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Green Building Design Guide


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Tips for Saving Energy

  • If you are replacing or fitting new windows, choose double or triple glazing with 'low-e' (low emissivity) glass on the inner pane as it saves even more energy.
  • Fit a condensing boiler rather than a conventional one. It reduces exhaust gases and is 90% efficient while a conventional boiler is 75% efficient.
  • Fit reflective foil panels behind radiators, to reflect heat back into the room.
  • Fit a shelf over radiators to stop heat escaping to the ceiling.
  • Fit thermostatic valves (TRVs) to your radiators. Ask your plumber for advice.
  • Fit programmable heating controls - run the system where and when you need it.
  • Solar panels produce 'free' energy and zero emissions. This energy can provide much of the heat for hot water, but bear in mind that at current costings this is a longer term investment. Contact the Solar Trade Association for advice.
  • Heat exchangers can be fitted to the fans in the bathroom and kitchen to reclaim heat from extracted air.
  • Fit insulation under timber floorboards and concrete floors, but leave a well ventilated gap below timber floors.
  • Fill gaps between the skirting board and floor.
  • There are many well tried and tested methods of cavity fill, including CFC-free polystyrene beads, mineral foam or non-CFC blown foam. Look out for those which are approved. Avoid using urea formaldehyde foam as the gases given off are an irritant.
  • Make sure your loft is fully insulated. To be most efficient insulation should be at least 150 mm thick. If it is not think 161 about topping it up. Do not insulate under the cold water tank and always leave some ventilation along the eaves.
  • Always use a protective face mask and gloves when fitting fibre insulation and always follow product guidance when doing the work.
  • Make hot water pipes as short as possible and insulate them to reduce heat loss, both above and below floor level.
  • Draught proof your outside doors and windows.
  • If you have a room with a fire or boiler, make sure you maintain some ventilation. Use an air brick or vent to the outside.
  • Household appliances such as washing machines and fridges are now required by law to show their energy efficiency in terms of a rating A to G. Those with a rating nearer to A will have a higher energy efficiency and hence reduced running costs. Look for the energy efficiency label.