Do you know your solar panels from your U-Value? Tricky home energy terms and what they really mean
When it comes to home energy jargon, knowledge is power.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when discussing options with a contractor, utility, or even your friends and family. However, most of these terms are easy to wrap around your head. All you need is sound, trustworthy advice.
To help you on your energy efficiency journey, we’ve rounded up some tricky home energy terms and evaluated what they really mean.
The term “solar panel” can refer to a variety of technologies. It is often used interchangeably between the panels that generate electricity and those that generate heat.
However, solar modules that generate electricity are called solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. ‘These are panels made of materials that produce direct current when exposed to light. When considering purchasing solar panels, it is important to consider whether you want a system for generating electricity (solar panels) or a system for heating water (solar thermal).
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) measures the energy efficiency of a property on a scale of AG. An A-rated house uses less energy, while a G-rated house uses a lot more.
The average property in the UK is in DE bands. The certificate contains recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of your home in order to save money and protect the environment. It is possible to improve your home’s energy efficiency certificate through renovations and upgrades. This is where extensive retrofitting comes into play.
You may have heard people talk about in-depth upgrade grants and loans. But what does this sentence really mean?
In short, a thorough upgrade means doing multiple renovations or upgrades at once to improve the energy efficiency of your home. These include, for example, wall insulation, window retrofitting, installation of an air heat pump, solar PV modules or water heating panels.
An air source heat pump (ASHP) transfers the heat absorbed from the outside air via the wet central heating systems to an indoor space such as a house or office to heat radiators and provide hot water.
While conventional heating systems can only generate as much heat as their fuel source allows, a heat pump typically generates three to four units of heat for every unit of electricity consumed.
Thermal transmittance, also known as the U-value, is the rate of heat transfer or heat loss. You’ll usually hear it mentioned in relation to windows, roofs, and walls. The better a structure is insulated, the lower the U-value.
Workmanship and installation standards can greatly affect thermal transmittance. If the insulation is poorly installed, the thermal transmittance can be significantly higher than you might want. The lower the U-value, the more insulated your home is.
Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity you use. This is done via a remote connection to your energy provider. They usually come with an in-home screen so you can better see your energy usage and maybe get an idea of where to save.
It is estimated that one in four homes in the UK has a smart meter. This will definitely become more popular in the years to come.
Low energy lighting refers to modern lighting options that are more environmentally friendly. For example, a modern LED lamp uses 80-90 percent less energy than a conventional light bulb and still provides your home with sufficient light.
Replacing all the lightbulbs in your home with LED lights could cut your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 65kg per year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. This is equivalent to the carbon dioxide released when you drive your car over 220 miles.
If you’re looking to upgrade your home and reduce your carbon footprint in the process, contact your credit union for a flexible home improvement eco loan or submit an online loan inquiry today. Because for all your dreams, big, small or strange, the Credit Union has you covered with their monster credit range.