Tom's Top Ten Energy Saving Tips (....so far...)

Tom Heap outside his house

1. Think about how energy costs of a property BEFORE you buy it. It might not be the deciding factor, but as energy prices rise you might negotiate a discount which you can then spend on insulation or greener generation.

2. Shake your doors and windows. If they rattle, go round the casement with squishy draft exclusion strip.

3. Check around the outside of frames for gaps and cracks. If you find any, get busy wodging in some filler with a mastic gun. (Interior gas/coal heaters do need some ventilation - check with an expert if you are concerned)

4. Curtains: Draw them at night. If you have a radiator beneath the window, make the curtain long enough to tuck behind it. There is no point super-heating the air right next to the glass. You just lose it.

5. Think carefully before fitting double glazing unless you need to replace your windows for other reasons anyway. It costs a fortune and the energy saved takes 10 - 20 years to pay back.

6. Do bother with roof insulation. Even if you have some it's probably not thick enough. It is cheap to do yourself and there is a good chance someone will pick up part of the bill for you anyway. Contact your gas/electricity supplier as they may provide a subsidised loft insulation service.

7. If you have a chimney where you don't use the fire much block it with a chimney balloon. You can lose as much heat up a chimney as all your rattly windows and doors put together. They are also kind of wacky and make better dinner party conversation than most of the above.

8. Whenever you replace an appliance, from dishwasher to light bulb, go for the energy saving option.

9. Get an electricity and gas meter that you can read easily, fitted in your kitchen. Knowing how much energy you are using and then saving is in turns shocking then rewarding. Preferably get one that shouts `Oi how about putting on a jersey rather than melting the icecap' every time your energy consumption goes over the threshold.

10. Big projects make much more financial sense if you're doing the work anyway: If you've got a digger in, the trenches required for a ground source heat pump will be relatively cheap. If you've got to replace a roof anyway, what about solar electric or solar thermal? If your boiler is knackered go for the most efficient gas or even wood-burning version.

Heap T (2007) Tom's Top Ten Energy Saving Tips. Visited on 14th January 2007 at URL:http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/slashyourbills2.shtml

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