December 3, 2023

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5 expert tips for staying warm in the months (and years) to come

5 expert tips for staying warm in the months (and years) to come

While thick winter coats gradually return to the streets every year, it is getting colder indoors. These little and big tips from energy experts will keep you warm (and sustainable).


1. Better insulation means less heating, but there is one insulation material you should pay attention to

Ghislaine: “Anyone renovating now has to take into account that in twenty years we won’t be able to heat with fossil fuels.”Photo RV / Clemens Stockner

Heating your home is the largest consumer of energy. For those who use gas for heating, hot water and cooking, about 80 to 90 percent of their consumption goes to heating, according to Stijn Verbeke, an energy expert at VITO/EnergyVille. Therefore, isolation remains one of the most important long-term interventions. “Extended insulation can reduce heat demand by 90 percent,” says Verbeke.

So insulation is important. But where best to start and with what materials can you do this in a sustainable way? For insulation of the pitched roof, renovation supervisor Astrid Gesselnerder recommends using natural materials such as wood wool and linen. “They are interesting materials because they also absorb some of the heat in the summer, thus keeping your house cool. On hot days, this can create a difference of a few degrees. These materials also do well in terms of sound insulation.

There is only one insulating material that a renovation supervisor should stay away from: “Sprayed polyurethane (PU), when installed there is an uncontrolled release of propellant gases, which is harmful to the environment.”

Read the full interview.

2. Adjust your heating boiler better

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Picture of an RV

The simplest intervention is to lower the boiler heating temperature. “The installer will often set it to a high temperature of about 75 degrees,” says energy expert Joan Lavin (UGent).

“But at such a high temperature, the condensing boiler operates less efficiently. Look how far you can drop that temperature – to 60 or maybe even 50 degrees – without being able to heat your home properly. That quickly results in a 10 percent savings.”

Read the full article.

3. Use residual heat from the kitchen

Picture for clarification.  Image by Getty Images

Picture for clarification.Image by Getty Images

In the kitchen, you’re already using a lot of energy to heat food. There are some tricks that can help you lose less heat. For example, if you want to cook spaghetti, you first boil a pot of hot water. “Instead of just pouring that water away afterwards, you can use heat in the room,” says energy expert Alex Polfliet. “Only when the water has completely cooled can you pour it away. If you’ve done that before, you’re basically pouring heat down the drain.”

There is also work to be done with the oven heat. Feel free to leave it open once your pizza or casserole is ready. At first glance, these all seem like very small things, but together they can make a big difference, according to Bullfleet. “You definitely shouldn’t underestimate it,” says the energy expert. “All the behavioral changes together — and I’m talking about lowering the temperature by one degree — can make a 15 to 20 percent difference in your energy consumption.”

Read the full article.

4. Turn off the heating at night

“It can make a 5 to 10 percent difference.”Image Getty Images/AIM

Self-proclaimed experts sometimes believe that a heating system can be compared to a car engine. Just as a car uses more gasoline when it has to accelerate from a stationary position to top speed, more gas will be needed to heat a house where the heating has been turned off.

According to energy expert Stijn Verbeke (UAntwerp and EnergyVille/Vito), there is no sense in this. He prefers to compare heating at night to pumping water into a bucket with a hole. A lot of energy is lost when indoor and outdoor temperatures deviate significantly from each other. By turning off the heating at night, this difference gradually decreases and thus the energy loss is reduced. It may be necessary to turn up the heating level a little in the morning, but overall consumption will be lower in the end. “It can make a 5 to 10 percent difference,” Verbeke says. This can result in savings of hundreds of euros per year.

Read the full article.

5. Check if your home is suitable for a heat pump

An air-to-air heat pump uses the heat of the outside air to provide heating indoors.  The pump can also provide cooling.  Photo ID/Fred DeBrock

An air-to-air heat pump uses the heat of the outside air to provide heating indoors. The pump can also provide cooling.Photo ID/Fred DeBrock

The most sustainable but also more expensive measure is a heat pump. It fits more and more homes and is called the heating of the future. However, there is a lot to consider, so you should first check if your home is suitable for a heat pump.

Currently, gas connection will only be banned in newly built homes from 2025. So you can still choose a gas boiler. “But in new construction, a heat pump is one of them without thinking“, says energy expert Martin De Groot (VITO/EnergyVille).

The basic rule of thumb for a heat pump is: the lower the temperature it has to generate, the more efficiently it operates, and the more interesting it becomes. To be able to heat your home at a low temperature, it must be adequately insulated. These are newly built homes, after all.

According to the Organization for Sustainable Energy (ODE), a heat pump is interesting from EPC A mark onwards. “Houses built from 2006 onwards are in principle ready for a heat pump,” says Dirk van Everkoren (ODE). For older homes, this depends on how well they are insulated after that. Good roof insulation is a must. Insulating cavity walls and subfloors can be very cheap additional “quick wins.”

A good test to check if your home is ready for a heat pump is to set your heating boiler temperature to 50 to 55 degrees on a cold winter day, rather than 70 or 80 degrees. If you are still heating your home, a heat pump is also an option to consider.

Read the full article.

Many articles in this overview first appeared on the morning When energy prices reach record highs in 2022. Our editors have reviewed the above tips.

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