Most of the energy used in running a household goes towards heating or cooling the home, depending on the season. Keeping the indoor areas at the desired, stable temperature through insulation will mean lower costs for the homeowner and less impact on the environment.
Apertures are a major point of heat exchange in Maltese houses. Double glazing doors and windows will reduce this process. It also helps with noise reduction.
In older properties, it is not unusual for apertures to be poorly retrofitted. Close off any gaps between the walls and window or door frames to prevent heat loss and to stop those annoying draughts coming through.
Roof and wall insulation will also help keep your property at the right temperature. There are several commercial options available and a professional will help you choose the one that is right for you, depending on the materials and construction of your home.
Choose efficient appliances
Household appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, and fridges all come with an energy rating from the manufacturer. This goes from G (the poorest) to A+++ for the most energy efficient appliances. The higher the rating, the better the appliance is at using electricity, therefore reducing waste.
Higher efficiency appliances are generally more expensive than ones with a lower rating but, in the long term, they are cheaper to run. It may be worth spending a little more to make those savings in years to come.
Invest in solar
There is one thing that Malta has in spades – sunshine. With clear skies most of the year, solar solutions are a no-brainer. These can be used to generate electricity and to heat water, thereby drastically reducing the electricity and gas bills year-round.
As solar energy is possibly the cleanest, most abundant type, the government is keen to promote the use of photovoltaic panels, and government subsidies or grants may be available to offset the initial cost of roof panels. Anecdotal evidence suggests that panels pay for themselves in as little as two years. And if you live in a penthouse, solar panels can also help your home’s energy efficiency by protecting the roof from direct sunlight.
Install LED lighting
A standard halogen light bulb converts electrical energy into light and heat, with the latter being lost to the air and therefore wasted. LED bulbs, which can be used in most fittings around the home, produce far less heat, which means they are more efficient. Changing to LED bulbs throughout the house can mean a significant reduction in electricity costs.
There are also practical steps for homeowners who want to spend less per month. The use of sensors or timers on external lights means they are only in use when needed, and switching off lights and appliances when not in use can also help to save money.
Household energy audits
If you are wondering just how energy efficient your home is, you can invest in a household energy audit (also known as an Energy Performance Certificate or EPC). It’s also a good idea to get this done if you intend to sell up, as an increasing number of prospective buyers are taking this into consideration before they buy property.
Professional energy auditors will closely inspect your property, taking things like ventilation, lighting and structural elements into consideration, as well as things like appliance ratings and client behaviour that can impact consumption. They will then offer suggestions and strategies for improving energy efficiency and limiting waste.
We are more conscious about our impact on the environment now than we have ever been before. Making homes more energy efficient means that we can help minimise that impact and save some money in the meantime. Win-win! If you have more tips to add, we’d love to hear them.