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Improving energy efficiency in the home

There is a hierarchy of ways to improve energy efficiency within the home, starting with the simplest and cheapest methods and ending with the most involved and expensive.

1. Reduce energy need




  • wear more clothing indoors in the winter months

  • wash clothes at lower temperatures

  • hang washing on the line or if raining, use a clothes horse indoors (a tumble dryer is is the most energy-consuming electrical item in the home)

  • use cold water where possible

  • take frozen food out of the freezer early when planning a meal, so less time is spent defrosting in the microwave    


2. Reduce energy consumption




  • turn the thermostat down (in the average household, for every 1 deg C reduction there is a £50/year saving)

  • turn off radiators in rooms not being used (unless of course the room temperature drops to zero)

  • when boiling a kettle only fill it to the volume required (e.g. for one cup of tea; also, if anticipating several cups in the day, boil enough water to fill a thermos flask)

  • turn appliances off at the wall socket when not in use (can save up to 6% on your annual electricity bill)

  • install LED lighting (very efficient and long-lasting)

  • don’t send unnecessary emails, especially with large attachments (the average carbon footprint of incoming emails is 135kg/year)

  • insulate: the loft (20cm minimal thickness), the walls; double glaze the windows

  • draught-proof windows and doors

  • Boilers: think about an upgrade. Condensing boiler (the most fuel efficient) and combi boiler (only heats the water when the hot tap is turned on) are the best

3. Switch to low carbon or renewable energy


  • Solar thermal panels (for hot water)

  • Solar photovoltaic panels

  • Ground source heat pump

  • Air source heat pump

  • Change your electricity supplier to one that provides green energy such as Ecotricity and Good Energy


It is also possible to visit individual homes and look at what innovations people have made to improve and where these visits can be made, visit:


A similar scheme can be found at

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