Home energy advice
Energy saving ideas
Saving energy can save you money. It’s good for your health, can make your home a more comfortable place to live and it protects our planet.
The following information will help you save money and give you more control over the energy you use at home.
- Heating and hot water
- Draughts and insulation
- Further help
Reduce your home thermostat temperature
Setting your thermostat between 18 and 21oC will reduce the cost of your heating whilst still being comfortable. If you’re older or have a health condition, you may need to keep your home warmer.
Check your thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs)
Thermostatic radiator valves control the temperature of a room by adjusting the amount of hot water that enters the radiator they are attached to. If you don’t use a room all day, then set it to a lower temperature. Don’t switch the radiator off completely as this may increase the likelihood of damp issues.
Programmers and times
Program your heating around your day. For example, switch it on half an hour before you need it and switch it off half an hour before you no longer need it. This is because most homes take about 30 minutes to heat up and cool down.
Reduce your gas boiler flow temperature
If you have a combi boiler you could be burning more gas than you need. This is because the default setting for boilers is usually 80 degrees C, but the boiler works most efficiently at 60 degrees C. Changing the boiler flow temperature could save you over £100 a year. Find out how to change this on the Money Saving Boiler Challenge website.
More information about heating your home efficiently is available on the Centre for Sustainable Energy website.
Economy 7 and night storage heaters
Economy 7 and electric heating such as storage heaters differ from gas central heating. Citizens Advice and the Centre for Sustainable Energy have information to help you get the most from storage heaters.
If you have a combi boiler, you can change the flow temperature of your boiler. Find out how to do this on the Money Saving Boiler Challenge website.
If you have a traditional hot water tank, ensure it has its own thermostat and set it between 60 and 65 degrees C. Instead of heating the tank all day it is much cheaper to set the timer to heat it up for a couple of hours each morning or evening.
Electric Showers use a lot of electricity so taking shorter showers could save money.
Draughts and insulation
A draughty home is harder and more expensive to keep warm. There are lots of simple, low-cost ways to draught proof your home such as traditional draught excluders that you can make at home. Effective draught proofing could also keep your home cooler during hot weather too.
Having the right insulation can make your home more comfortable and reduce energy costs. Some forms of home insulation can have a significant initial cost to install but over their lifetime will save you more money than it cost to install, especially if you’re living in your home long-term. For more expensive insulation types, grants may be available to help pay some of the cost.
The main types of insulation:
- Roof and loft insulation – generally lowest cost, easy and quick to install; it not only keeps you warmer in winter but can keep your house cooler in summer. Loft insulation will pay for itself many times over during its 40-year lifespan.
- Solid wall insulation and cavity wall insulation - will reduce your energy bills and make your home more comfortable, reducing draughts and noise from outside. External wall insulation can be expensive but will recoup its costs over the lifetime of the product.
- Floor insulation - can be installed by a competent DIYer, or you can pay to have it done professionally. It can save around £145 per year on your energy bill and reduce draughts and noise.
- Radiator, water tank and pipe insulation – these are simple and cheap ways of saving energy (and money). Install reflective radiator panels behind radiators which are attached to external walls, lag hot water pipes and if you have a hot water tank make sure it has effective insulation.
For a full explanation on all the types of insulation, check out the information provided by the Energy Saving Trust.
More information is available on the Energy Saving Trust website - Reducing heat loss.
Buying energy efficient appliances
When buying a new appliance, look for one that has the best energy rating. Energy ratings relate to the size of the appliance, so a smaller fridge will be cheaper to run than a large fridge for example, even if they have the same rating.
Find out more about energy rating labels on the Label 2020 website.
Using appliances efficiently
Avoid leaving appliances on standby. A typical household spends £60 per year on appliances on standby.
- Appliances like fridges and freezers are on constantly so can use a lot of electricity. Place them away from heat and sunlight and keep the coils free of dust
- Only fill the kettle with the water you need and de-scale it regularly.
- Wash clothes at 20°C and use the right cycle. Avoiding tumble driers and air-drying clothes instead will save money.
- Set dishwashers to ‘eco’ and only run them when they are full.
- Changing how you cook can save you money. The amount that cooking costs will alter depending on what you’re cooking, how you’re cooking it and how many you are cooking for. Find out more on the Energy Saving Trust website.
Energy appliance costs
You can see how much running certain appliances costs over on the Centre for Sustainable Energy website - How much energy am I using?
Lower your energy bills with ECO funding
Derby City Council has access to funding to provide energy efficiency upgrades for residents.
Funding is sourced from the Energy Company Obligation and will vary depending on property type - some eligible households may be entitled to fully funded home upgrades.
Aimed at reducing energy bills and keeping homes warm, there is a variety of home improvements available to homeowners and private renting tenants. The scheme is focused on properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of D or below – find your EPC on GOV.UK - Find an energy certificate.
As part of the scheme, properties will undergo a survey to create an energy saving plan which may include one or more of the following home improvements.
- Boiler replacements (homeowners only)
- First time central heating
- Loft insulation
- Room in roof insulation
- Cavity wall insulation
- Under floor insulation
- External wall insulation
YES Energy Solutions
We are working with energy experts YES Energy Solutions to help residents receive funding.
YES Energy Solutions’ friendly energy advisors will assist residents through the qualifying process, and arrange a property survey with their industry accredited installer partners.
To find out if you qualify, view the full details of the scheme on YES Energy Solutions’ website.
To apply, call YES Energy Solutions on 01422 880 100 or fill out their online contact form.
Home Upgrade Grant (Phase 2)
Derby City Council is working with Marches Energy Agency (MEA) to install home energy efficiency improvements to properties not connected to the gas network at no cost to the residents. This is to make homes more comfortable to live in, reduce energy bills, and support the national effort to reach net zero by 2050.
Work will be completed by Trustmark registered installers overseen by the Council.
Which home energy efficiency improvements could I be offered?
Works offered will depend on funding availability and the outcome of technical surveys, but could include:
- external wall insulation
- internal wall insulation
- cavity wall insulation
- loft insulation
- low carbon heating, for example, air source heat pump.
- solar photovoltaic panels (solar PV)
Am I Eligible?
You are likely to qualify if you meet all of the following criteria:
- your home is not connected to the mains gas network
- you are an owner-occupier or rent your home from a private landlord
- your property has a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D, E, F or G.
You can check your EPC on the GOV.UK website. If your home does not have an EPC, one will be completed for you as part of the scheme.
And, that one of the following statements is also true:
- Route 1: You live in one of the eligible postcode areas set by the Government
- Route 2: A permanent member of your household receives a means tested benefit
- Route 3: Your combined household income is below £31,000 before tax
Works are fully funded for owner-occupiers. However, private landlords will be required to contribute towards the total cost of the install. Only landlords who have a portfolio of four properties or fewer are eligible to apply. Please ask your landlord to contact us for more information.
How do I apply?
For any questions or to apply contact MEA’s local team (Warmer Derby & Derbyshire). Telephone 0800 677 1332 (Option 2), Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Email HUGD@mea.org.uk or by the online application form.
Applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. All works are subject to household eligibility, funding availability and technical surveys.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
I don’t meet the eligibility criteria, what are the next steps?
If you don't meet the eligibility criteria, MEA’s Warmer Derby and Derbyshire advice service is able to check to see if there are alternative funding schemes appropriate for you. You can contact them on 0800 677 1332 (Option 1) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The service also offers free impartial advice on energy efficiency, billing, fuel debt and more. Alternatively, you can check with your energy supplier or search for localised grants.
How long do energy efficiency improvements usually take?
This is difficult to estimate! Some improvements may take longer to organise than others. For example, some may require planning permission or are weather-dependent. If needed, you will not need to pay or apply for planning yourself.
You may have multiple surveys depending on the measure. Once your home has been surveyed and the Council has confirmed your grant, we have to do some technical work to make sure that any works meet funding requirements. This happens in the background and does not require you to do anything to complete this. However, this can take several weeks to process, and must be done before the work can start.
From your initial application to installation, it could take at least several months or more.
Why am I required to fit ventilation upgrades to my home before receiving an insulation measure?
Government standards, known as PAS 2035, mean that households who qualify for free insulation must either have their existing ventilation upgraded or new additional ventilation installed in their homes.
When the survey is carried out your home's suitability for insulation, and the ventilation needed, will be assessed together. Should your property require any ventilation measures, they will be fitted at the same time as your insulation at no cost to you.
Upgrades could include extractor fans, trickle vents on windows or gaps beneath internal doors. These allow air to move throughout your home keeping your home safe and healthy.
Why has my application been declined?
To receive funding, we must follow strict guidelines set out by the Government. Whilst we all do our best, sometimes eligibility is not clear until after the technical surveys. The following are the common reasons for unsuccessful applications:
- EPC rating too high - properties rated A, B, C do not qualify because the scheme aims to upgrade the most inefficient properties first
- Property unsuitable - not all homes are suitable for certain energy efficiency measures. A survey will be completed to determine what improvements your property needs from what is available under this scheme.
- High costs - there is only limited amount of government grant for each home. If the quotes come back too high, your application will be cancelled.
- Access difficulties - your application may be cancelled if installers are unable to access relevant parts of your property safely. This could be due to narrow passageways or not enough room to erect scaffolding. For health and safety reasons, loft spaces with small loft hatches are often declined for measures such as loft insulation.
- Planning constraints - some measures are not allowed to be installed due planning restrictions, for example, we may encounter complications if your property is listed or in a conservation area.
Further information and advice
There are local and national organisations that provide energy efficiency advice. There is also advice and support via your energy supplier’s website.
- Derby City Council – email@example.com
- Warmer Derby and Derbyshire - Call 0800 677 1332 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Centre for Sustainable Energy website
- Energy Saving Trust website
Energy bills and Cost of Living
If you are struggling with the cost of your energy bill, support is available from local and national organisations.
Healthy Housing Hub
If you think your housing conditions may harm your health find information on our Healthy Housing Hub pages.