Energy efficient homes are a great way to reduce the impact of rising global fuel prices. People are now being forced to spend a greater proportion of their monthly budgets on energy bills. There has never been a more crucial time to carry out simple energy saving home improvement works.
In 2008, after countless energy price hikes, people are finally beginning to realize that energy saving as beneficial for their bank account as it is for conserving the environment.
Shell last year announced record profits of $27.5 billion and that was when the cost for a barrel of oil was under $100. This year they are reportedly making well over $75 million each day. Surely with all that profit our energy costs should be falling not rising.
What’s the solution?
We can’t control global economics and most of us do not have an oil well in our back yard. However, to a large extent we can control the amount of energy we use and the energy saving measures we employ. In particular we can start by maximizing the energy efficiency (i.e. minimize energy usage) of our homes.
Households spend on average around 10 per cent of their annual income on home energy bills. Using a few simple, often overlooked, techniques annual energy bills can be cut by around 75 per cent. The following five ‘no-cost’ or ‘low-cost’ energy saving measures offer some of the best and most cost-effective solutions to the energy problem with relatively short payback periods:
1. Home Energy Audits – easy to carry out and useful to identify areas for home improvement. Focus on areas of lowest energy efficiency, such as un-insulated lofts, single glazed windows, open fireplaces and energy ‘eating’ appliances (e.g. tumble dryer).
2. Home Improvements – include loft insulation, wall insulation, draft proofing, and double / treble glazing (can generate total savings of around $1,000 a year).
3. Heating system solutions – include adjusting programmers, fitting thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) and lowering thermostats (lowering your room thermostat by just 1°C can save you over $100 a year).
4. Energy saving products include energy saving light bulbs and home appliances such as tumble dryers and fridge/freezers (can generate total savings of up to $500 a year).
5. Other techniques include changing your energy supplier and seeking financial assistance from governments or other bodies to increase your home’s energy efficiency.
These simple energy saving solutions are cheap and easy to implement and, unlike more costly solutions such as solar power, do not require massive investment. They can quickly generate significant reductions to annual energy bills whilst lowering carbon dioxide emissions.
Jane Longton, Orlando, Florida fitted loft insulation, double glazing, and draft proofing in 2007 and her annual energy bills have fallen by more than $900. Energy efficiency upgrades also have the benefit of providing year on year savings once installed and they enhance property saleability.
According to the U.S. government global energy demand is set to rise 54 per cent by 2025 so, unfortunately, we are likely to see many more uncapped energy price rises over the next few years. By increasing our home energy saving any future increases in global energy costs will have less impact on the energy bills of those who have made some sensible changes.