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Energy efficiency, retrofitting, and sustainable construction supplementary planning document

Energy saving quick wins

On this page you can find cheap, or free, energy & water improvement solutions which homeowners and occupiers can implement immediately. They are non-intrusive measures, meaning they do not require Planning or Listed Building consent, and they can be done without the advice or service of a professional.

Reduce heat loss with DIY insulation

Draughts mean cold air getting into your home, and warm air escaping. Home-made insulation can reduce the heat you lose, and lower heating bills. Select a common source of draughts below to see what you can do.

Between floorboards
Block gaps between floorboards to avoid heat loss. Wedge timber offcuts in large gaps, use sealant from a DIY store, or stuff folded cardboard, such as old loo roll centres, into smaller cracks.
Around doors
Attach a draught excluder at the bottom of doors, made from tights or sewn-up trouser legs, stuffed with old clothes. Attach strips of fabric or belts around the edges of doors. Fix a curtain rail or a pole above external doors, and hang curtains or blankets to keep out cold air in winter.
Around windows
Hang curtains at all of your windows. Use a pole and blankets (or sheets, if you want to let daylight in) if you can't afford curtains.
Behind letterboxes
Use a strip of fabric at the back of your letterbox, attached at the top, to keep cold air from blowing in.


In the roof
If you have no loft insulation, or very little, lay old blankets or duvets between the rafters. For safety, make sure the rafters are still visible, if your loft isn't boarded.


Up the chimney
You can block cold air coming down your chimney by making a temporary 'balloon'. Stuff old clothing and newspapers into a bag, and wedge it into an open chimney. Leave a cord hanging down, for easy removal. Put a note into the fireplace to remind yourself to remove the balloon before lighting a fire!

Cut down unnecessary energy use

Here are a few tips to avoid using fuel where you can. Select one to read more:

Get an energy meter
It's free to have an energy meter installed, and it will tell you which appliances are using the most energy, putting you in control of your overall power consumption.
Dry your laundry outside
Tumble driers are very power-intensive; during warmer months, dry your clothes on a washing line outside if you can.
Wear more layers when it's cold
Keep the heating thermostat a few degrees cooler, and put on a winter jumper instead.
Replace halogen lights with LEDs
Replacing halogen lights with LED light bulbs is a highly effective energy saving option. LEDs last up to five times longer than halogen lights, whilst also using 80% less energy for the same amount of light produced. Find out more.

Save and recycle water

There are many simple ways to cut your water usage, by re-using waste water. Select one to read more:

Recycle laundry water
You can use water from a condensing tumble drier for washing the car, watering plants or cleaning. Empty the output tank, or use a bucket to collect excess water from the tubed vent. 
Harvest rainwater
Use a water butt and buckets outside to collect rainwater, including run-off from gutters, so you can use it to water the garden on dry days, or for washing the car.
Use a plug
When washing up or showering, use a plug, so you can collect and re-use the water.

You can read more hints, tips, and guidance in our Useful resources section.