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BLOG: A guide to energy efficiency and sustainability in your home

28 February 2022

Tim Tallarna

Too often, ‘energy efficiency’ is just a buzzword. So, in this blog, I will break down what energy efficiency means, how it can improve residents’ lives, and why it is so important for the environment.”

Tim Meanock, CEO at Tallarna

We recently shared information on our sustainability pilot project which we’ve teamed up with climate tech experts Tallarna to complete. In this guest blog by Tallarna’s CEO, Tim Meanock, he shares key facts on what energy efficiency is, how it relates to your home, and its benefits.

What is building energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency is an evaluation of the amount of energy used to achieve a given outcome. In the context of residential buildings, this means the amount of energy needed to heat a home.

Evaluating a home’s energy efficiency is needed as not all buildings use the same amount of energy to achieve the same results. This is because some homes are better at creating and retaining heat than others. This can be due to many things, including type of wall insulation, boiler age, and ceiling height.

The better a home is at making and keeping rooms warm, the higher their energy efficiency and the lower their energy bills. This is evaluated using an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). EPCs standardise energy efficiency evaluations. The most energy efficient buildings are given a rating of A and the least energy efficient are given a rating of G. 

What are the benefits of increased energy efficiency?

For residents

Energy efficiency has a direct link to how high or low your energy bills will be. And with the utility industry’s price cap rising to £1,971, having an energy efficient home will be key to limiting your exposure to bill hikes. Already, the difference in energy costs between homes with an EPC rating of A and G is much as £1,894

More energy efficient homes have the potential to improve physical and mental health. This is because homes with high energy efficiency have more stable indoor temperatures, less damp and humidity, and less noise, as well as improved air quality.

For the environment

Lowering the amount of energy needed to warm a home reduces the amount of fossil fuels burnt to create energy. In turn, fewer greenhouse gas emissions are produced, which reduces the effect your home has on the climate. This is vital if we are to limit global warming to 1.5° above pre-industrial levels. If this target is not met, the UK will experience severe and regular flooding, and our food supply from abroad will be disrupted by droughts and extreme heat. Already, the world has reached 1.2° of heating.

What are energy efficiency measures?

Energy efficiency measures take a variety of forms. These range from light-touch solutions such as draft-excluders, to deep retrofits which include solid wall insulation. Retrofits can make a real difference, reducing bills and improving people’s lives.

Measures can include:

  • LED lighting
  • Heat pumps
  • Lighting automation
  • Building envelope insulation
  • Temperature optimisation
  • Double glazing

At Tallarna, our first priority is to improve the ability of homes to keep in heat. Next, we look at how well energy is consumed by various appliances and systems. Finally, we look at how well heat is created on a home-by-home basis.

What is renewable energy generation and how can it help?

Renewable energy generation is harnessing energy from sources that won’t run out (i.e., wind, sun, waves). In the residential housing sector, this can mean installing solar panels or, less frequently, domestic-sized wind turbines on homes.

These measures ensure that a home’s energy supply does not only come from its utility provider. This helps lower bills and further reduces exposure to the changeable electricity and gas markets which have caused energy prices to hike in recent months.

What has the British government said about energy efficiency?

By 2035, the British government wants as many homes as possible to have an EPC rating of C or above. A more imminent deadline for the social housing sector is expected to be announced soon.

The government is keen to decarbonise Britain’s buildings as they make up around 40% of the country’s emissions. If we are to get to net zero by 2050, a legally binding target, then we urgently need to decarbonise now. Getting to net zero is key to limiting global warming to 1.5°.

From a social perspective, energy efficiency is essential to tackling fuel poverty, reducing energy bills, improving health, and supporting the local economy.

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