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Ecotricity Explains: How to green up your home and save money

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By Adam Ifans
18 Mar 2024

Are you thinking about making your home greener and more sustainable? There are lots of different improvements you can make from low-cost insulation to fitting solar panels to your rooftop.

The great thing is, every one of these suggestions will reduce your impact on the environment and save you money in the long run.

Green energy is vital

When it comes to making your home greener, the first thing on everyone’s mind is energy. Choosing deep green energy is the single biggest difference we can make as individuals to help fight the climate crisis – and it can also save you big money.

  • If you’re able to fit solar panels to your home, now is a great time to jump on it. Solar technology is now mature, proven and incredibly reliable. Combine it with a home battery to make the most of the energy you generate. As well as saving hundreds of pounds a year on your energy bill, you may be able to sell your excess energy through solar export payments – and we’ll be bringing our Smart Export Tariff to you soon too. It’s a win-win!

  • Whether or not you have solar panels, you also need to choose a truly green energy provider, like Ecotricity. As a not for dividend company, we invest all our profits into building new sources of green energy, turning your bills into mills. Combine it with a smart meter so you can stay on top of your energy use, and help to green up Britain at the same time.

Insulation, insulation, insulation
green up save money insulate

Proper insulation is the cornerstone of every energy efficient home. The UK’s 29 million houses are the oldest and least energy efficient in Europe. Insulation will usually pay back your money in a couple of years in lower energy bills, although this is dependent on exactly what you have done.

Start by checking your loft or roof insulation. You need a minimum of 270mm of insulation. When houses first started being insulated it was to a depth of 100mm, so it’s worth checking any existing insulation you may have.

You can also insulate your floors. If you have floorboards over a void, you can attach insulation to the undersides, which will also stop any nasty draughts.

Speaking of draughts, choose a windy day and take a stroll through your home to identify any breezy spots. Doors, windows, floorboards and chimneys are prime candidates. Small gaps can be easily fixed with rolls of thin, sticky insulation and you can buy a chimney balloon for your chimney to stop all that precious warm air disappearing into the sky.

If you have single-glazed windows or a door that lets in the cold air in winter, it may be worth replacing them with modern double-glazed units. These will take years to pay off in terms of the cost, but they’ll also make your home feel warmer and cosier during the colder months.

How to save water
green up save money water

We rely on fresh water for drinking, food and sanitation but even in Britain, it is not an abundance resource. Delivering drinking-quality water to our homes involves a great deal of energy and resources, so it makes sense to limit our use of it to what we actually need.

Reducing your use of hot water will save you money on your energy bill and, of course, if you have a water meter you’ll save if you reduce your cold water usage as well.

Let’s start in the bathroom. If you don’t have a low-flow toilet with separate short and long flushes, you can put things like the Water Hippo in your cistern to reduce its capacity and save water without even noticing.

Fit a low-flow showerhead to reduce the amount of water you use in a shower. These vary in quality, so our advice is to check reviews before you buy.

In the kitchen, ensure you use the Eco mode on your washing machine or dishwasher. These will usually take a little longer to run because they’re designed to use less water and less energy, while still getting everything nice and clean.

If you have a garden, collect rainwater in a water butt and water your plants for free. On a bigger scale, you can even install a rainwater harvesting system, which suppliers claim can cut your water use half by storing non-drinking water for use in toilets and washing machines.

Sustainable technology
green up save money tech

Technology is all around us these days, and while it does come at a cost in terms of energy consumption, there are also some sure-fire winners for greening up your home.

Smart thermostats and radiator valves are a must-have if you have central heating. The valves automatically cut off hot water to a radiator when the room is at your preferred temperature, while smart thermostats control your boiler to make your heating as efficient as possible. They’re money saving and make your home much more comfortable.

If you have an electric vehicle, it’s worth considering installing a domestic EV charger. Charging at home rather than at a public charge point is much more cost effective, and it’s faster – a 22kW charger is six times faster than a three-pin plug connection. Some home chargers may also enable you to make money in future by using your car as a grid-connected battery used to store green energy for times of high demand, although this technology is still in its trial phase. Plus, we've just launched one of the cheapest EV tariffs on the market to help you save whilst you charge!

LED lights are everywhere now and rightly so – they last longer and are more energy efficient than the old-fashioned filament bulbs. Smart light bulbs go one step further, connecting to your home wifi so you can control them remotely, adjust lighting levels and set timers. However, there is a small energy drain for every smart light bulb because it needs to communicate with the network. It’s not a huge cost but we recommend only using them where you need their smart features, rather than in every room.

All appliances use energy, so when the time comes to buy new ones, it makes sense to go for the most energy efficient models. Over the average 16-year life of a fridge freezer, for example, a yearly saving of even £30 adds up to £480.

The great outdoors

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or access to your own outside space, there are a few ways to make it greener and save money in the long run.

Summers are getting hotter, so plant trees or bushes to provide shade from the summer sun. If you opt for deciduous varieties, they’ll lose their leaves in the autumn so the winter sunlight will still be able to warm your home.

Make your own compost. It’s an oldie but a goldie – why buy bags from the garden centre when you can make it for free?

We all want to use our bicycles more for short trips but getting them in and out can be a pain. Invest in a secure cycle shed by your front or back door to make it as quick and painless as possible to get on your bike.

If you haven't already, you can switch your energy supply to a truly deep green supplier today by joining Ecotricity in our mission for a greener Britain!

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