The best retrofit installations for every type of home

Looking for inspiration to help consider which type of energy efficiency improvement is suitable for your home?


When it comes to improving the energy efficiency of a home, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every home is unique and requires its own personalised improvement plan.

However, there are similarities between some types of home. For example, bungalows are often detached and could benefit from wall insulation. And terraced houses can often be most improved by insulating the loft and windows.

Find your home type below and see which improvements could boost its energy efficiency.


Most of the UK’s bungalows were built before 1970, when land was more available. Now, developers are building less bungalows than at any point in the last 80 years.1

But while bungalows may be an ageing breed, they’re practical and charming homes. And they’re often perfect for young families and retirees.

Owners should consider these energy-efficiency improvements:

  • Loft insulation: Since heat rises, a well-insulated loft can significantly reduce heat loss and reduce heating bills.
  • Wall insulation: Bungalows are often detached, resulting in plenty of wall space for heat to potentially escape. Whether choosing cavity or solid wall insulation, adding an extra layer of insulation will help maintain the internal temperature more effectively.
  • Solar panels: With their typically large roof area, bungalows are ideal candidates for solar panel installations. And because bungalows usually have a smaller square footage compared to two-storey homes, less power is needed to run the home, allowing the panels to cover a bigger portion of energy needs.


There are more cottages in England than anywhere else in the world.2 Full of charm and often historical significance, cottages are beloved across the UK.

Some cottages are timber framed with traditional thatched rooves, while others are made of brick and have tiled rooves. Both are typically found in the countryside.

Owners should consider these energy-efficiency improvements:

  • Heating system upgrade: Many cottages are in rural areas, disconnected from a mains gas supply. Installing a biomass boiler is an efficient alternative that has a low carbon impact.
  • Draught-proofing: Since cottages tend to be much older than other types of homes, gaps can appear due to the frame warping over time. Draught-proofing gaps around windows, doors and between floorboards can prevent heat loss.
  • Floor insulation: A thatched roof can be excellent at keeping the heat in. But cottages with original timber floors can see significant gains from insulating its underfloor areas.


Representing 21% of all housing stock,3 flats have become a popular sight across the UK. And they’re becoming more common as urban living continues to increase and land becomes more limited.

Compared to most other properties on this list, flat residents are typically more limited in the types of improvements that can be made.

Owners should consider these energy-efficiency improvements:

  • Heating system upgrade: Other than insulating your home, upgrading your heating system is one of the most effective ways to improve its energy efficiency. Boilers have become more efficient over the years, so replacing an old one could noticeably reduce your energy bill.
  • Double glazing: Compared to single glazed windows, double glazing can reduce heat loss by up to 50%.4 That could reduce your energy use and Co2 emissions significantly.
  • Draught-proofing: Since it’s not usually possible to install solar panels, heat pumps or wall insulation to an individual flat, draught-proofing is the next best way to keep your energy bill down. Sealing gaps around the windows and doors will help keep your heating in and prevent cold draughts.


If you’re not familiar with tenement buildings, they’re like terraced flats - as well as having neighbours above and below, you’ll also have neighbours on each side of your home.

Particularly popular in Scotland, many of these stone properties were originally built in the late 1800s. But at over a century old, they’re not the most energy efficient.

Owners should consider these energy-efficiency improvements:

  • Floor insulation: While most of heat is lost through a home’s walls, the only type of wall insulation that can be fitted to most tenement apartments is internal, which reduces the amount of living space. Instead, floor insulation is the next best thing - around 10% of a home’s insulation is lost through the flooring.5
  • Internal glazing: Double glazing can’t usually be installed in tenement buildings because the exterior appearance is often protected by conservation area status. Instead, internal glazing can be installed. This can be fitted inside the home without affecting the exterior view while reducing heat loss by up to 65%.6
  • Draught-proofing: Due to their age and use of large sash windows, tenements are well known for having a few draughts. Unfortunately, draughts allow heat to escape from a home. Plugging these gaps using draught insulation strips or brush strips is an effective and affordable way to keep that heat in.

Terraced house

With nearly 7 million terraced homes in England and Wales, this type of home is the most popular type within the British Isles.7

Originally built as affordable homes for workers arriving in towns and cities during the industrial revolution, terraced houses weren’t typically very energy efficient. As a result, improving a terraced home’s energy efficiency can make a significant difference to your comfort.

Owners should consider these energy-efficiency improvements:

  • Heating system upgrade: Replacing an old, inefficient boiler with a modern, energy efficient one can both reduce the amount of energy needed and the resulting carbon emissions.
  • Double glazing: Installing double glazing is one of the most effective ways to keep in, reducing heat lost through windows by up to 64%.8 It’ll reduce outside noise too.
  • Loft insulation: Most of a home’s heat can be lost through its roof (heat rises, after all). If your lost has little or no insulation, consider installing or topping it up to keep your home at a warmer and more stable temperature.

Semi-detached house

Representing nearly a quarter of all homes in England and Wales, semi-detached homes have been a popular building style for over a hundred years.9

To say that semi-detached homes vary in style, quality and size would be an understatement. There may be more individual considerations to make than any other type of property on our list.

Owners should consider these energy-efficiency improvements:

  • Heating system upgrade: If you live in an older house, your boiler may be less efficient than modern versions. If that’s the case, replacing it could reduce your energy bills by up to 30%.10
  • Draught-proofing: With two floors and a loft, semi-detached homes offer plenty of places for draughts to appear. You can reduce heat loss by sealing gaps around doors, windows, floorboards and loft hatches.
  • Solar panels: If your home’s already well insulated, you may want to consider generating energy more efficiently. Installing solar panels on your roof can be an effective way of reducing your energy bills and carbon emissions, particularly if your roof is south facing (which receives more sunlight).

Detached house

Detached homes, standing alone without sharing walls with neighbours, tend to offer the most flexibility for retrofitting and improvements. But they can also be the most expensive type of home to heat due to increased exposure to the elements.

Owners should consider these energy-efficiency improvements:

  • Wall insulation: Adding cavity wall insulation (where insulating material is fitted within the inner and outer walls), or external wall insulation (for solid walls) could reduce heat loss by up to 35%.11
  • Loft insulation: Detached homes often have large lofts. This may be great for storage, but it’s a large area for heat to escape. Installing or upgrading to thicker loft insulation can prevent heat from escaping through the roof and improve the overall comfort of your home.
  • Heat pump: Detached houses often have larger front and back gardens than other types of home. This allows space to install a ground source heat pump (air source heat pumps require less space but are less efficient), which can generate heat much more effectively than traditional heating systems.

Town house

Historically, town houses were considered to include upmarket city homes. Now, they’re more commonly defined by their dimensions - taller and skinnier than other houses. With neighbours either side, many town houses are terraced. But with more floors to heat, energy efficiency is a critical aspect to keep comfort and energy bills under control.

Owners should consider these energy-efficiency improvements:

  • Heating system upgrade: It’s unlikely your home will have space to install a heat pump, so the next best way to optimise heat generation is to install an efficient boiler. Combi boilers are usually most cost-efficient, with some being up to 98% efficient (i.e. they turn 98% of the fuel they burn into heat). New boilers also use ‘condensing technology’ which recycles wasted heat, making them even more efficient.
  • Draught-proofing: Town houses are often three floors tall, which means they’ll have more windows than most! Draught proofing them will make sure less energy escapes through gaps.
  • Double glazing: While we’re on the topic of windows, you might want to consider replacing any that are single glazed or in need of repair. This can reduce your bills by up to 64%.

New build

While successive governments have targeted the building of 300,000 new homes every year, the actual figure is closer to 200,000.12 But while there may not be as many new homes as hoped, the homes that are being built are some of the most energy efficient around. 85% of new homes in England and Wales are achieving an EPC energy efficiency rating of A or B.13

Owners should consider these energy-efficiency improvements:

  • Smart thermostat: A smart thermostat can optimise your heating usage by automatically adjusting temperatures based on your movements and energy usage habits.
  • Solar panels: New builds are often very well insulated. So your next step will be to consider green energy generation. Installing solar panels can provide clean, renewable energy while reducing your reliance on the energy grid and lowering your energy bills.
  • Heat pump: Another green energy source, heat pumps can use a small amount of energy to extract a lot of heat from the ground or air. If you have the space, ground source heat pumps are most efficient, but air source pumps are also very effective.

Listed building

Owning one of the UK’s 500,000 listed residential buildings can be a great privilege, but it’s also a great responsibility. With limited potential to make structural or cosmetic changes, making a listed building more energy efficient can be a difficult or expensive task.

Owners should consider these energy-efficiency improvements:

  • Heating system upgrade: With limited potential to make more drastic changes, installing a more efficient heating system is a great way to improve energy efficiency without compromising the home's character.
  • Secondary glazing: Where double glazing isn't allowed, secondary glazing can be installed behind the original windows to improve thermal efficiency while preserving the character of the home.
  • Draught-proofing: Listed buildings tend to be older than others, which means there’s been more time for gaps to appear around windows, doors and floorboards. Sealing these gaps will help keep the home a more stable temperature and help your heating system work more efficiently.

To find out how to make your home more energy efficient, get your free personalised home energy efficiency plan with Snugg.

Get your free personalised home energy efficiency plan
Get a free personalised plan to help reduce your energy bills and prepare for a greener future.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong. Keep seeing this error? Sign up here.
By submitting this form, you confirm that you've read and agree to the Terms of Use.

Get your free personalised home energy efficiency plan

Get a free personalised plan to help reduce your energy bills and prepare for a greener future.

By submitting this form, you confirm that you've read and agree to the Terms of Use.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong. Keep seeing this error? Sign up here.