Many homeowners would like to benefit from energy-saving installations but don’t know where to start. That’s where informed installers come in.
For some homeowners, implementing energy-saving changes is relatively easy – they have the savings and are aware of the options. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone; low incomes combined with high energy bills can make a warm home unaffordable. Here, we look at how installers can help customers on lower incomes increase energy efficiency.
Data published by the UK Government in 2020 suggests that around 11 per cent of households in England are classed as fuel poor (25% in Scotland, 12% in Wales, and 18% in Northern Ireland). Those living in fuel poverty can struggle to afford the increasing cost of living, including heating and powering their homes and can face situations where they are repaying debts while being excluded from signing up to cheaper energy deals. Yet with households still wasting as much as £115 worth of energy, it is important that changes are put into place sooner rather than later – especially with the catastrophic impact fuel poverty can have on people’s health. As an installer, there are a variety of affordable products and solutions you can provide to your customers to help do so.
More than half of money spent on fuel bills goes towards heating and hot water. By installing a room thermostat, you could save customers around £150 per year. Combining the use of a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves with a room thermostat could save customers up to £75 a year just by turning down a room thermostat by one degree. Using the right controls will allow customers to set their heating and hot water for when they need it, as well as heat specific rooms so that energy isn’t wasted on unoccupied areas.
Smart meters help customers keep track of their energy consumption across the home, and also remove the need for meter readings. The benefit of a smart meter is that, unlike traditional meters, which estimate bills after energy use, it can highlight when energy has been used and how much it costs in real time. This allows customers to cut down on waste and reduce bills. At this point, utilities providers offer smart meters to all their customers.
Smart controls, or smart thermostats, are increasingly being introduced to homes to help with controlling heating, as well as understanding energy use. With smart controls, customers can manage their heating remotely, giving them control no matter where they are. Additional benefits include the controls’ ability to remember how energy is used across the home, which can then be used to automatically set up heating preferences. There are a wide range of smart controls available across the market – all with slightly different features – so discuss the benefits with your customers and recommend the best control to suit their individual needs.
On average, every household across the UK uses 330 litres of water a day, making up around 15 per cent of a typical heating bill (around £80 a year). Advising your customers on ways to save water can reduce their water bills and, if they are on a water meter, cut energy use and expense. Some products to consider include:
From showerheads which use technology to create water flows that feel higher than they actually are, to dishwashers and washing machines with low ECP ratings, there are lots of energy-saving products out there to choose from.
Showers should be recommended over baths, but if a customer prefers bathing, try offering them a reduced-capacity bath.
Taps with a lower flow rate can be installed in either the kitchen or bathroom. Flow regulators can also be fitted to showers, and aerators to taps – these regulate water flow without changing how it feels.
Help your customers understand which products use less water and energy. Some products may also highlight the Waterwise Recommended Checkmark.
While all of these products will help support customers who are looking to improve their energy efficiency in an affordable way, don’t forget to also consider the latest legislation, as this can dictate what you can install. Take Boiler Plus, for example; introduced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS), installers must follow modified requirements surrounding the manufacture and installation of oil and gas boilers within the UK. People want to live greener lives, and though they might lack the cash for grand low carbon heating schemes, there are still lots of smaller projects that will ultimately save money and lower carbon footprints. By raising awareness of how efficiency can be improved, we can help people enjoy warmer, eco-friendly houses.