First published: 21/06/2023 -

Last updated: 21/03/2024 -

Verified by our Editorial Panel

Energy efficiency

A little more energy saved and a little less energy wasted can go a long way if you want to cut down your bills and reduce the amount of harmful carbon emissions from your home.

A little more planning to make our homes more energy efficient will help cut the cost of bills and reduce harmful carbon emissions.

By understanding how much energy your home uses now, you can work out how to use less. Before you invest in energy efficiency measures, consider the fabric or materials your home is made from, how energy reaches your home and the way in which your home is heated and stores energy. This will help you make a plan that’s right for your budget and your home. 

There are many ways in which you can make your home more energy efficient – from simple daily actions to choosing energy-efficient appliances, draught-proofing and insulation. Although some measures can involve expensive upfront costs, they can help reduce your utility bills over time and could even increase the value of your property. Check the Warm Homes Nest scheme to see if you’re eligible for sources of Welsh Government support.

What can we do?

There are a number of options to think about when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of your home, big and small. No one can do everything, for example it’s not as easy to have insulation fitted if you’re a tenant or living in a flat. But there’s always something we can all do, even if it’s just closing the curtains in every room at night to reduce heat loss through the windows. Here are some ideas to get you started:

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Read our energy saving tips

From turning down your thermostat, lowering settings on radiators and air drying, this website is full of energy saving tips to use less energy and save money.

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Keep your home well maintained

A regular maintenance check of your home can prevent more serious problems, such as dry rot, and could save money through repair, rather than replacement of expensive features, like windows. This helps with energy efficiency too – a dry property takes far less energy to heat than a damp one.

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Add insulation film to your windows

Window film gives you an added layer of insulation and is a great option if you can’t afford double-glazing. It’s easy to fit and keeps heat in during the colder months, as well as reducing heat from sunlight for a cooler home in the summer. Add thermal-lined curtains to keep things really cosy in the winter.

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Research energy efficient appliances

To reduce waste, try to make the most of everything you buy, including appliances. There’s no need to buy new electrical items until you really have to, but when you do, the more energy efficient they are, the more they’ll reduce electricity usage and help lower your energy bills. For help understanding the energy efficiency of appliances, and what to do with old ones, read Energy Saving Trust’s simple guide.

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If you still have one in your home, fit your hot water cylinder with an insulated jacket

Insulating an uninsulated hot water cylinder with an 8Omm jacket could save around £230 and 690 kg of carbon dioxide a year. 

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Let it grow

If you can’t make big changes inside, take action outside by planting trees and bushes near windows for natural shade in the summer. This could reduce the need for fans and air conditioners on hot days. Remember that vulnerable people can suffer in the heat as well as the cold, so check in to make sure they’re keeping cool in hot weather.

Before you consider more substantial investments for your home, find out about its overall energy efficiency, and the improvements you could make to increase its energy rating.

Begin by understanding how energy efficient your home is:

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Find out if you have an EPC

Your home’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) tells you how energy efficient your home is. It gives your property an energy rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. It also recommends improvements to your home that could increase your energy rating. An EPC is needed whenever a property is built, sold, or rented. Find yours here. If you don’t have an EPC, because you’ve lived in your property for a long time, getting a new one will cost you around £35 to £120. However, EPCs are generated from standard software, so should be seen as a starting point. If you can, speak to a qualified and experienced energy assessor who can offer the right recommendations for your needs and circumstances.

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Speak to your landlord

If you rent your property, you can still view your EPC online. This may list ways to increase your home’s energy rating, that you can put to your landlord to ask if they’ll make improvements. If they need convincing, you could point out that this will improve the quality of the property, help protect against problems like damp and may increase its value.

Once you know what your energy efficiency rating is, the next step is to work out how you can improve it. This depends on your budget and the kind of property you have and includes actions such as:

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Draught proofing

Draught proofing is one of the more affordable ways to reduce heat loss and helps prevent cold air from entering your home and heat escaping through gaps around doors and windows. Whether you use DIY methods or employ a professional, avoid 'sealing' your home completly – adequate ventilation helps prevent damp, mould and poor air quality, which can damage your health.

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Insulating your roof, loft, walls, floor and pipes or installing double glazing can reduce home heat loss. Find out more about each option on Energy Saving Trust. To find a trusted installer in your area, start you research on TrustMark – the Government-endorsed scheme for work done around your home.  Learn more about Insulation options.

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Renewable energy systems

Renewable energy systems, such as heat pumps and solar panels are among the more substantial investments you can make to reduce your home’s fuel bills and carbon emissions. But they will make a big difference and save you money long term. Contact the Warm Homes Nest scheme for free advice on home energy improvements and to find out if you’re eligible for a package of free home energy efficiency improvements.

Why take action?

Understanding how much energy your home uses now will help you assess what you’re spending on energy and what you can do to spend less. Some of the green choices we make around heating and home energy use can have a big impact on reducing harmful carbon emissions. There are other benefits too:

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Feel more in control

Thinking about energy efficiency, the cost of living and how to make improvements to your home can be overwhelming. Understanding your home’s energy use is a simple way to take control and understand your options.

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Find out how to save money

An EPC could help you find out more about your home’s energy efficiency, while a qualified and experienced professional could provide more accurate and customised recommendations tailored to your needs. You can then decide what the right moves are for you, within your budget.

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Increase your property’s value

A property’s energy efficiency is a key consideration for potential buyers as it’ll show them how much it’ll cost to live there if they decide to purchase. Sales listings will include a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate, and a UK government study found a higher EPC rating can increase the value of a home by up to 14%.

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Reduce energy use and carbon emissions erty’s value

A well-insulated home will help to reduce energy use and in turn the consumption of fossil fuels and production of carbon emissions. Improving your home’s energy efficiency, for example through better insulation, can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 900 kilograms of CO2e per year.

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Cut your cooling and heating bills

Reducing the amount of energy needed to heat our homes saves money on utility bills. Some solutions, such as insulation, can also keep homes cooler in the warmer months by keeping heat out, which can lessen the need for fans or air conditioning. 

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Reduce noise pollution

Insulation can absorb sound, creating a quieter environment for you and your family.  

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Control condensation

Insulation and ventilation both play a role in controlling condensation and preventing mould growth on walls and ceilings. Seek professional advice to ensure the materials used suit the type of home you live in.

For further support or advice call

0300 0604400

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