Kevin McCloud reveals the best home improvements to invest in to save on energy bills

...and his tips for how to save money when installing them

Man infront of red painted wall with black wall art
(Image credit: Grand Designs Live)

Energy bills are at the front of many of our minds this week as households start to feel the pinch from the energy price cap increase. Fortunately, there are easy changes you can make to your home to save on energy bills according to Kevin McCloud.

British designer, Kevin McCloud has honed his expertise, presenting the homebuilding show Grand Designs since 1999. After helping homeowners create their dream properties for over 20 years, there’s little he doesn’t know about home renovations. 

Speaking exclusively to Real Homes to celebrate Grand Designs Live, he revealed the home improvements that are guaranteed to deliver a return on investment when saving on energy costs.

Man sat on bed with green covers

(Image credit: Grand Designs Live)

‘Some of the steps you can take to reduce energy, so insulation, for example, are real no-brainers because they are so cheap,’ explains Kevin. ‘If you put in an extra 4 inches / 100mm of loft insulation in your house, that pays for itself within two weeks. Why wouldn’t you do that? Or put the third layer on for that matter, that also pays for itself quickly.’

The average cost to install loft insulation cost is £5 and £11 per square metre. So it shouldn’t cost more than £1250 to insulate a four-bedroom detached house. However, Kevin has a trick up his sleeve to save money on installing insulation.

‘You could ring up insulation suppliers and ask “have you got any seconds? Have you had any returns? Have you had some stuff sent back to you from a major build because it’s got a dent in the corner?” For a fraction of the price you can buy insulation bi-product online,’ he says.

bedroom with large windows covered with film, a desk and storage ladder

(Image credit: Purlfrost Window Film)

He adds that if your insulation concern is over single-glazed windows, secondary glazing is a great cost-effective option. ‘Secondary glazing is a relatively inexpensive thing. If you’ve got single glazing in your house as you can’t afford double glazing, or you’ve got a listed building and can’t install double glazing, secondary glazing is a complete no brainer,’ he says.

Secondary glazing involves installing another glass layer behind an existing single glazed window. It saves on the cost of removing and replacing the frame, and unlike double glazing, it can pay back the value by reducing energy costs within five to ten years.

Grand Designs Live will take place at ExCeL London from 30 April – 8 May 2022. For tickets please visit www.granddesignslive.com (opens in new tab). The event will be hosted by TV presenter and design guru Kevin McCloud, offering inspirational information and advice about the world of interiors, home design, self and custom build. 

Rebecca Knight is the News Editor on Real Homes. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She moved into digital journalism and developed an interest in homes and interiors when she joined the Ideal Home website team in 2019. Since then she has written for a range of gardening and interior websites including Town and Country, Homes and Gardens and Living etc. As a flat renter, she is always looking for smart DIY hacks that can be easily removed without annoying her landlord, whilst also helping her save money towards her first home. 

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