Energy represents one of the largest annual outgoings for UK households, with the average dual fuel bill in 2014 amounting to £1,344 across the year.
Thankfully there are a variety of ways to tackle your energy costs without carrying out new installations or large-scale alterations to your home.
But for some, these modest, common sense changes do not yield the savings or carbon footprint-cutting benefits they would like. If you're on the lookout for technologies that could help you cut the cost and environmental impact of your home energy usage, take a look at these 10 green technologies.
The initial outlay for a solar panel system (photovoltaic or 'PV') system can be significant. The average domestic solar PV unit costs between £5,000 and 8,000 (including VAT at 5 per cent) and delivers around 4kWp. However, these systems can produce electricity even on cloudy days and may benefit from the government's Feed-In Tariff. A solar system should last about 25 years.
The costs associated with a solar water heater tend to be recouped much more quickly (in around two years) than with photovoltaic cells.
60 per cent of UK energy bills are accounted for by heating, so an efficient boiler makes a big difference. Keeping your boiler in good order is important, especially in the winter. Home emergency cover ensures you can quickly get your boiler up and running again if it should break down. It should be noted that home emergency insurance is rarely part of a standard home insurance policy.
40 per cent of Europe's winds pass over the UK, making these islands perfect for a home wind generator – depending on where you live. A unit placed on a well-exposed site could easily generate enough power for your lights and home appliances.
Rainwater collecting systems are simple set-ups that collect rainwater from gutters and store it in a barrel or cistern for later use. Water can be used for non-potable applications such as watering the garden and toilet flushing. Inexpensive, especially if you install it yourself.
There are a variety of ways to effectively insulate your home, bringing energy costs down – from roof and loft insulation to draught proofing. Installation costs can be high, but are recouped in a few years through lower bills.
Around a quarter of annual heating costs can be attributed to windows that are not energy efficient – or that are simply single pane. While double glazing is costly, long term it can significantly decrease energy costs.
If your energy consumption is something of a mystery, you might install an energy monitor. These devices clip on to the power cable entering your home and transmit a wireless signal which tells you how much power you are using. UK research has suggested annual bills may be cut by 10 to 15% by the installation of this simple and inexpensive monitor.
These simple devices make 'energy vampires' a thing of the past. Appliances that are plugged in but which are either fully charged, shut off or on standby, account for significant annual energy losses. According to Gov.uk, "The average household spends up to £86 a year on standby energy."
Appliances which boast Energy Star certification are increasingly popular with consumers – and with good reason. A new A++ refrigerator can save substantial sums when compared to older units. If your fridge is over 10 years old it could be time to consider buying a more energy efficient model. Ideally you should purchase as small a fridge as necessary for your needs. A modestly sized appliance should cost you less to run.
If your home insurance doesn't cover home emergencies find out how startrescue.co.uk can help.
startrescue.co.uk always recommend seeking the services of a professional tradesperson If you're not entirely comfortable carrying out repairs or maintenance by yourself.