Introduction

Homes use a lot of energy: in 2004 the domestic sector used 48.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent or 30% of all the UK’s energy use. Only transport used more. However, there is lots you can do to minimise the environmental impacts of the energy you use and the problems with conventional energy. The first thing to do is to avoid wasting energy by changing your habits and installing draught-proofing and insulation. Double-glazing is also worthwhile. With lighting and electrical equipment there are many ways of reducing the amount of electricity used. Then use the opportunity to choose your electricity supplier and go for greener electricity.

If you are installing a new heating system think carefully about what you need and what sort of fuel to use. Solar water heating can reduce hot water heating costs but requires some investment, as do photovoltaics and other renewable sources of energy. Specialist renewable energy suppliers can provide advice. Renewable energy is on the agenda right now because of concerns about energy security, fear of ever rising oil prices, the threat of climate change, needing lower energy bills. The government has strict European targets to meet on renewable energy generation, and is introducing a range of financial incentives to help it achieve them.