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Building Fabric - Walls, Roofs and Floors
Insulation: Proper insulation will help retain valuable heat and improve overall comfort levels. If insulation is disturbed or damaged at any time, e.g. in attic space, make sure to restore or replace it. Roof: The roof is one of the largest areas for heat loss in a dwelling. Installing insulation will reduce this heat loss, and so reduce the energy demand of the dwelling. Blanket insulation, loose beads or expanding foam may be used to achieve the required insulation level. Walls: As the largest surface area in most dwellings, the wall can make up one of the largest areas for heat loss in a dwelling. Installing insulation will reduce this heat loss, and so reduce the energy demand of the dwelling. Internal insulation, known as dry-lining, is where a layer of insulation is fixed to the inside surface of external walls. External solid wall insulation is the application of an insulant and a weather-protective finish to the outside of the wall. Floors:The floor can be a source of significant heat loss and dampness in a dwelling. Installing insulation will reduce this heat loss, and so reduce the energy demand of the dwelling. The floor space must also have adequate ventilation to prevent dampness.
Windows and Doors
Energy efficient glazing helps to retain heat within the heated rooms and improves comfort through elimination of cold window surfaces and assoicated down-draughts and condensation. Use of lines curtains, blinds or shutters can improve heat retention at night and further reduce down-draughts.
Adequate ventilation is required in all houses for various reasons. However draught proofing of doors, etc reduces heat loss and improves comfort. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery can help reduce heat loss - warm moist air is extracted from bathrooms and kitchens and the heat is recovered in a heat exchanger. Incoming air is also pre-heated in the heat exchanger - reducing the energy required to heat the house.
Boiler: You should have your boiler professionally serviced at least once per year. A clean and serviced appliance will operate more economically and will have a longer service life. Electric Storage Heating: Electric storage heaters are more cost effective if you are using electricity supplied at a cheaper night-time rate. Checking your tariff with your electricity supplier could save you money. Room Thermostats: Room thermostats normally turn the boiler and heating circulation pump off when the room temperature has reached the desired level. A room thermostat is normally located in a living area or circulation area (hall or landing). Guide temperature settings are 20°C for a living room and 16 - 18°C for circulation areas. However, the most appropriate setting depends on location of the thermostat and the heating system design. Choose the lowest setting that gives acceptable comfort conditions. Finding the setting to suit you may take some experimentation. A reduction of 1°C on your thermostat can reduce annual space heating costs by 10% or more. Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs): TRVs are fitted to individual radiators to allow you to keep different rooms at suitable temperatures. They have a range of temperature settings and will reduce the flow of hot water through the radiator as the room reaches the set temperature. Finding the setting to suit you may take some experimentation. Choose the lowest setting that gives acceptable comfort conditions. If a TRV is fitted to a radiator in a room where there is a room thermostat, the room thermostat should be at a lower setting than the TRV, otherwise the room thermostat will not operate properly. Automatic Timer Switch or Programmer (Heating): Your automatic timer switch or programmer allows you to schedule the heating duty on your heating system and to turn the system on and off as required. Use this facility to limit the running time for the heating system to fit your specific needs and you will save money.
Hot Water Storage Cylinder Heated by Space Heating Boiler: Ensure that the cylinder insulation and pipe insulation is not disturbed or damaged. Incomplete insulation increases heat loss and costs money. Hot Water Storage Cylinder Heated by Electric Immersion Heater: · Ensure that the cylinder insulation and pipe insulation is not disturbed or damaged. Incomplete insulation increases heat loss and costs money. · Unless you expect a low level of hot water use, consider using electricity supplied at a cheaper night-time rate. Checking your tariff with your electricity supplier could save you money. Hot Water Storage Cylinder Heated by Space Heating Boiler and Electric Immersion Heater: · Ensure that the cylinder insulation and pipe insulation is not disturbed or damaged. Incomplete insulation increases heat loss and costs money. · Generally, if you have a modern high efficiency boiler (rated 'D' or better on the HARP database (www.sei.ie/ber)) linked to a hot water tank thermostat, then it will be better to use the boiler to provide hot water year round rather than using the electric immersion heater. Hot Water Storage Cylinder Thermostat: This thermostat allows you to set the temperature at which hot water is stored in your cylinder. The lower the storage temperature the less the heat loss from your cylinder. However, you should not set the storage temperature below 60°C to avoid risk of legionnaires disease. Solar Water Heaters: Your solar water heater converts solar radiation into heat to produce hot water. Units that are subject to exterior fouling or scaling should be cleaned periodically. A marked increase in pressure drop and/or reduction in performance can indicate that cleaning is required. Ensure that you have clear instructions from the supplier in the event that the solar water supply water is turned off or if there is danger of freezing. Automatic Timer Switch or Programmer (Hot Water): Your automatic timer switch or programmer allows you to schedule the heating duty on the hot water system and to turn the system on and off as required. Use this facility to limit the running time for the hot water system to fit your specific needs and you will save money.
General Advice on Lighting: Avail of natural daylight whenever possible and avoid leaving electric lights switched on in unoccupied rooms. All lighting lamps carry an energy label similar to that on appliances (i.e. an A to G label) so always choose the most efficient to suit your particular needs. Incandescent Light Bulbs: This is the most inefficient form of lighting. Only one twentieth of the energy that goes into a typical (incandescent) light bulb is converted into light; the remainder becomes heat, which means that most of the energy you are paying for is wasted. When replacement is necessary, it is cost effective and environmentally friendly to replace these bulbs with low energy light bulbs. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs): CFLs use 20% of the energy used by typical incandescent bulbs to give the same amount of light, and last up to 15 times as long. A 22 Watt CFL has the same light output as a 100 Watt incandescent bulb. Low energy lighting will give highest savings in rooms that are most often used. Fluorescent Tubes: Slim line 26mm diameter fluorescent tubes give energy savings of around 8 - 10% compared with older 38mm tubes and are cheaper to buy. Tungsten Halogen Bulbs: Tungsten Halogen bulbs are up to twice as efficient as standard bulbs and last about twice as long. However, they are still less efficient than CFLs and are only suitable for spotlighting/task lighting and should not be used for general household lighting. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs): LEDs are the newest addition to the list of energy efficient light sources. LEDs are extremely energy-efficient bulbs and can last 10 times as long as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and over 100 times longer than typical incandescent light bulbs. Recent improvements in manufacturing have lowered the cost of LEDs, which has expanded their application.
· New kitchen appliances carry an energy rating label which rate energy efficiency on a scale from A - G. When buying new appliances look for A rated products which are more energy efficient and cost less to run. · Do not under or overload appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. · For washing machines, a 40°C rather than 60°C wash cycle cuts electricity use by approximately a third. (Modern washing powders and detergents can work equally effectively at lower temperatures.) · Defrost your freezer regularly to save energy and extend the operating life. · Equipment on stand-by uses up to 20% of the energy it would use when fully on. When an appliance is not in use, turn it off fully. · Using one unit of electricity in your home releases twice as much CO2 as one unit of gas. · The use of renewable technologies (such as solar water heating) avoids the harmful greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy production.