With the change of season, comes the shorter days, dark evenings and colder temperatures and then, the inevitable and unwelcome increase in heating and lighting costs. Whether you pay the bills for your residential or commercial premises, it seems that year on year the fees always go in one direction – up!
So what steps can you take to try to reduce the impact of increasing electricity bills caused by greater use of heating and lighting? Here’s a few areas to consider that may be contributing to a large amount of wasted energy that can be cut out and take a significant chunk out of your winter electricity expenditure.
It’s common knowledge that a large percentage of heating is lost though glass, especially single glazed windows and older, poorly sealed window frames. Britain is full of old, character buildings that date back centuries however, these types of buildings are unfortunately incredibly inefficient in maintaining heat when you need it most.
If your building is in a conservation area or is grade listed, changing to double glazed frames is a non-starter. And having older single glazed frames is just going to allow cold drafts to come in and heat to escape. However, with just a small investment, some basic secondary glazing panels can work wonders to cut out the cold air coming in and warm air getting out.
By adding some good quality secondary glazing to older windows in your premises, you can make a huge difference to the amount of heat that is needed to maintain a comfortable temperature.
If however, you’re in a newer building and the windows are somewhat older or the seals or no longer efficient, perhaps it’s time to invest in double or even triple glazed windows to maximise their effectiveness in maintaining heat inside the building.
During the dark Autumn and Winter months, we rely on lights a great deal more for obvious reasons. However, standard filament bulbs and strip lights can really start to rack up the energy units over the course of a long day, especially in commercial spaces of several hundred square feet.
If your building is still using an outdated lighting system, it might be about time to invest in improved, lower energy lighting to dramatically reduce your energy usage and carbon footprint. In most cases, you’ll be surprised just how much energy is saved and the costs involved in making the changes can be recouped far quicker than you had first thought. Over a long term period, it’s a wise investment that will save you money for many years to come.
Another culprit of lost heat is poorly insulated cavity walls and partitions. It doesn’t matter what type of building you are in, whether your home or office – if the wall spaces and ceilings lack sufficient insulation, all that heat is going to disappear up through the roof and be absorbed out through the walls like a magnet!
So if you suspect your walls are poorly insulted, this should be one of your top priorities as the fixes are generally cheap but the results are dramatic.
Some heating systems are incredibly inefficient, especially some older gas and electricity boilers. Electric boilers are especially energy hungry and if not serviced regularly, can use an incredible amount of energy just to heat enough water to fill a central heating system and keep it at the correct temperature.
If the environment is poorly insulated and constantly losing heat, that poor boiler is going to be burning the units for hours just to try and keep up. And with that, comes huge energy bills!
So if your boiler is rather old or in need of some TLC, have it checked and reviewed by a qualified boiler engineer and perhaps you may find that it’s time to throw that old relic away and replace it with an energy efficient boiler that may be a sizeable investment in the short term, but will surely pay for itself with years of efficient, low-cost heat.
Assuming your boiler is a modern, more efficient model, ensure you have a fully integrated electronic programmable thermostat connected. A boiler without a thermostat will simply continuously heat and burn for hours, without really knowing when the room has reached a sufficient ambient temperature. A thermostat can be programmed to only heat when required and gives you far greater control and flexibility over the amount of heat you need and when you want it.
Wear more layers! If the room feels a little chilly, instead of running to the thermostat or the heating ‘on switch’, consider wrapping up just a little warmer instead. A few hours heat saved every day could equate to several hundred pounds saved in your pocket!