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SOLAR ENERGY

  • Increase efficiency
    &
    Use renewables

  • Insulation

    Keep Heat in 
    & Cold out 



  • LED Lighting

    Save 85% 
    off your
    running costs

  • Solar PV
    System

    Generate & use 
    your own electricity

  • Solar Thermal
    Systems

    Heat your
    Hot water

  • Wood burning
    Stoves

    Reduce your 
    space heating
    costs

  • Air Source
    Heat Pumps

    Great for
    Underfloor
    Heating

  • Rainwater
    Harvesting

    Flush loos
    Wash clothes
    Water gardens
    Clean cars


How can I reduce my energy bills?

You can reduce your energy bills in any number of ways and you can do it one small step at a time or take a giant leap forward, the choice is yours.

The first step

Make sure that you are paying as little as possible for your grid energy. Check out all the energy suppliers in your area and work out which tariff suits you best. Some canny people already do this but many more will be delighted by the savings to be made just by doing a bit of gentle research. A dual fuel tariff generally offers the best savings.

The next step

Check out which technology, or combination of technologies, maybe suitable for your individual needs and ambitions. One size does not fit all, effective solutions must be tailored to suit the task.

  • Solar Photovoltaic
  • Solar Thermal
  • Heat Pumps
  • Biomass Heating
  • Micro CHP
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Wind turbine
  • Hydro
  • Insulation & Air Tightness
  • Voltage Optimisation
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Heat Recovery

Help is at hand

If all of the above is already too much for you to think about or you don’t have time to do any research yourself, give us a call. If you want a bit more detail, read on…

The amount of energy you use in your home will depend upon the type of building and the way you use it. The more energy efficient your property is the lower will be the energy use but your lifestyle and habits can have a significant impact too. With the prospect of constantly rising energy prices the question most people ask comes down to, “What do I spend my money on to get the biggest reduction in my energy bills?”

The main assumptions we’re making in what follows is that you have mains electricity and gas and that you use your property like a normal home. If these things are not true then your situation will be more complex and the basic analysis will change, in which case give us a call.

Switching energy suppliers

According to the BBC, “Four-fifths of people cannot be bothered to look for cheaper gas or electricity rates despite the urging of numerous consumer gurus to switch.” Switching is simple and for probably 15-20 minutes of your time you can save hundreds of pounds. We have saved several clients (with large domestic energy bills) upwards of £800 per year with 15 minutes work simply by walking them through one of the online switching sites like uSwitch.com. If you’re worried about doing this, call us and we’ll explain how easy it is. This will save you money, but this won’t make you or your house more energy efficient.

Energy Efficiency

Reducing the use of anything starts with understanding where and when it’s being used. In the sophisticated commercial version of this exercise the first step is to monitor all energy use across a building for a significant time period. In the domestic world this is currently not practical, but fortunately the overall balance of energy use is relatively consistent. The average energy consumption for the UK is now 3,200 kWh of standard electricity and 13,500 kWh of gas. So the average UK house uses over 4 times as much gas as electricity, but the average price of gas is about 4.5p’kWh and for electricity 14p’kWh so that the average annual cost of electricity and gas is about £450 and £610. Remember, if you have a larger than average property or one with more appliances, services and lighting, your bills will be much higher.

Where does all this energy go? How much ends up as hot water or running the TV, your computers or the washing machine? Cooking?

In 2011 the Energy Saving Trust published a document with the answers to these questions and the DECC publication Great Britain’s Housing Energy Fact File 2011 is very illuminating.



Insulation

The first priority is to make your property as energy efficient as possible and for the average house the best use of your money will almost always be to insulate well and to have an efficient boiler.

Hot water and space heating clearly dominate domestic energy use (83%) worth about £875 per year, so it makes sense to target this first. If you don’t have adequate loft insulation the 66% of your space heating (hot air!) heads upwards and out through your roof. Similarly, draughts bring cold air into your house and what goes out is (expensive) hot air. Doing the maths for these two items so that you can work out whether you want to spend the money to address these problems can be rather harder.

As a general rule, where there is no insulation or just insulation between the joists (on the floor of the loft) you should add more and it will save you money and pay for itself, typically in a couple of years. More importantly, it will then save you more and more money every year as energy costs rise.

High Efficiency Heating

Heating your house using a gas boiler is usually the most energy and cost efficient way. If you don’t have mains gas then heat pumps are worth considering as an alternative to oil or electrical heating… but that’s another story. If you have mains gas, despite what lots of sales people will tell you, you will struggle to do better than a modern high efficiency central heating boiler.

If you are heating your home with electricity then there are potential cost savings to be made simply because electricity is more than three times the cost per unit of energy.

If you already have a gas boiler don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it still works as well as ever…. If it’s 20 years old it was inefficient then and it’s inefficient now. If you have a wall hung boiler 10 or more years old then it’s likely to be about 78% efficient and if it’s a floor standing model it will be about 65% efficient. A new condensing boiler will be more than 90% efficient. In this case the maths is relatively easy. Replacing a 65% efficient boiler for a 90% one will change the average UK annual £875 gas bill to a £632 gas bill, saving you £253 per year (at current gas prices!). If you use more than the average then you’ll save more. Get out your energy bills for the last year and work it out, or call us and we’ll help.

Low Energy LED Lighting

A few years ago all the electricity companies sent out low energy light bulbs, and we’ve been cursing them ever since. They were compact fluorescent lamps that generally produced a whiter light than we wanted and took a minute or two to reach full brightness. However in the last two years there has been a revolution in lighting and the future is LED. LED lamps are still expensive by the standards of ‘old fashioned’ (incandescent) lamps, but they typically use 80% or less energy and last 20x longer.

In the commercial world where lamps are on for 8 or more hours a day 5-7 days per week they are the single best efficiency measure in terms of the return for the money spent. In the home it’s more complicated; is it worth changing the downstairs toilet light which is on for 1 hour a week? The answer is probably no. Is it worth changing the 20 downlighters in the kitchen?. Probably yes. And the quality of light is now as good as halogen. You can shop around for straightforward lamp replacements yourself, but if you want to dim them life gets a little more complicated… so call us and we’ll help.

Optimise your mains electricity

Every piece of electrical equipment in your house other than those that just heat things, like a kettle or an immersion heater, are optimised to work at 220V. If the voltage in your house is above 220V then the difference is wasted as heat and often a shorter working life for your equipment. The typical voltage in most large cities is between 240 and 245V so that’s about 10% of the electrical energy used is simply wasted (it’s actually helping to heat your house a little, but that’s poor compensation). A voltage optimiser is a simple box with no moving parts that is connected to your electricity supply and which sets the voltage at close to 220V. It is guaranteed for 20 yrs so you reduce your electricity use and save money.

Exploit Renewable Energy Technologies

There are a number of technologies that might be appropriate for your property. The most applicable are as follows:

Solar Thermal

Should you have solar panels for hot water (referred to as Solar Thermal)? Start by calculating how much you pay for hot water each year. The average house spends about £150 per year. Assuming that half of it is used in the winter when solar panels will not contribute significantly then we have an annual spend of about £75 on hot water that could potentially be generated by solar panels. A typical solar thermal installation will cost about £5,000 but will require a bi-annual service costing, say £90 + vat and parts so that without any government incentive this will pay for itself in 100 years! Fortunately there is the Renewable Heat Inventive (RHI) which started in April 2014 and this will run for 7 years and pay you 19.2p per kWh of heat generated. For a typical house this will generate an income of about £300 – 400 per year but only for 7 years.

Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV)

It’s a very different picture for Solar PV, the familiar panels which simply convert daylight into electricity. The Government’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) means that every generator of solar electricity gets paid for doing it. Based on an 8 panel 2.0kWp PV system, costing about £4,000 and a typical electricity bill, the PV system might generate half which would save £225 a year. On top of this the government will pay you about £275 so the annual benefit would be about £500. On this basis a PV installation will pay for itself in less than 10 years and the FIT payments are index-linked and guaranteed for 20 years, which is why PV is a very popular investment.

Why not use our Location Scanner to find out now if your property is suitable?

There are several other possible technologies that might be applicable and these are all covered in the Technologies section of our site.

Get in touch

For a free, no obligation, expert assessment, please get in touch here
MCS NIC/EIC approved installer The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme Which? Trusted Trader TSI Approved Code Renewable Energy Consumer Code member You Gen Official Partner Renewable World