Energy efficiency at home

An energy-efficient home not only saves on fuel bills, but our homes will also be warmer and we will contribute to the protection of the environment. If you are looking to make energy-efficient improvements to your property there are many ways to do this, all of which will reduce the amount of energy you use in your day-to-day activities without changing your lifestyle dramatically.

Many of these are no or low cost, however, some will require a financial investment. The most common improvement methods are detailed below, along with a number of ways to save energy by making small changes in and around the home.

Around a third of all the heat lost in an un-insulated home is lost through the walls. If your home has cavity walls, insulation is a good way to reduce the amount of energy you need to heat your home. 

Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat from escaping through the windows. You can also consider switching to thermal curtains which can reduce light by up to 90% and insulate against heat. It's important to note that not all thermal options are alike. For the best insulation, look for a thermal curtain that has at least two layers, triple-woven fabric, and blackout technology to eliminate light and even noise.

Use an easy-to-fix draught excluder on your exterior doors. Fill gaps in floorboards and skirting boards with beading or sealant.

If your home was built before or around 1920, its external walls are likely to be solid rather than 'cavity walls'. If you have solid walls you can either insulate them with external or internal insulation, with the benefit that your house will stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

It is possible that changes to the external appearance of your property may need planning approval and/or building control sign-off, so before commencing any work of this nature it is advisable to contact the planning department to discuss this and ensure that any works are fully compliant. Amber Valleys planning department can be contacted on 01773 841571 or via email

Insulating beneath floorboards will reduce heating bills and improve the comfort of your home, as it has been estimated that between 10-20% of heat loss can be through the floors if they’re not insulated to a reasonable standard. Gaps and cracks around floors and skirting boards are easy to fill yourself using a tube of sealant.

Don't leave the door open. Avoid putting hot or warm food straight into the fridge. Defrost your freezer regularly. If it tends to frost up quickly, check the door seal. If you have your fridge next to a cooker or boiler, leave a good gap between them.

Always wash a full load or, if you can't use a 'half load' or 'economy' programme. Always use the lowest temperature programme bearing in mind that modern washing powders will be just as effective at lower temperatures. Only use your tumble drier when you can't dry clothes outdoors.

Turning your thermostat down by 1ºC could cut your heating bills by up to 10%. Fit radiator backing panels behind radiators to ensure heat is reflected back into the room and not lost through the walls and windows.

Having 'thermostatic radiator valves' (TRVs) installed on your radiators allows you to set the temperature in individual rooms. This makes it easier for you to keep rooms at a consistent and comfortable temperature and save on heating bills by only heating the rooms you need to.

TRVs are relatively inexpensive to purchase but will require a fully qualified plumber to install. Energy savings resulting from using TRVs have been calculated as high as 40%, although are dependent on a number of variables such as the efficiency of radiators, insulation, and how many rooms they are installed in.

Switch appliances off if not needed as some electrical appliances drain power when left on standby or when they aren’t in use. Leaving a device on standby doesn't use as much power as when it's switched on, but the costs can soon start to climb. Appliances that typically have a standby mode include games consoles, TVs, and PC monitors, however, there are a large number of other appliances/devices that require a constant supply of electricity to keep them in real time:

  • Digital radios
  • Microwaves
  • Alarm clocks
  • Smart home devices (voice recognition devices like Alexa, Google Home)
  • Music speakers
  • Mobile phones/tablets – when they’re charging but not on/or are fully charged
  • Laptops – when they’re charging but not on/or are fully charged
  • Printers, fax machines, shredders
  • White goods (tumble dryers, washing machines, dishwashers)
  • Kitchen appliances (coffee machines, kettles)

Always turn them off when you leave a room and replace standard bulbs with energy-efficient ones where lights are left on the longest. Installing timers for lamps (and other devices) in your home is another way to reduce the amount of energy you use on a regular basis, and will result in savings on your electricity throughout the year.

Without proper loft insulation a lot of the energy you use to heat your home will be lost through your roof.  The recommended depth for loft insulation is 270mm.

The main benefit of getting a smart meter is that you'll no longer need to take manual readings for your gas and electricity. With a smart meter, all that data is sent to your supplier automatically. On top of that, smart meters allow you to understand your energy consumption, keep track of it accurately, and save money by cutting down on unnecessary usage.

The smart meter installation process is straightforward. Your energy supplier will install your smart meter at no extra cost and the installation only takes a couple of hours so you'll be up and running in no time. For more information visit

Pipe insulation consists of a foam tube that covers the exposed pipes between your hot water cylinder and boiler, reducing the amount of heat lost and, therefore, keeping your water hotter for longer. It's usually as simple as choosing the correct size from a DIY store and then slipping it around the pipes.

It doesn't need to be scalding hot. For most people, setting the cylinder thermostat at 60ºC/140ºF is fine for bathing and washing. Always put the plug in your basin or sink, as allowing hot water to run straight down the drain really is throwing money away. Heat only the amount you really need and have showers rather than baths.

Fit double glazing when your existing windows need replacing. Choose the rooms which cost you the most to heat first if you cannot manage the whole house. Alternatively, if this is not viable, consider fitting weather strips, which reduce drafts and block heat loss through windows and doors. The right weather stripping, when installed correctly, can pay off significantly in energy savings whilst keeping rooms warmer.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841335 or email