Monday, 2 December 2013

How efficient is your home?

When E.ON approached me to be part of a campaign that looks at getting to people to focus on no more than they need, I was thinking it could have been very useful to me a few years ago when I was building my home.

To be afforded the ear of an energy expert would certainly been valuable when designing, choosing and building my house.  But I was still intrigued to find what an expert may be able to tell me about that I am currently not doing, or could be doing better.

Long time readers of my stuff may have had some sympathy with an energy expert tasked with improving my home’s energy efficiency.  Especially since my whole electricity consumption monitoring bonanza a few years ago.  My purchase of a relatively primitive electricity monitor, was responsible for a whole load of things, my tropical fish (that quickly evolved to being just fresh water fish) were probably top of list of folks not fond of that particular obsession.

But that obsession saved me money, and continues to do so. 

However the smart meter I use is relatively primitive, just offering a real time usage figure as well as a running total of consumption.  I essentially use it as a warning for unexpected high consumption.  Looking for the offending item if the number is a little higher than I expect it to be.

Mind, I did recently manage to use it to work out how much it costs me to slow cook a casserole.   A process that may now be a little less slower in the future.

I know, I know.

But the energy expert I spoke with was very well informed and stressed the virtues of the more modern and expansive smart meters.  The bang-up-to-date versions are now computer friendly, and consumption figures can be downloaded and then interpreted in a spreadsheet.

It literally struggles to get more exciting than that.  Spreadsheets that help you save money?  Boooooooooooooooooooooooom.

Adopting the use of a more advanced smart meter would help me get a better idea of how much it costs me to provide the house with hot water in the summer.  I tend to switch my oil-fired boiler off during the summer months, and simply use my immersion heater to provide us with hot water.

I have to balance cost a little with the practicality of buying oil.  Part of the pain of not having mains gas is that I have to arrange, purchase, monitor and store oil.  Running out at the wrong time is both an inconvenience and risk to some of my heating system.

Which leads me neatly to the other fantastic advice offered by E.ON’s energy expert.

Did you know about the Renewable Heat Incentive Tariff that starts in April 2014?


Neither did I.

Basically, on top of various grants available for installing things like bio-mass boilers and solar thermal hot water systems, there will also be an incentive tariff thereafter for people installing these technologies.

Essentially you will get paid for the energy produced by this means, and thus help with the cost of installing these things.

I have a few issues with these systems.  I may have a problem with storing enough ‘fuel’ for a bio-mass  or wood pellet fired boiler, and I’m also sceptical about being reliant on the sun for hot water.

But based on the numbers, and deals available, such as the Green Deal, it has to be worth a few minutes of my time to consider.

That’s if I can tear myself away from the electricity consumption spreadsheets I look forward to creating.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with E.ONAdvertisement