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Useful Tips - for a greener home

A guide to saving money and energy in the home.

The average UK home creates around six tonnes of CO2 a year. Follow our useful tips and adopt more energy efficient practices and you could reduce this figure by a third.

  • Energy efficient glazing, such as Pilkington energiKare™, reduces the energy lost through windows by up to 90%, enough to run nine TVs for a year.
  • From timber to aluminium to PVC-U framing, Pilkington energiKare™ has helped all window types achieve higher Window Energy Ratings up to band A.
  • By replacing old single glazed windows with double glazed windows with a Window Energy Rating of C, you can reduce the amount of energy you use in the home by 20 per cent and cut your fuel bill by around £80-£100 each year.
  • Under the Energy Saving Recommended (ESR) scheme only products that meet strict criteria on energy efficiency can carry the logo, giving you an easy way to identify energy saving products. In most framing systems, Pilkington energiKare™ can help windows achieve a Window Energy Rating of B or above and so are eligible for the ESR scheme.
  • Look out for the u-value (heat loss) and g-value (solar gain) of a window, they define its energy efficiency by determining how much of the sun’s heat and light pass through the glass into the room, while also stopping heat escaping. Pilkington energiKare™ has a high WER performance by enhancing the g-value of already low u-value windows.
  • Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) were introduced on 1st October 2008. All homes, when bought, sold, built or rented need one. Installing energy efficient glazing such Pilkington energiKare™ is an effective way of cutting heat loss from windows in homes and can help improve an EPC rating.
  • Decorate your tree with LED lights as they use much less electricity, reduce pollution from power plants and last longer than regular lights.
  • Empty your car boot of any unnecessary items. The heavier the car the more petrol you use and in turn more CO2 than necessary is emitted into the atmosphere.
  • Fit a flow reducer to your showerhead to cut down the amount of water used. Installing a Low-Flow showerhead is one of the most effective water conservation methods you can use in your home.
  • Time your heating to go off 30 minutes before you leave the house, and come on again 30 minutes before you are due to return.
  • Use your curtains effectively to save money, keep them open during the day to take advantage of natural light and close them at night to keep heat from escaping.
  • Regularly checking your meter at home can help you keep an eye on your bills and in turn save energy.
  • Energy saving can be as simple as pushing a button, turning appliances off instead of leaving them on standby could save each household £37 a year.
  • If everyone in the UK who could, installed energy saving low E (low emissivity) double glazing, the energy saved would be enough to heat more than 800.000 households for a year.
  • Energy efficient light bulbs last up to 12 times longer than normal light bulbs.
  • If every household in the UK replaced just three normal light bulbs with energy efficient ones, enough energy would be saved each year to supply all of the street lighting in the UK.
  • Nearly 50 per cent of the heat lost in an average home is through the loft and walls. By installing just 270mm (10 inches) of loft insulation, you can cut your heating bills by a third.
  • Fitting the right controls to your central heating system and installing a condensing boiler will improve efficiency and could save you up to 40per cent on your heating bills.
  • Replacing a 10 year old inefficient fridge freezer with an energy efficient model could cut the carbon dioxide emissions your home produces by 190kg a year and save you up to £45 a year.
  • If every household in the UK that could installed cavity wall insulation, it would save £960 million a year, or enough energy to heat 1.7 million homes for the same period.
  • Using a 40 degree wash cycle rather than 60 degrees means you use a third less electricity. Reducing the temperature to 30 degrees will save even more, and as modern detergents and washing powders work just as effectively at lower temperatures, there’s no reason not to.
  • Across the UK, mobile phone chargers left plugged in waste over £60million and are responsible for a quarter of a million tonnes of CO2 every year.
  • If everyone in the UK boiled only the water they needed to make a cup of tea rather than filling the kettle, enough energy would be saved in a year to run half of the street lighting in the country.
  • If everyone in the UK installed energy efficient glazing, enough CO2 would be saved in a year to fill Wembley Stadium 451 times.
  • Use energy saving light bulbs. Just one can save you £80 over the lifetime of the bulb – they last around ten times longer than ordinary lightbulbs.
  • You could save energy simply by fitting aluminium foil behind radiators on outside walls. The foil reflects heat back into the room, helping you save money on your heating bills.
  • A power shower can use more water in less than just five minutes that it takes to fill a bath. When looking for a new shower, save energy, water and money by avoiding those with the highest flow rates.
  • Tumble dryers use large amounts of electricity in a short space of time. Hanging your clothes on a line when possible can save money on electricity bills and help to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions.
  • A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath. Fix leaking taps and make sure they're fully turned off to save energy and money.
  • Putting a water butt in the garden to collect rain water can considerably reduce the volume of tap water needed for outdoor jobs like watering the garden or washing the car.
  • Makes sure the tyres on your car are properly inflated – under-inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving. Keeping your tyres properly inflated helps cut down on emissions and increase their life span.
  • Over-revving your car is an unnecessary waste of fuel. Checking your revs - changing up before 2,500rpm (petrol) and 2,000rpm (diesel) – helps keep emissions down and save you petrol and money.
  • A freezer is one of the most power hungry appliances in the home, and if not regularly defrosted, it doesn’t run as efficiently as it could do. Be sure to defrost your freezer if there is more than 1 cm thickness of ice around the inside, this will help save energy and money.
  • Practice eco-driving – driving your car efficiently could save you up to £120 a year in petrol or diesel. Measures such as removing unnecessary weight from your car, planning journeys to avoid congestion and making sure you don’t brake too heavily or accelerate too sharply can all help to cut down on emissions.
  • Consider investing in a renewable energy source like solar water heating. Solar water heating can provide about a third of your hot water needs. The average domestic system reduces carbon dioxide emissions by around 350kg per year, depending on the fuel replaced.
  • If possible, wait until you have a full load to do your washing. The half load setting on your washing machine will use more than half the water and energy of a full load. Saving energy and water by washing full loads will help to save money on your bills as well.
  • Jazz up your tank with a jacket - it only costs a few pounds and, with all the heat it traps in, it pays for itself within months. Fit one that's at least 75mm (3") thick and you could save around £20 a year.
  • Could the position of your furniture be costing you money on heating bills? If sofas or chairs are in front of radiators, they prevent heat circulating properly in a room. Make sure you don’t block your radiators to get the most out of your central heating and keep energy usage down.
  • Take your energy saving to the kitchen – covering pans when you cook and using a pan with a base as big as the cooker ring are both easy and simple ways of reducing the amount of energy you use.
  • Up to 30% of a household’s waste is organic and can be composted, which includes food, shredded paper and cardboard. Composting helps to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, and can be reused to great effect in the garden.
  • Invest in individual radiator thermostats to control the amount of energy they each use. The valves sense the temperature in a room and can switch on or off depending on how warm the room is.
  • Using rechargeable batteries for household appliances can help to save energy and money.
  • When searching for new electrical appliances for the home, compare the most energy efficient products available before you buy at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk to help you save energy and money.
  • Filling in gaps in floors and skirting can save up to £15 a year, around 130kg of CO2.
  • Take care of your fridge-freezer. Keeping it out of direct sunlight and dust free around the back will help to maintain its energy efficiency and save you money.
  • There is financial help available if you're planning to make energy saving improvements to your home, for example, energy suppliers offer free energy saving light bulbs to replace old inefficient ones. They last 10 times longer than normal ones, so installing just one could save you £80 over its lifetime.
  • Save energy at work - only print documents and emails when necessary, and when you do, make sure it’s double sided.
  • Opening your oven door to check if your food is ready actually reduces its temperature by 25 degrees, making it take more time and energy to cook your food.
    Buy a monitor to measure where in your home you use the most electricity, this will help you to work out where you can make the biggest savings.