A new heatmap created by npower to highlight the number of homes that are in need of improving their energy efficiency rating, has highlighted a surprising reversal in common perceptions regarding the so-called north/south divide.
It seems that the supposedly more affluent parts of the UK, in particular some of the smartest London boroughs, have more homes in need of updating to improve their energy efficiency rating than their counterparts in other areas of the country.
Half of UK homes are wasting money
There is certainly no particular cause for celebration for those living beyond the Watford gap when you look at the overall picture that this energy use heatmap portrays, as it highlights that more than 50% of Britain's homes are watching wasted money escape through the walls and roofs of their properties.
Money to burn
It would be unfair and inaccurate to say that all the homeowners who were identified as needing to improve the energy efficiency of their property have money to burn, but the survey carried out by npower.com did show that almost a third of those questioned felt that energy efficiency was not a big enough concern for them, although the majority of the remaining respondents cited a lack of finances and government support, as the reason for not taking any action to improve their energy efficiency rating.
Savings to be made
There are some proven savings to be made by improving the insulation levels in your home and by having cavity wall insulation you can save up to £140 per year off your energy bills, loft insulation will knock up to another £150 off your yearly spend and a new boiler could help to reduce your bills by up to £300, which all adds up to somewhere close to £150 per quarter less that you will have to find for when the bill arrives.
Energy saving improvements
There is no argument, energy saving improvements can make a worthwhile difference to your property. Not only will you enjoy lower energy bills but by improve the energy efficiency rating of your home, there is a good chance that you are adding value to it at the same time as many home buyers today are guided by the energy rating for the house they are looking to purchase.
You can find out more information about how you could enjoy a warmer home and lower bills through better insulation by visiting the energy saving trust website and establishing whether you might be eligible for some of the government grants available relating to cavity and loft insulation.
There are also a number of small changes that you can make around your home which will make a difference overall. These include making sure you swap your old light bulbs for low-energy versions, not leaving appliances on standby and even fixing a dripping tap can help, as this can waste enough energy in a single week to fill a bath.
When you look at the heatmap, it will surely surprise you that an area like Kensington & Chelsea has more than 80% of properties that are in need of upgrading their energy efficiency rating, but when you look at the overall percentage of homes that need improvements, there is no cause for complacency whichever side of the Watford gap you happen to live in.
By Ralph Mullen
Ralph has a deep concern for smart use of energy. He often writes about practical ways to improve energy efficiency in daily life.