Professor Mark Gillott and his team constructed a replica 1930s semi-detached house on campus in order to run the tests. Here is what they found makes a home more efficient.
Researchers at Nottingham University have tested different approaches to making an older home more energy efficient and, together with money.co.uk, have come up with 10 top tips.
Professor Mark Gillott and his team constructed a replica 1930s semi-detached house on campus in order to run the tests. Here is what they found.
Let the light in
Consider a roof window, sun tunnel or find other creative ways to maximise natural light into your home. The more sunlight can find its way inside the less the need for both electric lighting and artificial heating.
Use less gas
Households wishing to reduce their carbon footprint should find ways to use less gas and instead choose clean electricity as their preferred cooking and heating method.
Solar energy is abundant and photovoltaic panels and arrays have become increasingly costeffective. Professor Gillott says all available roof space in Britain which is south or south-westerly facing should be utilised for solar energy.
Utilising smart technology in our homes lets us switch energy sources to ensure efficient
management of energy flows from solar panels, the grid and from a connected electric vehicle.
Professor Gillott explains: “If the grid is constrained, meaning not enough energy for the
neighbourhood because of increased need from heating etc, the car can supply. The car is used as a balancing mechanism, it can discharge when extra is needed but then will be charged when there is an excess on the grid, typically from the solar energy or at night when we use less electricity as a nation.
Go triple glazed
Single pane windows used to be the norm and are still in place in thousands of older homes across the UK. But, while double glazing has become standard for all new homes, Professor Gillott believes we should go one step further if we want to be truly efficient.
“Triple glazing will become the standard of the future,” he says. “It’s much more effective at stopping heat being lost from the home, thereby greatly reducing energy consumption.”
Fully insulate your home
Many homes in the UK have poor or no insulation. This is particularly true of older housing.
Keeping heat inside the house is the simplest thing you can do to vastly improve energy efficiency – and reduce gas and electricity bills.
Install a bidirectional battery
It may sound like the stuff of science fiction but rechargeable homes are already a reality. By installing a bidirectional battery your home’s energy can be topped up from the battery of a compatible electric vehicle (EV). The home’s energy needs are then balanced between its solar array, battery and the grid.
Choose an air pump or underfloor heating
As your home moves towards net carbon zero, you will have less need for central heating. Instead, you should opt for an air source heat pump or underfloor heating which is much more efficient and helps a house to retain heat far longer.
Team up with neighbours
If those around you share your green aspirations, talk to them about installing a community battery.
These allow homes to plug in their electric vehicles and act as a power hub across several homes.
If you follow all the above measures you will have effectively turned your home into a tiny green power station. The good news is that you can cash in by selling some of your excess energy back to the grid. Vehicle to grid technology means even power stored in your car battery can be sold to the grid if it’s not needed.