Suggestions on this page range from free and quick tips to whole house retrofit projects.
When a new house or extension is built, it must have a certain level of insulation. This will be added under the floor, within the two layers of the wall and in the roof. The external doors and windows will also have to reach a certain level of energy efficiency. The level of insulation recommended to make your home more energy efficient has increased over the years so your house may have insulation which could be improved.
Insulation will prevent heat escaping quickly making your home cosier, draught free and use less energy which will also reduce your bills.
The Energy Saving Trust’s website contains lots of advice and information about types of insulation for your home.
Many of the measures needed to insulate your home can be quite costly. The government and local councils often provide grants and initiatives to help. Grants will hopefully become more readily available in the near future as we need to meet our Net-zero carbon target.
Grants and funding available now
- To see what grants are available at any time, visit the improve energy efficiency website
- East Sussex County Council offers a Warm Home Check. Visit ESCC website for more information and other tips
- LEAP offers support for lower income households telephone for further information and support: 0800 060 7567
ECO – Energy Company Obligation
ECO is a government scheme to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. Under this scheme customers with low incomes can apply to their energy supplier for help with energy efficiency measures, such as loft or wall insulation, or even boiler replacement. The aim is to reduce the cost of heating their homes. Medium and large energy companies (with over 150,000 customers) are obliged to provide a certain number of efficiency improvements according to their market share.
It’s a first come first served scheme, as once the energy companies have fulfilled their obligation within the current scheme, they may stop taking applications. The current Eco scheme (ECO 3) runs until 31st March 2022. The good news is that ECO 4 will run for four years from April 2022 with a planned expenditure of £1 billion per year.
6.5 million homes are eligible for help under ECO – You can find out whether you are eligible here . If you are eligible, you should contact your energy supplier for further information on services they provide.
Cost effective ways to save heat energy
It doesn’t have to cost the earth to reduce the amount of energy we use to heat our homes. Some things we can all try:
- Close doors to empty rooms.
- Put thermostats on radiators. Turn radiators off to rooms you are not using.
- Make your own radiator reflectors. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit down the back of a radiator. Cover with tin foil and slip back down behind the radiator to reflect heat back into the room.
- Close curtains before it gets dark to conserve heat. Tuck behind any radiators.
- Fix lining to curtains to make them thicker. You can often find bedding or curtains in a charity shop which will work well as curtain lining.
- Net curtains help to keep a room a little warmer.
- Fit a long, heavy curtain over the front and back door. Cheap offcuts of material or long curtains can often be found in charity shops or online in places such as eBay or locally on Facebook marketplace, Freegle or the Friday-Ad.
- Make draft excluders for doors.
- Add another layer of clothing.
- Exercise warms you up, is good for circulation and keeps you fit!
- Keep a throw in the room for snuggling on the sofa.
- Use a hot water bottle.
- Add draught proofing to windows and doors. Simple Energy Advice: Draught proofing your home video
Did you know: 40% of heat is lost through doors, windows and floors.
- Fit secondary double glazing to your windows during colder periods. Search for DIY options on the internet or for a company to make this for you.
Jill Goulder, from Lewes, has provided a helpful summary of information on cost effective DIY glazing solutions, as well as a video on how to install secondary glazing. (See also the comments.)
- Find out more about external doors and windows from the Energy Savings Trust
- Replacing blown double glazed panels of glass. This is a lot cheaper than buying new windows. Contact your local glazing company. Window fitters can service your windows replacing any parts if necessary. Prolong the life of your windows by keeping them clean. Keep the mechanisms clean and oiled.
- Loft insulation. A quarter of the heat from your home is lost through the roof. This can be done by yourself. Here’s a step by step guide to loft insulation, by The Green Age.
- Information on loft insulation from Simple Energy Advice website.
- Cavity wall insulation. This will need to be done by a specialist company. Find out more about cavity wall insulation here.
- Insulate under floorboards. The best time to do this is if you are planning to carpet a room but it can be done at any time. 15% of your home’s heat is lost through the floor so It is worth insulating underneath. Here’s a guide to underfloor insulation from Permaculture magazine. Read the comments too for extra tips.
- Choose a good underlay – this will prolong the life of your carpet. natural materials are more insulating and can be recycled more easily.
- Adding insulation to solid floors. It is possible to break up a solid floor to add insulation and concrete over but the energy and resources needed may not be recovered in the energy savings. The room will feel warmer so this will need consideration. Insulation can be added on top of the concrete. This will add height so skirting boards and doors will need altering. Adding foil insulation under carpets will bounce some heat back into the room. More information on insulating a concrete floor here.
- The Centre for Sustainable Energy website contains factsheets about a range of energy efficiency measures for your home.
Remember that if you are significantly improving your home insulation, you should also review ventilation.
Whether you are planning to do your own insulation, or pay someone else to do it for you, understanding the different options available and how they are used most effectively can prevent you from making costly mistakes.
- Watch: Solid wall insulation webinar from Brighton’s Low Carbon Trust
- Learn: Free Retrofit training course from the Low Carbon Trust – this excellent course from Mischa Hewitt is free to enrol on and will teach you the science behind retrofit, why some materials are better than others, energy patterns in your home, how to identify areas in your home that need retrofitting and identify appropriate solutions.
If you have the budget for significant retrofit measures in your home, then you may wish to get some independent advice. Warmer Sussex provide impartial, expert advice to help you make your home more energy efficient. They also liaise with a network of vetted tradespeople who are able to carry out retrofitting. Their services include a whole house plan identifying priorities and the most cost effective measures; providing quotes from vetted contractors and project managing your retrofit and checking that all work meets quality standards.
Suppliers of eco friendly insulation products
- Shop and lots of information about types of insulation.
- Recycled newspaper insulation for timber framed houses.
- Wood fibre insulation.
- Supplier of eco-friendly building products.
- The Centre for Alternative Technology courses provide a chance to explore different approaches to renovation, get expert advice on your own projects, and gain hands-on experience working with natural building materials:
What will you pledge to do to improve your home’s insulation?