By now we’re all getting familiar with some of the key messages that we see in campaigns and advertising: to buy low energy light bulbs, to buy A-rated kitchen appliances and not to leave your television on standby. These are all sensible suggestions, but they all relate to electricity use and can easily lead people to think that focusing only on lighting and power is enough to ‘do their bit.’ So the following facts might come as a bit of a surprise:
(a) In UK energy terms, the amount of gas used in our homes is about the same as the total amount of electricity used for homes, businesses, industry and transport put together.
(b) 84% of the energy used in an average home with a boiler is for the heating and hot water, and this accounts for about 70% of the carbon emissions.
(c) A recent EU study concluded that the carbon emissions from gas and oil central heating boilers were of the same magnitude as that from all road transport.
So it’s clear, the first thing for most people to save energy in the home should be to look at their heating system. Obviously, insulation is part of reducing your heating load and it makes sense to do this first, but without an efficient and well controlled heating system you will still be using far more energy than you need to.
Any improvements to controls should save you money and energy straight away, and this can be up to 20% of your current heating bills.