Saving is not difficult at all
Conscious choices and sensible use of the building do not cost anything and insulation with energy-efficient woodwork is an investment that pays for itself quickly. The result? The thermal comfort of household members increases and heating bills decrease permanently.
5 ways to lower your heating bills
Method 1: Use of glazing and thermal buffers
Large glazings on the south façade allow for efficient extraction of free heat from solar energy. In compact buildings, it is easy to heat the entire interior in this way, reducing the consumption of chargeable non-renewable energy from the installation. On the other hand, an attic or built-in garage are great thermal buffers, limiting heat loss through the zones they adjoin. But be careful – if the garage is connected to the house by a door, the garage door should have “an insulated jacket” and a reinforced sealing system to reduce cooling.
A proven form of heat buffering is also the use of external roller shutters, which trap heat just outside the windows, preventing rapid cooling. Roller shutters can be fitted with a control system and even when you are away from home, they can be programmed to lower at night when it is cold and raise during the day to let the sunshine in.
Method 2: Eliminate thermal bridges
In an existing building it is difficult to insulate corners, balconies or the floor. However, there are places where insulation is easy to install. You can partially dig up the foundations and lay polystyrene or polyurethane foam insulation there, which will certainly reduce the cooling of the ground floor edges. You can also remove the roof soffit and seal the insulation of the masonry wall if you feel that it is “pulling” from the knee wall. Contractors very often leave empty spaces there – and yet most heat escapes from the house through the roof, for which you pay unnecessarily. The simplest and most effective way to immediately improve thermal comfort is to replace the windows with new ones, or at least seal the area around the windows. A lot of valuable heat penetrates through the reveal and inadequately secured joint between the frame and the wall.
Method 3: Warm windows
This is an investment which pays for itself most quickly. Windows installed 15-20 years ago have a heat transfer coefficient even three times higher than new ones, and they are installed in a way that does not comply with today’s guidelines. The current standard in Poland requires the Uw to be no higher than 0.9 W/(m2 K). The standard is becoming triple-glazed windows, with wide and warm profiles, whose total heat transfer coefficient Uw is less than 0.8 W/(m2 K). Great emphasis is also being placed on glazing units with a high energy recovery factor g (above 0.5). Entrance and terrace doors have additional seals and specially constructed thresholds, which block the peripheral heat escape at the floor. All these measures are aimed at reducing heat loss to the maximum and gaining as much heat as possible.
Of course, correct installation is very important. Even the best parameters of woodwork cannot replace it. If it is not possible to extend windows into the thickness of the wall insulation, it is important to use a three-layer assembly system at the meeting point of the frame and wall. The thermo-insulating filling made of polyurethane foam must be protected from the outside with a vapour-permeable wind and waterproof tape, and from the inside with a vapour-barrier tape.
Method 4: Ventilation without loss
Even super-heated windows, doors or garage doors are no use if they are notoriously open. If there is a hallway in the house, the inner door should be closed at all times. The same goes for a cold storage room in the kitchen or a boiler room that is colder than the rest of the house. The ventilation of the house should be short and intensive. It is also a good idea to turn the heating down for this period. Windows with a circumferential opening are also a recommended solution. Fresh air enters the room without the need to open the window.
Method 5: Using thermostats
These valuable temperature regulators are used far too rarely. In rooms which are used only occasionally, they should be turned up. If you are away for a long time, it is best to reduce the temperature in the whole house. It is also a good idea to get rid of long curtains which block heat unnecessarily by covering radiators.