying a sheet of shrink film over windows.

Better still is the complete replacement of single-pane windows to double or triple-glazed window units.

Limit the Use of Space Heaters

They feel toasty in cold weather, but space heaters dramatically increase your energy bill. Most use 1,500 watts of energy. Instead, add an extra layer of clothing, curl up with a blanket, or use your HVAC, which can be purchased and installed with a price discount and tax credit.

Use Energy Saving Lighting

Check your home for incandescent bulbs and replace them with halogen bulbs, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

Updating your lights is a worthwhile investment that will improve your energy performance rating and make your home more attractive to a future homebuyer.

Unplug Unused Chargers

Energy.gov reports that the average phone charger uses 0.26 watts of energy when unused. Phone and other chargers are easily overlooked and can add up to 10 per cent to your energy bill. Unplug all chargers when not in use.

Add Insulation

Adding insulation to a building can significantly improve energy use by enhancing its thermal performance. Insulation acts as a barrier that reduces the transfer of heat between the interior and exterior of a structure. Some of the benefits for your home include:

  • Improve your home’s energy rating
  • Reduce heat loss during the cooler months and keep it more relaxed in the warmer months.
  • Less energy used to warm or cool your home
  • Lower energy costs

Last Words

No homeowner, including landlords, can be complacent with energy efficiency. New rules ensure new properties have the highest energy rating,g and existing homes are gradually pulled up to standard.

If you’re a property investor in the UK, it’s time to plan how you will meet the EPC C rating by 2028.

Everywhere else, including the USA, landlords are also being ensured to be responsible and doing what they can to improve energy use, including measures like attic, underfloor, wall insulation and thermally insulated windows.

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