Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors in domestic homes today. Between the climate crisis and the cost-of-living crisis, energy costs are unsustainable and difficult to justify; environmentally-friendly changes to the home are vital for addressing both sides of the equation. But what are the best ways to reduce emissions domestically?
The vast majority of homes in the UK now have double-glazed windows fitted as standard, and all new-build homes must also feature at least double glazing, if not triple-glazing as with homes under flight paths.
Double-glazed windows are windows with two panes, separated by a thin vacuum space. This gap prevents heat and sound energy from transferring via the panes, as there is less matter via which energy can be transferred. Double-glazing has been instrumental in the fight to improve energy efficiency in homes, and its benefits are palpable against older and traditional sash windows.
Heating systems are the predominant force in domestic energy usage, with the costs of heating the home having been keenly felt by many in recent years. Naturally, then, addressing the energy efficiency of domestic heating systems is a smart approach for saving money as well as saving the environment.
Under-floor heating systems were previously treated as luxury installations as opposed to energy-efficient mediums, but when paired with electric boilers can be highly effective in reducing the energy load of a given room. Under-floor heating works like a conventional radiator, but instead comprises a series of pipes that direct water more completely around a space.
Where heating systems are the most impactful active system to interact with when thinking energy efficiency, insulation is the most impactful passive system to design in the same regard. Insulation ensures heat is retained in spaces, reducing the amount of energy required to keep a domestic space comfortable. Cavity wall insulation is highly effective at reducing energy bills, and can save more than a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions per detached home per year.
Finally, a small but effective change that can be made in the home relates to lighting. Older incandescent bulbs are by and large an invention of the past, and where much better at generating heat than they were at generating light. Today, though, even better iterations of the lightbulb exist than the halogen bulbs that replaced them. LED bulbs are commonplace, thanks to breakthroughs in semiconductor engineering. LEDs take a minimal amount of electricity to run, and are highly efficient as well as long-lasting.