SOLAR PANELS use the sun’s power to heat a percentage of your hot water. In a four- to five-person house these will cost about €3,000 to €4,000 to install and the SEAI offers grants of €800.
ROOF INSULATION stops rising heat in its tracks: an uninsulated roof can let up to a quarter of your household heat escape out into the sky. Insulating a roof costs from about €75 to €400 and can be a DIY job. It saves up to €200 a year. The SEAI has attic insulation grants of €200.
CUT ELECTRICITY USE . Households spend about €40 a year for everything they leave on standby. You can either expend the effort turning them off or buy a standby saver that lets you turn everything off at once. Also, turn lights off when leaving a room and buy A-rated electrical appliances.
INSULATE WALLS: about a third of the heat that escapes from an uninsulated home leaves through the wall – hot air gravitates towards cold surfaces. SEAI grants for cavity wall insulation are €320, for external wall insulation, €4,000 and internal dry lining gets a grant of €2,000.
SEAL GAPS between floorboards, put mineral wool between joists that hold up floors. Solid insulation can be put above concrete floors.
PV (PHOTOVOLTAIC) PANELS use the sun to create electricity. In a standard house these cost about €13,500 to install (if you make more electricity than you use you may, one day, be able to sell it back to the national grid). Think about passive solar gain too – if you have large south-facing windows you can reduce heating bills.
BUY LOW-ENERGY BULBS: each costs around €3.50 less to run a year than traditional tungsten bulbs. Only about 6 per cent of the electricity used by tungsten bulbs is turned into visible light. Plus, the EU is phasing them out. Change your light shades too: a dark one can cut light emissions by up to a half.
BLOCK AIR GAPS in doors and windows with draught excluders and save yourself up to €30 a year. Put in double or triple glazing, which could save you around €180 a year – or even just put up heavier curtains.
PUT THERMOSTATIC VALVES on individual radiators and only use rads in the rooms you need them in. This costs around €170 and can save about €35 a year in an average family home. You can also zone heating areas – such as bedrooms and living spaces – and set timers to come on differently for each zone.
BOILERS burn about 60 per cent of energy used in houses. Replacing an old boiler with an efficient condensing boiler can save around €350 a year. If you buy a combination boiler you will get hot water when you need it rather than having to heat it in a cylinder first. There are SEAI grants of €560 for a boiler if you upgrade heating controls too.