Going Green: Don’t lag behind as loft insulation can save energy costs

Latest article from Angela Terry

Is loft insulation too much effort to be financially worthwhile? (photo: Adobe)
Is loft insulation too much effort to be financially worthwhile? (photo: Adobe)

Latest article from Angela Terry

Green Green campaigner and consumer expert, Angela Terry, separates climate change facts from fiction and here she explains how you can take simple, practical steps to help save the planet. Follow @ouronehome & visit https://onehome.org.uk/ for more advice.

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Q: Is loft insulation too much effort to be financially worthwhile?

A: Fitting loft insulation is a DIY job that can be done over one weekend, making your home cosier, potentially saving you £355 a year.

Is loft insulation too much effort to be financially worthwhile? (photo: Adobe)
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It is relatively easy and can slash your energy bills by that much because it stops heat escaping through the roof and prevents you paying to heat the sky. This figure, worked out by the Energy Savings Trust, is based on a semi-detached house using October’s gas and electricity tariffs.

There are eight million homes in the UK losing heat from uninsulated lofts. That’s why I’m launching The Big Loft Insulation Drive to encourage homeowners to love their lofts and keep the heat in.

The typical cost for installing insulation yourself in a semi-detached house is £460. You can buy rolls from most DIY stores. The rolls fit between rafters and over joists. If you want to use the space for storage you can fit loft legs, then lay boards over the insulation. Follow safety instructions about ventilation and electric cables carefully and wear protective clothing.

If you don’t feel your DIY skills are up to scratch or you have accessibility issues or problems such as damp, a professional installation can fit insulation in an afternoon at a cost of around £640 in a semi-detached house. With either method you could earn your money back in under two years.

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In his Autumn Statement Jeremy Hunt announced the government’s energy price cap would be kept for a further 12 months. But that still means an average bill will increase to £3,000 a year.

Without insulation you can lose a quarter of your home’s heat through the roof of your house.

So if you can afford to pay the initial outlay it makes sense to insulate as soon as possible. Doing this now will also boost your home’s Energy Performance Certificate rating, so will add to its value.

Renters should try to persuade landlords to insulate. Spread the word to your neighbours as they’ll be grateful you’ve saved them so much money.

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Britain has the oldest, leakiest housing stock in Europe. If you receive certain benefits there are schemes intended to help you with the costs of insulation.

Every energy company is obliged under the Energy Company Obligation scheme to deliver a certain amount of energy-efficient measures to people on benefits. You can find out more on the gov.uk website help for households. Visit onehome.org.uk/lofts site.

The government is about to announce funding for some homes through their eco plus scheme. I am pleased to see they are doing this.

However, it will be 70,000 properties and won’t start until April by which time a winter’s worth of heating bills could have been reduced.

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Celebrity spot

Rainn Wilson, star of the US version of The Office, has changed his name to highlight climate change.

Rainn Wilson will now be known as Rainnfall Heat Wave Extreme Winter Wilson. (photo: Getty Images)

He will now be known as Rainnfall Heat Wave Extreme Winter Wilson.

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The actor says: "As the polar caps melt, it drives up the risk throughout the world, including extreme weather events that affect all of us.

"So as a cheap little stunt to help save Planet Earth, I've changed my name on Twitter, Instagram, and even on my fancy writing paper.”

Rainn is an American actor, comedian, podcaster, producer, and writer.

Green swap

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Make coffee more sustainable by swapping to reusable filters.

Change to a reusable coffee sock filter (photo: Adobe)

CoffeeSocks are made from certified organic cotton.

Filter lasts more than a year and can be composted, prove cheaper than paper filters and be washed under taps.

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Make your own stunning Christmas wreaths

Christmas bauble wreaths are having a moment. They make fun, colourful decorations but they can also cost anywhere between £35 (Next) to £210 (Selfridges).

Christmas bauble wreaths are becoming more popular

You can make your own stunning Christmas wreath with just second hand baubles, coat hanger and some ribbon.

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It sounds a bit Blue Peter but it’s easy and only takes about an hour.

The result is a gorgeous home decoration or personalised gift for friends.

It’s also a creative way to recycle once-loved decorations.

Buy baubles in different colours, textures and sizes from charity shops.

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They are given loads at this time of year.

Or use ones you have in storage that you haven’t used for a while.

Remove the strings from the baubles.

Take a wire coat hanger. Unwind the neck of the hanger.

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Straighten the wire, then bend it into a circle.

Make a small loop on one end.

From the other end, thread each bauble on to the wire by its hoop.

Use different sizes to fill gaps and keep adding.

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Arrange them by colour to create a rainbow effect or use two contrasting colours such as red and gold or light and dark purples.

Eventually your wire will be full.

Take the straight end of the wire and bend it through the looped end and back on itself so that the circle is complete.

If you need to perfect the circle shape you can do it now by stretching the ring.

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Take some contrasting colour ribbon and wrap it around the exposed wire until you can’t see it.

Then tie it into a big bow.

If you would like to personalise your wreath for kids, take some of those small toys that never get played with, but sit in the bottom of their toy box or are too meaningful to give away.

Use a glue gun to stick them to the wreath.

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Or use wooden letters that cost about 80p each from craft shops to spell out their name.

Paint them in colours that match the baubles.

If you have wreath rings left over from last year, where the foliage has died away, cover them in green material and glue the baubles, lettering and toys onto the material.

Either way, the result is an explosion of colour that will brighten up any Christmas for pennies.

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No one wants to be The Grinch at Christmas and detail how much plastic and travel miles are spent making and shipping cheap baubles so I’ll leave that to your imagination!

I will say creating your own or buying second hand Christmas decorations from a charity shop is far better for the environment.

Fact or fiction

Faux Fur Winter Coats are good for the environment. False. Faux fur has a large carbon footprint, taking lots of electricity and water to make. Made from synthetic fibres, it is a product of fossil fuels, main cause of climate change.

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