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Homes in the UK are some of the worst insulated in Europe, according to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) data. As energy prices and the cost of living continue to rise, now is a great time to consider making your property more energy efficient. 

Although upfront costs may seem high, energy-proofing can save homeowners and landlords money in the long run by reducing energy bills and preventing damage from things such as dampness and mould.

To help property owners keep their bills to a minimum, we’ve researched the cost to energy-proof your property and how much energy (kWh) this could save you per month. 

Ground source pumps revealed as the best energy proofing method for your property

Ground source pumps rank as the best energy-proofing method, saving owners the highest amount of energy. A ground source pump pulls heat from the ground to heat your radiators and water cylinders, saving a predicted 257.5 kWh each month in energy, as well as £1,107.50 per year in bills. 

Unfortunately, although ground source pumps offer great energy-saving benefits, their high upfront cost of £20,000 means it will take 18 years to break even on your investment through savings on energy bills.

Property owners can save another 251.2 kWh per month and £1,080.54 per year by installing a grey water recovery system. These systems recycle water used for washing throughout the house, treat it, and then pump it back to be used in your toilet or washing machine.

Loft insulation is the third best energy-proofing method, saving detached properties £590 a year and 137.2 kWh per month in energy. As a quarter of heat is lost through the roof, making sure it’s properly insulated will help trap the heat inside the house.

Installing wind turbines and solar panels can also cut costs in the long run, saving a yearly average of £537.60 and £522 respectively. These additions can also help properties become more energy self-sufficient, as they use the sun and wind to generate energy for your property.

The below table shows the ten best energy proofing methods for your property:

Rank Energy-proofing item Cost of installation Energy saved per month (kWh) Money saved per year (£) Break even time (years)
1 Ground Source Pumps £20,000.00 257.5 £1,107.50 18.06
2 Grey Water Recovery £6,500.00 251.2 £1,080.54 6.02
3 Loft insulation (Detached house) £890.00 137.2 £590.00 1.51
4 Loft insulation (Detached bungalow) £890.00 137.2 £590.00 1.512
5 Wind Turbines (to Zero Emission: 2.5 kW System) £12,500.00 125.0 £537.60 23.25
6 Solar Panels (6) £3,252.00 121.4 £522.00 6.23
7 Heat Recovery Ventilators £4,500.00 90.6 £389.58 11.55
8 Loft insulation (Semi-detached house) £640.00 82.5 £355.00 1.80
9 Loft insulation (Mid-terrace house) £590.00 76.7 £330.00 1.79
10 Tank Jacket £16.00 72.3 £311.00 0.05

Energy-proofing on a budget: The most cost-effective methods 

To determine the most cost-effective methods with the greatest long-term impact, we calculated the time required for each method to break even on its upfront purchase cost.

Top 10 energy-proofing methods with the shortest break even time:

Rank Energy-proofing item Cost of installation Energy saved per month (kWh) Money saved per year (£) Break even time (months)
1 Tank Jacket £16.00 72.3 £311.00 0.62
2 Smart Thermostat £199.99 53.2 £228.65 10.50
3 Loft insulation (Detached house) £890.00 137.2 £590.00 18.10
4 Loft insulation (Detached bungalow) £890.00 137.2 £590.00 18.10
5 LED Light Bulb (Non-Smart) £4.39 0.6 £2.50 21.07
6 Loft insulation (Mid-terrace house) £590.00 76.7 £330.00 21.45
7 Loft insulation (Semi-detached house) £640.00 82.5 £355.00 21.63
8 Gray Water Recovery £6,500.00 251.2 £1,080.54 72.19
9 Solar Panels (6) £3,252.00 121.4 £522.00 74.76

A tank jacket, which insulates your hot water tank to reduce the amount of heat lost, takes the top spot as the most cost-effective method to improve energy efficiency. This energy-saving item costs just £16 to install, but reduces bills by as much as £311 a year – meaning it would only take 0.6 months (2.5 weeks) for the investment to break even.

Technology can be another great way to boost energy efficiency, and installing a smart thermostat is the most cost-effective tech appliance to invest in. These thermostats allow you to control your heating from your phone and program a smart schedule to heat your property in an energy-efficient way. They cost £199.99 upfront on average, but could save you £228.65 in bills in the first year alone – meaning break even time is just 10.5 months. 

Insulating your loft is the third best thing you can do to energy-proof your property for less. Depending on whether your property is detached, semi-detached or a mid-terrace, this will cost you between £590-£890 to have installed, and save you between £330-£590 per year – with an average break even time of 18-21 months.

The least cost-effective ways to energy-proof your property

Double-glazing windows may be a popular solution for fixing draughty windows, but the high cost of installation (£12,000) means this isn’t a quick fix. The monthly energy savings of 30.2 kWh result in a modest £130 reduction in your energy bills, meaning this method isn’t the most cost-effective solution. 

Air source pumps, while they do offer energy savings, are also not the most cost-effective method. Installation costs are £13,500 and will save you just £180.20 per year on your energy bills, so you may want to consider alternative methods if you’re looking to keep costs to a minimum.

Finally, while draught-proofing is one of the simplest ways to improve your property’s energy efficiency, it’s also not the most cost-efficient option. With an installation cost of £225 and yearly savings of only £25, it’s important to weigh the benefits before making a decision. However, if more complex energy-proofing measures aren’t feasible, draught-proofing may still be worth considering as a simple step towards a more energy-efficient home.

The benefits of energy-proofing your property

  • Saves money. Having an energy-efficient property won’t just save you money on bills; it also increases the value of your property, and decreases the cost of home or landlord insurance.
  • Protects the environment. Cutting down on energy use and shifting to renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels is a double victory, benefiting both your wallet and the environment.
  • Conserves heat in cold weather.  Methods such as installing loft insulation, identifying and stopping any draughts, opening curtains wide when it’s sunny, and rearranging your furniture can all help to conserve heat. This is particularly helpful in winter, when low temperatures often lead to a rise in energy bill costs.

Methodology and sources

All energy savings are calculated by using the GB regional energy rate alongside a formula. This formula takes the money saved per month (£) and converts it into (p) by multiplying the money saved per month by 100. Knowing that 35.84p is equal to 1kWh of energy, this was then converted into pence to give the kWh saved. 

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