Vouching for energy efficiency

Make the most of energy efficiency upgrades

Homeowners will soon be granted up to £5,000 to make their homes more energy-efficient, following new Government initiative. It is estimated that these upgrades could help households save up to £600 a year on energy bills. But how can homeowners spend this support wisely? Here Nick Cowley explains how home upgrades can save money while boosting efficiency.

Dubbed the Green Homes Grant, the scheme is set launch in September 2020, and will provide homeowners with financial support towards the cost of energy efficiency upgrades. These upgrades include everything from better insulation, the move from single to double or even triple glazing and the installation of more energy-efficient appliances.

The initiative is critically important, especially because Government figures reported that more than half of all properties had an energy efficiency rating of D or lower in 2019.

Door selection

One of the biggest energy losses comes from doors that, if not made from the right material, can be a significant cause of heat waste. A door’s resistance to conductive heat flow is measured in terms of its thermal transmittance, or its U value. This value is a measure of how well an element of a building, such as a window or door, will transfer heat.

The lower the U value the better the thermal performance of the product. When selecting a door to improve energy efficiency, homeowners should purchase with the U value in mind.

Glass doors, especially sliding patio doors, lose much more heat than other types of doors because glass is not an effective insulator. Most modern glass doors have a thermal break, which is a plastic insulator between inner and outer parts of the door’s frame. For those wanting to purchase glass doors, models with several layers of glass, low-emissivity coatings and low-conductivity gases between the glass panes are a good investment, especially for keeping in the heat.

For homeowners that prefer a traditional aesthetic, but want to deter from wooden doors, a composite option provides the best of both worlds. A composite door, such as those supplied by Euramax, will benefit your home from the moment it’s installed. With a highly insulating core, composite doors prevent draughts to keep your home warmer for longer.

Another reason to choose a composite door is for its sturdy profile. A strong structural frame and glass reinforced plastic provides infallible protection against intruders. Our composite doors are 44 millimetres (mm) thick, in comparison to the 28mm thickness of a standard PVCu frame, making them a durable option.

Through the looking glass

Energy efficient windows are another wise investment. It's thought that heat gain and loss through windows is responsible for as much as 30 per cent of residential heating and cooling energy use. To limit this expense, owners must recognise when it’s time to replace worn out windows.

If condensation frequently builds up between the glass layers of a window, the frame’s sealant may no longer be effective. Air is flowing freely from outside to inside, impacting the energy efficiency of the home. When the outside temperature fluctuates, the glass in the windows will expand and contract. If your current window seals or frames are metal, they won’t move with the glass, causing the seal to breakdown.

PVCu frames are far more robust, as they are not affected by ambient temperatures. Suppliers and installers should consider every aspect of the products they select — everything from the panes and frames to the sealants being used. For instance, new build homeowners can potentially save up to £700 a year on energy bills if the houses are fitted with energy efficient A and B rated windows and doors, making materials like PVCu far more favourable than metal alternatives.

The Green Homes Grant has the potential to save British households significant amounts of money and reduce their environmental impact. However, to make the most of this Government support, households should stay informed and be aware of the improvements that can make a real difference.