You would have to be living under a rock at the moment to not notice the massive rise in inflation and the giant leaps in living costs this is bringing with it. A large part of the living cost increase is our energy bills which seem to be doubling nearly every month. In response, homeowners are looking for new ways to reduce energy consumption and keep skyrocketing prices at bay
Can rewiring a house save energy? This is a question I’ve been asked an awful lot more lately. There is an obvious hefty outlay in the cost of the rewire, but if the potential energy savings are greater is it theoretically possible to get the rewiring done and then save on our new reduced energy costs whilst also doing our bit for the environment?
Can Rewiring A House Save Energy?
Rewiring a house can lead to energy savings as it allows us the opportunity to upgrade the electrical equipment in our home to more modern, energy-saving alternatives. LED lighting is the most obvious one but it’s worth remembering that these energy savings aren’t as cut and dry as they may seem.
It may be worth getting one of the most common questions out the way early on, and that is the fact that simply upgrading the cables in our homes for newer versions will not in itself save any noticeable amount of energy. As mentioned above, it is the chance to upgrade the electrical items that give us the opportunity to save energy.
Reasons Why Rewiring A House Saves Energy
When rewiring a house there are 5 areas that we can focus on to help us achieve the biggest energy savings. Remember though that it’s always worth crunching the numbers to make sure the savings are tangible and real.
Upgrading to LED lighting
LED lighting uses on average 75% less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs so rewiring is a great opportunity to get rid of all those old-style fittings. There’s a bit of a caveat to this one that I feel needs pointing out and that is that many standard lights can have LED bulbs put in as replacements. Depending on how many of these LED bulbs we are already using will have an effect on energy saving after the rewire.
Upgrading Heating Systems
Old heating systems such as night storage heaters can be replaced with modern versions that manufacturers claim are more energy efficient. If we are simply swapping out old for new storage heaters a rewire is usually unnecessary, so it may be worth using the rewire to consider more drastic actions such as underfloor heating in a bid to save energy.
Renewable Energy Sources
If we want to take advantage of the different grants and incentives that are around to have our own renewable energy source added to our home (solar panels for example) having a rewire is the perfect opportunity to add this. Some of the cost will be absorbed by the rewire as the fuse board will be getting changed and the disruption will already be in full flow anyway so why not add some more work in?
Electric vehicles are here and they look pretty cool in my opinion. Whilst this one may not be energy saving as such, a rewire is a great reason to add a car charger outside while you’re at it and save energy in the form of filling up at the petrol pumps.
When we talk about smart homes we basically mean a home that gives us a lot more control over our energy usage and also allows technology to help us out. Whilst rewiring our home we can add smart sockets and switches that turn themselves off when not being used or smart heating controls to stop us heating an empty home. Smart homes are considered more energy efficient and they have the added perk of impressing our friends who pop by with our house gadgetry.
Reasons Why Rewiring Doesn’t Save Energy
We’ve looked at a few different options why rewiring a house can save energy, and in turn, save us money, but I’ve just opened another energy bill so I’m in a bit of a bad mood and going to point out a couple of reasons why I believe having a rewire done won’t save energy at all.
On the LED lighting front I mentioned earlier that many people already use LED bulbs so this is one factor to take into consideration. Another is that in my experience, many homeowners opt to add many additional lights to their homes during a rewire.
Whereas before there may have been a single pendant light hanging in the middle of the living room, once the rewire is complete there are now many more, albeit cool looking, dotted around the ceiling. It requires the homeowner to do calculations to discover if these half a dozen new LED downlights are more energy efficient than the single pendant they had before.
The second reason to be aware of as to why a rewire may save you no energy at all is the fact that it comes down to the electrical items we choose to install. Upgrading the cables and the fuse board won’t in itself use less electricity.
We may find that during the rewire we take the opportunity to add multiple additional plug sockets, leading to many more plugged-in electrical gadgets all-consuming energy whilst in standby with their little green lights.
It seems to me that rewiring a house can save energy but energy saving is not a guaranteed outcome and requires careful research and calculations by the homeowner. This is where the waters can get a little muddy.
In my own experience on-site I see how much greater control the latest LED lights can have, turning themselves off when needed, automatically dimming when the light comes in from the window and not needing lamps to be replaced. On the flip side, I’ve also seen how often the LED drivers fail and need replacing so these additional factors need to be taken into account.