How To Lower Your Energy Bills

If you want to make your home more energy-efficient in Scotland, this guide is for you. It’s filled with energy-saving information; from solar panels and types of installations to heat pumps, boilers and government-backed funding and support schemes.

With the growing emphasis on sustainability and the Scottish government’s ambitious plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2045, making homes more energy-efficient has never been more crucial. However, the majority of Scottish homes rely on fossil fuel heating systems, with only 11% utilising energy-saving methods.

The tips in our guide will shed some light on the types of energy-efficient methods you can start implementing today, with the help of funding and support.

Table of Contents

What Are The Benefits Of Making Your Home More Energy Efficient?

  • Reduces unnecessary energy consumption.
  • Reduces greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions, lowering your carbon footprint.
  • More environmentally friendly.
  • Lowers heating and energy bills.
  • Increases the value of homes.
  • Better house insurance rates.
  • Health improvements, such as reduced allergies and better air quality.
  • Warmer homes are more comfortable.
  • Renewable energy sources, like solar, can reduce your reliance on the grid.

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How Good Insulation Can Cut Your Energy Bill

Proper  insulation can make a huge difference when it comes to your energy bill. Statistics show that 25% of heat can be lost through an uninsulated roof, while 45% is lost through uninsulated solid walls.

Energy-saving measures, like proper insulation, can significantly reduce your energy and heating bills. This is due to the fact that your heating systems will work less to generate heat that is lost due to poor insulation.

cavity wall insulation

Types Of Home Insulation

Loft insulation

Insulating your loft could help cut energy costs. This technique is done by lining lofts with insulating materials, such as woollen fibres or rigid boards. These ‘barriers’ prevent heat from escaping through your attic, thus keeping your home warmer for longer.

Room in roof insulation

Room in roof insulation is designed for lofts that have been converted into living spaces. This process involves adding insulation to the sloping ceilings of the converted space, ensuring the area remains warm.

Underfloor insulation

Underfloor insulation involves adding insulating materials beneath the floorboards to reduce the heat lost through the floor. This is especially beneficial for older homes with timber floors. Alternatively, underfloor heating is a system where a series of pipes are installed underneath the floor and hot water from the boiler circulates through to provide warmth.

Cavity wall insulation

Cavity wall insulation is a home improvement technique used in homes with cavity walls, hence the name. A cavity wall has two layers with a ‘gap’ in between; this gap is filled with insulating materials – such as wool or foam – to reduce heat loss. It’s an energy-efficient method used to make your home warmer, increase the property value, and help reduce your heating bills.

Internal wall insulation

Internal wall insulation is an energy-saving improvement designed for homes with solid walls, focusing on insulating the interior (inside) walls of a building. 60 mm – 100 mm thick insulating materials, such as wool fibres or rigid boards, are used.

While this technique is cheaper when compared to external wall insulation, it can potentially affect room size (i.e. rooms are made slightly smaller due to the materials used).

Side note: Solid wall insulation is the process whereby the external walls of the building are insulated.

underfloor insulation

Improving Your Heating System

Heat pumps

Heat pumps transfer heat from one area to another. For example, they shift warm air from outside and transfer it indoors to heat up homes. They connect well to underfloor heating and radiators and can be connected to renewable energy sources, such as solar.

While they require electricity to function, they are popular systems when it comes to energy efficiency improvements.

The two main types of heat pumps are:

  1. Air source heat pumps (most common)
  2. Ground source heat pumps (costly to install but provide more stable temperatures)

Eco-friendly combi boiler

A combi boiler, short for combination boiler, is a highly efficient heating system. These environmentally friendly boilers heat water directly from the mains, eliminating the need for a separate tank. This means they provide on-demand hot water. It’s a compact and very energy-efficient system, making it ideal for smaller Scottish homes.

boiler

Install Solar Panels

Solar power is generated through the photovoltaic (PV) process – where sunlight is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity to power homes. It’s a good idea to have a  solar battery fitted, to store the excess power for later use. It’s an effective energy-saving method for Scottish homes, despite not having many sunny days.

A typical 4.2 kW solar system can reduce energy bills by £210 – £510 per year or have the potential to cut bills by 15% – 20%. Some initiatives are also in place for homeowners to sell any excess energy back into the grid.

Utilise Thermostats And Controls

Thermostats allow homeowners to regulate indoor temperatures, typically set between 18 °C and 21 °C. Even a slight reduction of 1 or 2 degrees can lead to significant energy savings.

solar panels scotland

Are There Any Grants To Help Improve Home Energy Efficiency?

With the rising energy costs, it’s understandable to be worried about spending extra cash on home energy efficiency improvements. However, not only will these home improvements make your home warmer, but they will significantly reduce energy bills and your carbon footprint.

The residential sector in Scotland mostly relies on fossil fuel heating systems, like gas and coal, and is responsible for nearly one-sixth of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Only about 11% of the total 2.5 million homes in Scotland are actually using energy-efficient heating systems.

The good news is the Scottish government has various funding and support schemes available for eligible households. This is part of the government’s ambitious plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.

ECO 4 Scheme

The ECO 4 scheme is the fourth instalment of the UK government’s energy efficiency plan. It’s also the largest funding and support programme available for eligible  households. The main aims are to improve household energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and help eliminate fuel poverty. This funding scheme will run until March 2026.

The scheme can be utilised for:

  • Loft, roof and cavity wall insulation
  • Boiler upgrades (new boiler or replacement boiler)
  • Upgrading your central heating system, such as to a heat pump
  • Solar panels
  • Storage heaters

Here are some of the criteria required to be eligible for the ECO 4 scheme:

  • Total annual household income of £19,720 or lower
  • Individual/s on benefits (Child Benefits, Income Support, etc.)
  • Pensioners on Pension Credit Benefits
  • Your current boiler is 15+ years old or is faulty
  • An EPC rating of D or lower
  • Private landlords

Warmer Homes Scotland

Warmer Homes Scotland assists households who are struggling with their energy bills. Eligible homes can access up to £10,000 for home improvements, which can be used for:

  • Draught proofing
  • Central heating systems
  • Loft, roof and wall insulation
  • Renewable energy supply, such as solar panels

Here are some of the criteria needed for the Warmer Home Scotland grant:

  • Homeowners or renting tenants who have lived in the property for at least six months
  • Homes that have unliveable conditions as per the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006
  • Individuals who receive benefits (Universal Credit, Disability Living Allowance, etc.)

Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan

Funded by the Scottish government, the Home Energy Scotland Grant And Loan can provide up to £15,000 for energy efficiency improvements, such as insulation (upon meeting the relevant criteria).

The funding is divided into an initial £7,500 grant, with a further £7,500 optional interest-free loan. Additional funding is available to those in rural areas, which is known as ‘rural uplift’.

Furthermore, £6,000 is available for energy storage systems, like solar panels. This scheme does not apply to private landlords, businesses or developers. Qualifying households must reside in the property, as their primary residence.

FAQs

The Energy Saving Trust provides energy-saving advice, information and support to individuals and businesses in Scotland to help them reduce energy consumption and lower their energy and heating bills.

An air source heat pump is cheaper to install and typically costs about £13,000 – £20,000. A ground source heat pump is more costly, in the range of £22,000 – £40,000.

Yes. Despite the often cold and cloudy weather, solar panels work well in Scotland.

Heating and hot water typically make up the largest portion of household energy costs.

Conclusion

Embracing energy efficiency is not just about personal savings; it’s a collective step towards Scotland’s sustainable future. With the insights and resources available, including support from Envirohomes Renewables for your ECO4 grant, every homeowner can contribute to a greener Scotland!