A cat sleeping on a radiator

Saving energy at home: heating and insulation

15% of the UK's planet-warming emissions come from heating our homes. Using less energy to keep your home warm will save you money and lower your contribution to climate change.

As part of our series of tips to save the planet, read on to find out how these tips can lower your emissions (‘Top tips’ have the biggest impact):

  • Insulate your home (Top tip)
  • Install low-carbon heating (Top tip)
  • Get solar panels (Top tip)
  • Glaze windows and doors
  • Draught-proof your home
  • Keep heating below 18°C
  • Save energy and water

Whatever you choose to do, let others know about it. The more we talk about the things we’re doing to help save the planet, the more normal they become, and the more likely it will be that others will want to join in.

Did you know?

1/3
of heat escapes through the walls of our homes.
5 years
The payback time for cavity wall insulation.
20%
The drop in your bills and emissions with cavity wall insulation.

2. Install low-carbon heating

Even a well-insulated house needs heating in winter.

Switching to the best eco-heating option – a heat pump – can really reduce your impact on the climate. It could cut your planet-warming emissions by up to 60% .

Heat pumps extract heat from the air outside, heating water for your radiators.

They even work below freezing, which explains why chilly Sweden uses so many of them.

3. Get solar panels

Renewable energy is the cleanest form of power we can use.

Imagine enjoying a sunny day, knowing the solar panels on your roof are generating free, clean electricity and hot water.

Your solar panels will probably pay for themselves in around 10 years. And they'll keep generating heat or electricity for decades.

Solar hot water panels are more efficient than solar electricity ones. They save more planet-warming gases. If you have space, install both.

You can also use excess solar electricity to heat a hot water tank. Solar panels that produce both electricity and heat could soon be a reality.

4. Glaze windows and doors

Double- or triple-glazed windows make a house warmer and reduce outside noise.

Replace your doors at the same time with well-insulated ones. It won’t increase the costs much but will reduce drafts.

DIY secondary glazing is a much cheaper option, but it’s about half as effective at saving energy and won’t look as good.

Did you know?

10%
of heat is lost through windows.
10-20 years
The payback time for glazing. But one of the best buys for a more comfortable home.
15%
of heat is lost through draughts.

5. Draught-proof your home

Draughty windows, doors and floorboards make homes chilly in winter – wasting heat and increasing your impact on the planet.

You'll shave at least £20 of your energy bill when you draught-proof your home.

Draught-proofing is straightforward. Use the Energy Saving Trust's helpful guide.

If you’re renting, your landlord may pay for the materials or even get them professionally installed.

6. Keep heating below 18 deg C

Keeping your heating below 18°C makes a surprising difference – saving around 10% of energy per degree. Health professionals recommend 18°C as the minimum temperature for people over 65 and those with a medical condition.

Smart heating controls can help reduce energy use by assessing the weather, how quickly your property heats up, and when you’re home.

Thermostatic valves on each radiator are a cheaper option. They let you control the heating in each room and you can fit them yourself.

7. Save energy and water

Switching off your TV is not going to save the world from climate change, but developing energy-saving and water-saving habits ill make some difference.

Smart energy meters can be helpful in encouraging good habits as they provide live info on how much energy you’re using. For example, you'll notice a difference in how much water and energy you're using by taking shorter showers (5 minutes or less).

Make an even bigger difference by replacing old, energy-guzzling appliances with efficient versions (A-rated and above).