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Saving energy at home

Advice and support to help make your home more energy-efficient and reduce your energy bills.

Whole-house retrofit

‘Retrofitting’ is the process of upgrading an existing building to improve its energy efficiency.

Retrofitting is most effective when you take a ‘whole-house’ approach. This makes sure all the upgrades work well together and the final home delivers high energy savings.

Why should I upgrade my home?

About 15% of emissions across Westminster come from heating and powering homes. If you own or lease a property in Westminster, upgrading it to be more energy efficient is one of the best things you can do to tackle climate change and cut energy costs.

When should I upgrade my home?

The sooner you invest in upgrading your home, the sooner you or your tenants will benefit from lower fuel bills. We need to upgrade as many homes as possible to hit the UK’s carbon reduction targets.

If you are planning to carry out works such as a loft conversion or extension, this is a great opportunity to reduce the climate impact of your home at the same time. Not only will you be helping save the planet, but you will be saving yourself from further costly changes later on.

What upgrades can I do and what will they cost?

If you want to retrofit a home to reduce its carbon emissions, there are three main steps you can take:

  1. Reduce the energy demand of your home, usually through insulation, repairs and draughtproofing
  2. Reduce the carbon from heating and powering your home by switching to electric heating and cooking
  3. Where feasible, generate your own renewable energy

Not everyone will be able to complete all these steps at once. If you have a limited budget, then Step 1 (reducing energy demand) is a great place to start and will help your fuel bills immediately.

Step 1: Reduce your home’s energy demand

Some measures that you can take to reduce your home’s energy demand and heat loss, with some example costs include:

  • draughtproofing, for example door and window seals, cost around £4 for 6 metres
  • upgrading appliances to more energy-efficient models, for example LED bulbs costs around £2 to £7 per bulb
  • loft insulation, costs around £15 per square metre
  • rafter-level or roof insulation, costs around £30 per square metre
  • floor insulation, costs around £95 per square metre
  • secondary glazing, costs around £110 per square metre
  • double or triple glazing, costs around £300 to £1,000 per window
  • internal solid wall insulation, costs around £95 per square metre
  • external solid wall insulation, costs around £116 per square metre

Step 2: Switch to electric heating and cooking

Electricity is more expensive than gas, so it is important to go through step 1 (reducing energy demand) before moving on to step 2 (electric heating and cooking).

For most homes, an electric-powered heating alternative will be an electric storage heater or a heat pump.

Heat pumps take ambient heat from the ground, air, or water, and convert this into heat for a home. In central London, due to underground services, most people use air source heat pumps. 

You can also reduce your carbon footprint by switching gas-fired hobs in your kitchen to electric or induction hobs.

Step 3: Generate your own renewable energy

You can generate your own renewable energy by installing solar panels on your roof. These will be either photovoltaic panels (which generate electricity) or thermal panels (which heat your water). These won’t generate enough energy for your whole home but can supplement your main supply.

The price of a typical array of solar panels is around £4,800. You can get money back for any energy you generate but don’t use through the Smart Export Guarantee scheme. MoneySavingExpert and the Energy Saving Trust have some very helpful resources on the costs and benefits of solar panels.  

Where can I find out more?

There are lots of places to get more detail on different upgrade options:

  • check our planning guidance to see whether planning approvals may be required, and if so, how to successfully apply
  • we suggest you use suitably qualified contractors to design and deliver improvements to your home, for example those listed under the government-endorsed quality scheme Trustmark

Published: 23 June 2022

Last updated: 24 May 2024