The Importance of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are a legal requirement for anyone building, selling or renting a property (with some exceptions). However, beyond simply being a necessity, they are actually very useful to help you understand how energy efficient your home is and what can be improved on. The certificates show clear action points, broken down into cost of investment. If the recommendations are followed, this in turn can help save money on energy costs and make your home more eco-friendly.

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You can look up EPCs of other properties, in order to compare energy performance with similar homes, for free on the EPC register. You will also have been supplied with an EPC for your own home prior to moving in, unless you have lived there since before they came into force.

I looked through mine, which is now due for renewal, as they expire after a decade. It is very informative. For example, my home is rated D (on a scale of A-G) which is average. It is good in some aspects, according to the certificate, but it is poor on main heating controls, for example. It then gives lower cost measures to improve my home, a list of non-cost simple actions that be done to save money and reduce environmental impact, and a higher cost recommendation to invest in a better central heating unit.

To better understand the importance of this heating unit recommendation though, bare in mind that in a typical UK household, more than half of the fuel costs are for providing heating and hot water. Therefore an efficient heating system is essential, and a key step to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, as well as your energy bill.

As is the case for many homes in the UK, mine is a central heating system, with a boiler that runs on mains gas. I use a clean energy company for both my gas and electricity too, to try to be more environmentally- friendly.

As well as recommendations written on the EPC, I found some further suggestions on Energy Saving Trust and other websites for further energy-saving improvements to gas central heating systems too:

• Replace your boiler with a newer model. This is especially important if you don’t have a condensing boiler, as these are most efficient.

• Make sure the heating control unit allows you to decide specifically where and when you want heat.

• Switch to renewable technologies for generating energy to your home, or at least choose a green energy company to supply your home.

• Make sure your home is well insulated and draught-proofed.

So whilst EPCs might seem like an inconvenience and unnecessary cost, they are actually very useful. Paying attention to the information, and perhaps making some investments, can offer long term gain on both reducing your bills and impact on the environment too.

*This is a collaborative post.

Easy Ways to Cut the Amount of Energy You Use Each Month

Whether you want to do it for the good of the planet or the good of your bank balance, taking steps to spend less on energy is definitely worthwhile. It’s also a lot easier to do than many people think. We’re all guilty of wasting energy and using more than we need to. That’s just the way it is, but that doesn’t mean your habits can’t change. It’s more than possible to make changes to how you consume energy, and we’re about to prove that right now…

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Go LED

LED light bulbs are so much more energy efficient than the vast majority of other bulbs out there. If you’re still using old halogen bulbs, that’s something that’s really got to change. They use a lot of energy, and all of that’s being wasted when you could so easily switch to LEDs without any drawbacks of negatives involved at all. Every light in your home should be an LED.

Shut Your Doors and Close Your Curtains

Heating is a major way in which people waste energy in the home. If you only focus on heating the rooms that you’re using, you will save so much money and energy during the winter months. And you can do that even better by closing the curtains to stop heat escaping and also shutting doors so that the heat doesn’t escape into the rest of your home.

When Dealing With Frozen Foods, Use the Microwave Less

This is a very simple but effective trick. When you have frozen foods that you need to defrost before you can cook, simply remember to take them out of the freezer and sit them out on the countertop about 8 to 12 hours before you plan on using that food for preparation. It’s so much more energy efficient than defrosting in the microwave because it doesn’t use any energy at all.

Install More Energy Efficient Windows

Your windows will have a big impact on how much energy you use on heating your home. By improving the quality of your windows, you will be able to get away with spending less on energy each and every month. Find a company that can offer you replacement double glazing as soon as possible and start reaping the rewards of these changes. They’ll pay for themselves in no time.

A photo of windows

Wash in Colder Water

Washing your clothes is obviously another necessity, and that’s why many people think that there is no way for them to save energy in this area. That’s simply not true though. By washing your clothes in colder water, you will achieve the same results in most instances, and you will use a lot less energy.

Everyone can use less energy each and every month if they’re willing to put in the work to make it happen. You don’t need to spend money on energy that really isn’t needed. As the tips and ideas here prove, there are alternatives to energy inefficiency. Why not start making these changes right away?

*This is a collaborative post.

Eco- Energy City

Today Squiggle and I spent the majority of the day building an ‘Eco- Energy City’. It was such an interesting project and sparked lots of educational discussion, such as renewable energy sources, transfer of energy and different ways energy is used. She was really focused throughout and loved the finished product too- a big thumbs up from us!

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Getting started
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Circuits
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Wiring the water wheel
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Finishing touches
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And it works! The 'city' gets energy via the solar panel and hand generator, which can be stored and then used to power the windmill, turn the water wheel and light up the street light and house light.
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Experimenting with the switches
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Sylvanians came to visit the city and learn about it too!