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Experts reveal top home improvements to cut down on energy bills

Bykatie@journalistic.org

Jan 24, 2024
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With energy bills rocketing to a staggering 59% above their winter 2021/22 levels, and Google searches relating to energy bills up by 80%, many homeowners are desperate to make their homes more energy efficient in a bid to save cash.

But which home improvements actually save you the most on your energy bills? And how long will it take to make back the initial costs?

The experts at chartered surveyors Stokemont have analysed the initial costs and average energy bill savings of energy efficient home upgrades for households across the UK.

Which energy efficient home improvements are the most cost effective?

Home improvement Average initial cost Average energy bill savings (£/year) Average payback period (years)
Switching incandescent bulbs to LEDs £5.00 £8.50 0.8
Switching halogen bulbs to LEDs £5.00 £4.50 1.2
Roof insulation (adding 270mm loft insulation) £1,052.50 £348.75 3.2
Cavity wall insulation £2,380.00 £255.00 9.2
Gas boiler replacement (switch to A-rated) £3,700.00 £251.00 18.9
Double window glazing (A++ rated) £4,395.00 £180.00 24.5
Roof insulation (changing 120mm loft insulation to 270mm) £837.50 £32.50 26.5
Double window glazing (A-rated) £4,395.00 £165.00 26.7
Oil boiler replacement (switch to A-rated) £5,500.00 £250.25 30.7

Switching incandescent bulbs to LEDs – 0.8 years

According to the research, switching the incandescent light bulbs in your home to LED ones could be the most cost effective energy efficient upgrade, as well as one of the quickest.

The average initial cost of switching bulbs is just £5, and if you are dealing with a 100 watt bulb, you could save £14 per year on your energy bill, meaning the bulb could pay for itself in less than 5 months.

Switching halogen bulbs to LEDs – 6.2 years

Next up is another easy bulb switch, this time trading in your halogen bulbs for LEDs. Although it doesn’t quite have the same savings as swapping out incandescent bulbs, this switch could still save you £4.50 per year on average, or £5 if you are using higher wattage bulbs. 

Roof insulation (adding 270mm loft insulation) – 3.2 years

The third most cost effective home improvement in the study is to add 270mm loft insulation to an insulation free loft. This switch would pay for itself in 3.2 years on average, according to the findings.

In a detached house, although the initial cost is approximately £1,200, the energy savings could be a huge £445 per year, meaning the upgrade could pay for itself in just 2.7 years. 

Sadly for mid-terrace houses, the numbers aren’t quite as impressive, with bill savings of £240 per year and the payback period being 3.7 years, however the initial cost is less: just £880.

Cavity wall insulation – 9.2 years
Next in the rankings is adding cavity wall insulation to your home. This is another upgrade that can bring huge savings on energy bills: £255 per year on average, meaning that the upgrade would typically pay for itself in just over 9 years.

If you live in a mid-floor flat it is even better news, with an initial cost of just £1,000 and a payback period of just 7 and a half years.

Gas boiler replacement (switch to A-rated) – 18.9 years

The fifth most cost effective upgrade in the study was found to be by replacing your gas boiler with a new A-rated model.

The average energy bill savings over the course of a year comes to £251, but varies greatly depending on the house type and existing boiler. For example, installing a new A-rated boiler in a detached house that currently has a G-rated boiler could result in yearly energy bill savings of £580, meaning the initial £3,700 would be made back in just 6.4 years.

On the other hand, a mid-floor flat that currently has a D-rated boiler would save just £80 per year and it would take 46.3 years to make back the initial cost.

Photo credit: Daniele Mezzadri / Shutterstock