energy efficient

If you're keen to create a more energy efficient home, the good news is that it's perfectly possible to do so without spending a fortune. Some strategies require no outlay at all, and others are even supported by government subsidies. We take a look at some of the most popular.

Home insulation

This is one of the most important measures you can take and good insulation does make a huge difference to your home, keeping out the heat in summer and keeping it in in winter. Without good insulation, the energy you put into your air conditioning and central heating will just disappear into the ether and will cost you money, whilst damaging the environment. You can bring in an expert to install insulation for you, or get down to your local DIY store for the necessary kit and a tutorial.

Double glazed windows

Double glazing can be costly initially, but it is also a fantastic long-term investment for your home and one that should add value to it whilst keeping in the warmth. You'll immediately notice the difference in terms of your energy insulation and efficiency when you install double glazed windows. They also look good and are far more secure than older single glazed varieties. And you'll save money in the longer term through the efficiency savings.

Energy efficient lightbulbs

Old glass bulbs are now unavailable for sale and the technologies available for 'greener' lighting evolve all the time. Look for CFLs, or compact fluorescent bulbs, which last for up to twelve times as long as old fashioned incandescent bulbs. These save a great deal of energy, and money.

Energy efficient appliances

Look for replacement appliances which bear the HE logo and which are highly rated when it comes to energy efficiency. Whether you are upgrading your shower to one of the Grundfos Go or Grundfos Magna Pumps, or looking to replace your inefficient old tumble dryer with a newer and greener model, you'll find plenty of options available with clear information about how the European energy standards work. Some cost a little more initially, but they'll recoup the higher outlay through cost savings, whilst reducing your carbon footprint.

Be mindful of your energy usage

One easy way to reduce energy consumption at home is to be more careful in the way that you use it. Switch off lights, and put on a jumper before you switch the heating on. Keep thermostats switched down a notch and don't leave things on standby, or phone chargers plugged into the wall when they are not being used. Another great tip is to limit the amount of time you spend in the shower - pop a timer in and cut it down to a couple of minutes. Put a waver saver into the toilet if you don't already have an energy saving flush built in - your utility company can often provide one free of charge.

Schedule an energy usage audit

There are various services - usually non-profit - which will audit your home for energy efficiency and give you ideas as to how you can live more greenly. Look online too for ideas and if your utility firm offers a smart meter option then take them up on it. If you have children then this can be a great way to get them involved. Kids are naturally interested in environmental issues and usually have some great ideas.

Consider a composter

An easy way to reduce waste at home is to invest in a composter for the garden, so that your old food waste can be put to good use. Contact your local council as they often offer free or subsidised composters as part of their energy saving initiatives. You can also use eggshells to protect your plants from invaders and rolled up newspaper makes great seedling trays.

Get creative and go online for ideas as to how to reduce, reuse and recycle in your home. A water butt is also a worthwhile investment from a similar perspective - rainwater makes for better plant watering than chlorinated tap water and saves you money too.

For larger investments

Look at renewable energy investments for the home; a biomass boiler such as a wood burning stove for example or a solar energy panel or two on a south facing roof. Government subsidies are still available for energy generation so it's worth contacting an installer to find out what options are available, and at what investment levels.

Good luck with your domestic energy challenge!