I want a warmer, greener home: where do I start?
Starting with the basics
There is a useful Checker Tool on the Government website that allows you to put in the details of your home, and get customised suggestions on how to save energy.
The Energy Saving Trust website is a great place to start for learning the basics about different approaches. They have sections on:
- Reducing home heat loss – explaining the options for improving you insulation, dealing with leaky windows & doors, and draught proofing
- Heating your home – with info on heating and hot water, boilers, and thermostats & controls
- Generating renewable energy – covering solar PV, solar hot water, and other small-scale renewable options
- Buying energy efficient products – dealing with appliances and low energy lighting
The Centre for Sustainable Energy is another great source. Their Resources Page has links to a whole load of helpful fact sheets and videos covering all aspects of home energy improvements.
Greening Steyning has put together a series of more detailed articles and video providing advice on specific aspects of home energy improvement. Here’s a list of what’s available so far
- Green Homes Guide on Insulation
- An Introduction to Heat Pumps
- How Green is my Street? – showing how different streets in Steyning, Bramber & Beeding compare in their EPC ratings
Making a plan
You’ll want to get the greatest bang for your energy saving buck. So it makes sense to be strategic in making your home energy plan, and ask yourself:
- How energy efficient am I now?
- Where are my biggest energy losses occurring?
- What can I do that would be easy and cheap?
- What are the bigger steps I should be thinking about?
- How much will it all cost and should I tackle it in phases?
This is able to tap into the national EPC database so when you put in your address it can provide data on how energy efficiency your property is now. You say what your priorities are – cutting emissions, reducing bills, or both. Then you set your budget. Using these details, the Plan Builder calculates what improvements can be made according to your budget and priorities, and shows you how they influence your estimated fuel bills and the CO2 emissions saved.
Another useful starting point is the Home Retrofit Consumer Guide from Trustmark. This sets out the logic for taking a ‘whole house approach’ rather than tackling energy efficiency measures peacemeal.
Can I get a grant?
There are a range of grants available to help cover the costs of home energy improvements, and new schemes are being launched all the time. But it can be a bit of a puzzle navigating the eligibility criteria, deadlines and application procedures.
Home Energy Helpdesk
If you’re not sure where to begin and would like to talk your individual home energy situation through with one of our Homes & Energy volunteers, come along to one of our free Home Energy Helpdesk sessions.
They happen once a month, on the second Saturday of the month, the same time and place as the Repair Café – 2.00-4.00pm at Beeding & Bramber Village Hall.
We are also trying out a new venue – Steyning Public Library.
Come along for:
- A friendly chat about how you can save energy at home
- Tips on how to cut your fuel bills
- Suggestions on where to start with draught-proofing, insulation, solar energy, heat pumps and more
- Info on what grants are available
You can book a slot online ahead of time, or just turn up on the day.
There’s some excellent websites and videos out there if you want to get into the technical details.
We particularly like Heat Geek – a YouTube channel offering technical advice on the intricacies of home heating and renewables. For example there’s a video on whether to leave your heating on constantly, or programme it to come off and on. Here’s another on what questions to ask your heat pump installer.