What is energy efficiency?
Whilst demand reduction is about avoiding wasteful energy consumption, energy efficiency is about delivering the same end services such as heating and lighting with less energy input. Energy Efficiency improvement therefore requires changes to systems and processes using energy.
Some examples of common energy efficiency improvements include:
• Improved insulation in buildings
• More efficient boilers
• Energy Efficient lighting
• More efficient appliances such as fridges and televisions
The sections below provide further details on specific energy efficiency technologies, and you can find the fact sheets relating to these technologies at the bottom of the page.
Insulation and Draft Exclusion
A wide range of insulation products are available targeting a number of different functions. This can include loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation, under-floor insulation and lagging for pipes and hot water tanks.
Draft exclusion achieves similar outcomes to insulation by reducing heat loss and hence the amount of energy needed to maintain internal temperatures. Many products are available to improve seals on doors and windows to reduce drafts.
Energy Efficient Boilers
Modern condensing gas boilers are far more fuel efficient than non-condensing boilers. Energy efficiency can be improved and CO2 emissions reduced by upgrading to condensing boilers and replacing oil-fired boilers with gas-fired boilers where mains gas is available. Biomass boilers are also discussed under the renewable heat technologies section.
Energy efficient lighting
There have been a number of advances in energy efficient lighting including compact fluorescent light-bulbs and LED lighting. These new types of lighting produce similar lighting to incandescent bulbs but with less electricity. Lighting efficiency can also be improved with technologies such as motion sensors which can automatically turn lights off when a room is unoccupied.
The Directgov website has a useful page on energy saving light-bulbs.
Double glazing can help to reduce heat loss through windows and will also help to insulate against outdoor noise. Double glazing can be relatively expensive and it may be difficult to recoup the cost of double glazing from the energy savings alone.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Electrical Appliances are now rated according to their energy efficiency. All appliances such as fridges, microwaves and washing machines should have the colour coded energy efficiency rating clearly displayed when on display in retail outlets.
Energy Efficiency – Simple Guides for Householders
Solid Wall Insulation
If your property was built before 1920, it is likely that it was built with solid stone or brick external walls. If these walls are un-insulated you could be losing up to a third of your property’s generated heat, wasting money and energy.
Cavity Wall Insulation
Homes built after 1920 generally have cavity constructed external walls, made by two “skins” separated by a hollow space, or cavity, between them. Cavity wall insulation fills the hollow space, keeping the heat in and saving you energy.
Without loft insulation as much as a quarter of the heat you pay for could be escaping through the roof. Loft insulation is one of the most effective ways of running a warmer home which is cheaper to run and more energy efficient.
Draught proofing your home saves energy by blocking up the unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out.
Secondary glazing offers an alternative to householders who don’t want to or are unable to replace their existing single-glazed windows with more energy efficient double glazing.
Low Energy Lighting
By replacing a traditional light bulb with an energy saving lightbulb, which lasts around ten times longer than a traditional bulb, you can make savings of around £40 before it needs eplacing, so across a typical home the savings can quickly add up.