Every year, we spend a significant portion of our hard-earned money trying to keep our homes warm and comfortable. With gas and electricity prices only expected to keep on rising, one of the best ways to save money is to opt for energy-efficient technology.
There are plenty of benefits to making your home more energy efficient. For example, homeowners can reduce the amount of money spent heating their abodes - and if you're thinking of selling your property, a house with a better energy rating is more likely to appeal to buyers and could fetch higher sale prices.
Meanwhile, landlords can make their investment prosperities more attractive to potential letters by taking steps to improve the home's energy efficiency. In fact, from 2016, tenants will be able to demand improvements to a rental property's insulation - and legislation will make it illegal for properties to be let out if they have an F or G-rating after 2018.
What is my home's energy rating?
Homeowners can commission an energy performance certificate (also known as an EPC) to find out what a property's energy rating is and identify ways to make improvements and move up to the next energy band. An EPC must also be obtained for any home that's for sale.
EPC ratings are based on a letter-grade scale and take into account a number of factors, including the roof, heating and controls, lighting, flooring, walls and hot water system. Homes with an A rating are considered very efficient and they have low running costs. The lowest grade possible is a G rating. Currently, 46 per cent of homes in England have a D rating.
Once produced, an EPC is valid for ten years.
How can I improve my home's energy efficiency?
There are many ways that you can take steps to make your home more efficient, and therefore cheaper to run and more environmentally friendly.
Insulation is one of the easiest options and studies have shown that more than 80 per cent of people are unaware of just how much heat escapes through uninsulated walls.
The Green Deal is a government scheme that allows homeowners and businesses to make energy-efficient improvements to their properties without having to worry about upfront costs. So far, 38,000 households have been assessed under the Green Deal, and research has shown that after having an assessment, 47 per cent of homeowners had or were getting energy saving measures installed. Meanwhile, 31 per cent of people said they would definitely or probably get energy efficiency measures installed.
One popular option for improving a home's energy rating is to install solid wall insulation, such as Marmox Multiboard. It is estimated that currently around eight million people in the UK have solid walls and only two per cent of homes with solid walls are currently insulated.
Figures show that 45 per cent of heat is lost through uninsulated solid walls and homeowners could save £475 per year simply by installing solid wall insulation (based on an average gas-heated, three-bedroom, semi-detached home). This translates to 14 million tonnes of CO2 being saved across the country, simply by installing solid wall insulation - that's the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off the road for a year.
Between April 2012 and April 2013, the number of properties with solid wall insulation increased 55 per cent, and The Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation are expected to install one million solid wall insulations by 2022.