In recent years, worries about global warming, dwindling power supplies and emissions have led many homeowners to keep close tabs on their energy usage, but thankfully government legislation has gone some way to helping increase the number of energy efficient homes on the market.
Additionally, all newly built properties in the UK must conform to industry standards, which includes a level of insulation for exterior walls and roofs, standards for glazing and doors, and energy-efficient boilers.
While this can save homeowners thousands of pounds compared to those who live in older homes, one thing legislation cannot control is gas and electricity usage in the home. We look at some smart practices to help families save energy, reduce fuel bills and help the environment at the same time.
As the Christmas season approaches and homeowners decorate their properties, some will be content with a string of fairylights around their tree, while others will go all-out to welcome Santa Claus, with huge neon caricatures populating the garden and hundreds of bulbs adorning the outside of their home.
While this can certainly be a memorable sight, it can also add a significant amount on to the household electricity bill, meaning an unwelcome surprise in the post for many homeowners in early 2016.
However, new research from Good Energy and the National Trust indicates that households can save up to £20 on their electricity bill over the festive period, simply by swapping their old fairylights for ones with energy-saving bulbs. Furthermore, doing the same for exterior lights could save a small fortune.
Say no to standby
While it can be very tempting and convenient to leave the TV, Sky box or router on standby overnight, this practice is actually costing people money.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that families can save up to £30 a year on energy costs simply by turning off appliances at the plug after use.
While things like a fridge, freezer and boiler need to be constantly switched on, there is no need for microwaves with a digital display or a charger for an electronic device to be left switched on at the plug.
Power to the shower
Showers have comfortably overtaken baths in popularity, due to the amount of water that is saved by having a shower instead of filling a tub, but there is still room to save money.
Fitting an energy-efficient shower head can save a family £67 a year on the gas required to heat water, and another £100 on water itself if they have a meter, as most new homes do.
Furthermore, it is estimated that spending just one minute less in the shower each time you use it could knock £100 a year off the typical four-person household water bill if everyone adheres, even if it requires you to cut your morning karaoke renditions short.
Be smart and in control of heating
Smart controls are the latest innovation in the world of heating, and are proving popular and effective when it comes to providing homeowners with the ability to regulate energy usage.
Two-zone controls enable households to control which parts of the home are heated – such as the ground or first floor - while the programmable thermostat can ensure that the house is not being needlessly heated when nobody is home.
New innovations mean that heating can now be controlled remotely, helping to provide peace of mind and ensuring that the home is always a warm and welcoming place to be.