Green upgrades to UK homes could dramatically reduce your energy bills

New research reveals that UK homes could see significant energy savings if certain green improvements are made

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new study led by Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has seen researchers trialling a series of energy-saving approaches on over 460 homes, to find out how effective they were at cutting energy use and carbon emissions. Overall, the study found their improvements to be successful, with very positive results.

The measures NTU undertook included installing ‘wrap-around’ insulation for solid walls on older properties, which reportedly generated energy savings of 31-45 per cent. 

In addition, ground source heat pumps were used for heating and hot water instead of standard boilers, which increased the energy savings to 68 per cent. NTU also discovered that with these measures, carbon dioxide emissions could be cut by 550 tonnes a year per household.

Cheaper energy bills and increased wellbeing 

The benefits of these green upgrades didn’t just stop at efficiency. According to NTU, their modifications led to the homes being warmer, improved their lighting and ventilation, and resulted in cheaper bills and increased wellbeing for the occupants. This boost for residents’ welfare was something noted by 86 per cent of those involved, with 52 per cent claiming they felt their health ‘significantly improved’.

The leader of the study, Professor Anton Ianakiev, from the NTU's School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, praised the findings as a means of "providing lessons for others to roll out efficiency improvements". The professor also commended the “significant societal and economic benefits” these green upgrades have the potential to provide, in particular for helping households cut costs, supporting those in fuel poverty and those who struggle financially with their energy bills.

However, Ianakiev warned that “dramatic improvements” would be needed to upgrade the UK’s housing stock to help the country’s households realise the benefits of the study. He said this would be important to reach 2050's net-zero targets, and called for more government intervention to support the green retrofitting of the nation’s properties.

More ways to save on your energy bills

As a homeowner, you could look to invest in upgrades like those used in this study, and make the most of the upcoming Green Homes Grant to help subsidise the work. However, there are also other approaches to take now that could see you save on your current energy bills. 

Firstly, it's a good idea to check your existing energy tariff, and then shop around to find the best energy deals in your area. According to Moneywise, an estimated 11 million UK households are on standard variable tariffs rather than fixed-term tariffs – and these can often be the most expensive. 

If this is the case for your home, you can carry out an online energy comparison to find the best energy supplier to switch to. It takes less than five minutes, and the service will handle the switch for you if you choose. Equally, if you’ve been with the same supplier for a while - or you would prefer to move to green energy supplier - it's worth comparing the energy market as it’s likely you’ll find a better deal elsewhere.

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