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Your home is one of the largest users of energy in Ireland. It accounts for almost one third of the energy used in the country. Although energy is vital to our everyday lives, there are ways we can reduce the amount we use and by doing that reduce the household bills such as heating and electricity.
Go through your house, room-by-room with our guide below, identifying home improvement projects that will deliver the greatest energy savings and reduce your bills most effectively.
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Without proper insulation in your attic you are losing energy and money through your roof.
- Check and see if your attic is insulated, there are a variety of materials you can insulate your attic with: mineral wool, rock wool, sheep’s wool, polystyrene, cellulose fibre and multi-layered foil.
- The water tank and pipes should also be insulated to prevent freezing.
- Check the attic hatch or door for cold draughts, seal with draught proofing to prevent heat escaping.
The bathroom is generally where the largest quantity of hot water is used so there are good opportunities for energy savings.
- Taking a shower rather than a bath uses only a fifth of the energy. Hot water for 6 showers (5mins) equals 1 bath.
- Never leave hot water running unnecessarily.
- Generate hot water only when it’s required and store hot water efficiently.
- Fix leaking taps.
It is wasteful and ineffective to leave a hot water cylinder uninsulated.
- The cylinder should always be lagged to minimise heat loss and keep the water hot for as long as possible. It is better still if the water cylinder has factory-applied insulation.
- If your hot water is being heated by the central heating boiler you should fit a cylinder thermostat to moderate the temperature.
- CFL and LED energy efficient bulbs can be used to replace existing tungsten bulbs.
- Radiators in bedrooms should be turned off when the rooms are not in use.
- A radiator thermostat can make radiators more efficient and can be used throughout the house.
The kitchen and utility rooms tend to be where most electricity is used.
- When purchasing a washer, dryer, fridge, freezer, dishwasher or oven, look for the energy label, get an A or B rated appliances where possible.
- Use CFL bulbs or fluorescent tubes, these are more energy efficient than traditional tungsten bulbs.
- Use CFLs or dimmer switches
- Unplug or turn off electrical equipment such as TVs, videos/ DVDs, Hi-Fi and computers when not in use, as they use energy even when they are on ‘standby’. In fact, all lights and appliances should be switched off when not in use.
Did you know... an open fire loses up to 85% of its energy up the chimney. Install a chimney balloon to prevent draught when the fire is not in use. This must be removed prior to lighting the fire.
Lighting is generally left on for long periods. Only background heating is required.
- This is an ideal location for CFLs to be installed.
- Set your radiator at its lowest setting.
- If your hall door or letterbox allow draughts in during winter, they should be draught-proofed.
- Make sure your heating system is running on a timer – to reduce wasteful use of energy.
- Turn the heating down by 1°C on your thermostat and you can reduce your annual heating bill by 10%.
- Turn down your thermostat to 20°C.
- Have your boiler professionally serviced at least once a year.
- Check all windows and external doors for draughts.
- Double or triple glazed windows save huge amounts of energy.
- Close curtains at night to save heat.
- Put a lagging jacket on your hot water cylinder.
BER and DEC
Building Energy Rating (BER) has been introduced to give certificates to houses rating their energy efficiency regarding insulation, energy efficient lighting, efficient heating systems etc. It is like the energy rating on electric appliances except it is for buildings. All homes will require this before they are sold and it will affect the house price, the more energy efficient house the higher the value. All schools above 1000 m2 and office buildings must display their energy rating with a Display Energy Certificate (DEC). Check if your school has had one yet and find out what it is? See if there are ways you think it could be improved?
Click the banner on the right for more information about Building Energy Ratings (BER).
SEAI Home Grants
Better Energy Homes is a grant scheme run by SEAI which provide financial support to home owners for carrying out energy efficiency measures to their homes. Grants are provided for attic and wall insulation, heating systems boilers, heating controls, solar heating and BER assessments. For more information go to http://www.seai.ie/Grants/
Find out how much energy is used by common household items - from light bulbs to your TV. Estimate how much your home electrical appliances and lights cost to run with the appliance calculator.
Website from SEAI in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills - the aim of the site is to support schools in improving energy efficiency.
SEAI offers all kinds of tips and advice on saving energy at home.
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