Global warming is currently the subject of intense debate and there is actually quite a bit homeowners can do to make their own homes more energy efficient and so contribute to slowing down the effects of climate change.
So says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, who notes that inefficient, badly fitting windows can heat up your house by a whopping 75 percent in summer - and account for a third of total heat loss during winter, while adding significantly to your heating and cooling costs.
To test whether windows seal properly, light a candle on a windy day and hold it near your windows. If the flame flickers, inspect the putty that keeps panes secured and replace crumbling or missing bits without delay, he suggests.
"If you find that your windows won't shut properly because the frames are actually bent, you will most likely have to replace them, and while the cost of doing that will probably be quite high, the savings on the electricity bill and a more comfortable ambient temperature will go some way to off-setting the expense."
What is more, says Everitt, window replacement may present an opportunity to give your home a facelift. "In this regard, wooden window frames are a popular choice because they are strong, insulate well and have a natural appeal. They do, however, need regular exterior maintenance.
"Aluminium frames are durable but do not offer the same insulation benefits as wood, while the fibreglass units that are starting to make an appearance combine the strength and stability of aluminium with the insulating properties of wood."
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says, though, that you should first check with a builder whether it would be possible to fit your new windows over or within the existing frames. This will obviate the messy business of breaking out the existing frame and may save some money.
"And for further savings, you may want to consider fitting external window shutters - like those on Cape Dutch houses - that can be closed to keep out the extreme heat of summer day or cold of a winter night."