6 ways to tell if your new home is energy efficient enough

6 ways to tell if your new home is energy efficient enough

Expert Advice

When you buy or sell a house, a home energy audit is part of the survey. This is helpful for you as a buyer because an inefficient home will cost a lot more in terms of energy and heating bills, which is not only bad for your pocket but the environment as well.


So it’s important to factor in energy efficiency when considering which home to buy and the long term costs of running that home.  The less energy efficient, the higher the cost.  It’s also becoming more common to look for ways to reduce your impact on the environment and running an energy efficient home is a great way to do this!


Improving the energy efficiency of your home is one of the simplest ways to save energy and reduce bills. A typical home could save up to €250-€300 a year by being more energy efficient and many of the measures are simple to install.


Although an energy efficiency assessor is recommended to fully understand where your home is losing heat or not energy efficient there are several checks you can do yourself which can be a good place to start.


The first step is to understand where your home may be losing heat as this will help you decide on the measures which will have the most impact first. And the good news is there are often grants and discounts available which make it an even smarter choice.


Here we offer six checks you can do to make sure your home is energy efficient.


Do you have any air leaking from your home?

Warm air can escape from your home in all directions – including the roof, walls, floor, windows and doors – meaning lots of the energy you pay for can go to waste. The first step is to understand where your home may be losing heat. This will help you decide on the measures which will have the most impact first


The main places to draught-proof are your floors, windows, doors and chimney and all can be done for a relatively low price. Draught-proofing around windows and doors could save you around €20 per year. If you have an open chimney, draught-proofing your chimney when you’re not using it could save around €15 per year. Floorboards and Skirting: You can block cracks by squirting filler into the gaps. Floorboards and skirting boards often move slightly with everyday use, so you should use a filler that can tolerate movement – these are usually silicone-based. Fillers may break down over time, but can easily be reapplied.


Draughtproofing the entire home can cost around €120 to €150 but can save you up to €65 a year on energy. Meaning that within a couple of years you will have covered the cost and the utility expenses could start to reduce. 



Do you have appropriate insulation?

Most of the heat in your home will be lost through the roof, but also through the walls. Depending on when your house was built, it might only have the minimum amount of insulation. It is highly likely that in most homes, even new builds, the levels will be inadequate and more can be done to save your money on your bills. Have a glance in your attic to check the level of insulation and the quality of the sealant near pipework, ductwork and the chimney.


Loft insulation is easy to install – you can even do it yourself. Even if you already have loft insulation, check its thickness. Adding another layer to bring it up to the recommended 270 mm should save energy and money.


While you can do things with sealants and check the vents in the attic, if you worry that your insulation is inadequate, call in a professional. Someone expert in insulation will also be able to check your walls.


Do you have the right bulbs?

Your lighting in your home will account for approximately 10% of your bill. While changing from a standard bulb to an LED bulb will only save you about 12p per bulb per year, consider how many bulbs you have in your house. Furthermore, LED bulbs last much longer, and you won't need to replace them quite as often as before. When buying LED bulbs, learn something about the lumens you want. Some of these bulbs are significantly brighter than what you would find comfortable in your home.



How efficient are your appliances?

Appliances come with an estimate of their energy use when you buy them. It is a good idea to buy appliances that offer the best efficiency, as any difference in cost when buying will be evened out over the product's life.


You also need to consider whether appliances and electronics need to be plugged in all the time. Many electronic devices leach power even when they are off. The toaster, for instance, is constantly drawing a small amount of electricity, even when you are not using it. The cost to keep your red light on your TV glowing is almost the same amount as having the screen working. In short, you may want to consider switching off the plug or investing in smart sockets, which you can set to turn off items.



Are you making the best use of smart technology?

A smart thermostat will often make a significant difference to your heating costs. It is a device that can help you control where the heat is switched on, and it gives you more control over when (and where) you switch it off and on. If you imagine, you are on your way home from work, and it’s freezing. Just as your train pulls into the station, you use your phone to switch the heating on in your home. You arrive in a toasty, warm environment, and you have used the minimum amount of money to achieve this.


If a smart thermostat is a step too far, try turning down your heating by one degree. You will be surprised by the difference it makes to your bills.



Are you on the right energy tariff?

Energy efficiency is partly about the amount you use. The other way of calculating efficiency is the amount you pay for what you get. Switching energy suppliers is often the easiest way to make the most substantial savings; you could save a few hundred euros a year with the right deal. If you have come to the end of your contract, then it might be time to shop around and make a switch to maintain affordable energy in your home.