Energy saving is big topic that affects everyone from home owners and small business, to multinational companies and governments. One of the best ways to save money on your energy bill is to use less energy. For advice on how to save energy, go to energysavingtrust.org.uk, visit Ofgem's guide, or call Simple Energy Advice on 0800 444 202.
We’re all responsible for the how we use energy in our life and your home is no different. Whether you’re a homeowner, renter, student, or even guest, there are lots of things you can do to control and reduce how much energy you use.
It’s important to feel warm and comfortable at home, but for most of us we still need to keep tabs on how much we’re spending. Using less energy can save you money on your bills and ultimately help the environment.
Energy bills are one of the largest costs for UK families. The average household spends over £1,000 a year on heating and powering their home. It's a figure that can both rise and fall throughout the year if you’re on a variable tariff (Figures taken from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) 2016 survey).
Little changes to your energy usage can make a big difference to your wallet and the environment. Here are some tips to help you save money and energy without giving up your home comforts.
Lighting makes up around 20% of a typical electricity bill. Reducing the use of your lighting can significantly lower your energy spend. Thankfully, technology advances in bulbs and simple tricks and tips can make cutting down light usage rather simple.
Sunlight- A pretty simple fix but sunlight is a great lighting source during daylight hours. It’s free, energy efficient and only takes a flick of the curtains.
Make the most of natural light before resorting to turning on lights.
Switch Off - There’s no point in leaving on your lights for your sofa to enjoy. If you’re not going to be back in a room for any long period of time, just switch the lights out when you’re leaving.
Energy Saving Bulbs- Advances in energy saving lighting has come on leaps and bounds in the last 10 years.
Eco-friendly lightbulbs, either Halogen Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), require far less wattage to power compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. This saves on electricity usage and can save you money by using less power.
People are sometimes put off by the initial cost of Eco Bulbs, but most use between 50- 80% less electricity and last far longer than regular bulbs.
You’ll make your money back in a matter of months with savings.
Timers and Smart plugs - It’s great to come home to a well-lit, nicely warmed house but keeping your lights on the entire duration of a holiday is not the answer. Invest in timers, so your lights will come on at selected hours. With smart plugs you can even control these functions from a tablet or smartphone.
Standby isn’t off – Don’t leave your equipment on standby - Modern appliances don’t use anywhere near as much energy as older ones on standby, however, they still use some. You could still save some money by switching things off at the mains socket.
And the rest - It’s not just the TV that gets left on -Although TVs can drain a lot of energy when not in use other gadgets and electrics can be as bad. Lots of UK households have PCs, tablets and games console plugged in ready to go. They are all draining little bits of power that add up. Switch it off at the socket to cut that leak.
According to the EnergySavingTrust- On average UK households spend £30 a year powering appliances left in standby mode.
Smarter Charging. Electronic equipment doesn’t need to be at 100% charge all the time, in fact it’s better for your devices and wallet if you unplug more often.
If you leave your phone/tablet/laptop charger plugged in when you’re not using it, you’re wasting electricity. Only charge your appliances for as long as you need to, then unplug the charger. Keeping a battery ‘topped-up’ at between 95-100% can damage the battery in the long run, you’re best off charging to what’s needed then unplugging it.
Ditch the sink- Use a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap or filling your entire sink. The bowl will hold less water so takes less time, energy and water to fill, meaning less water to heat.
Brew Smart. - Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need. Why put 5 cups worth of water in when you only need one? It will also take less time to boil when you have less water. You save money energy and get quicker cups of tea - Win-Win!
Microwave the little things. If you can, use the microwave instead of the oven - Your microwave will heat food using less energy than a conventional oven cooking the same dish.
Low and slow - Slow cookers and pressure cookers are also great when it comes to energy saving as they use a very small amount of power compared to an oven, over the same time period.
Pan management – Sounds a bit dull, but manage what pans you use. Match your pan to the best hob ring - Using a ring on the hob that’s too big for the pan will waste energy, as the heat just escapes. So try and match a smaller (or same size) ring to a larger pan
You can also use fewer pans and keep the lids on, so that it heats up quicker.
Fridges & Freezers - Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly. Apart from helping create room, defrosting helps equipment run more efficiently. Also consider packing your fridge and freezer full. Food acts as insulation within the shelves, so keeping your fridge and freezer stocked lessens the amount of time it has to run to stay cool.
The bathroom & utilities
Shower to save - Use the shower rather than the bath whenever possible – A modern shower uses considerably less energy than a bath. Also, as showers and baths account for most of a household's hot-water use, cutting showers from 20 minutes to 10 minutes could slash water-heating costs by 25%.
Spending one minute less in the shower each day will save around £8 off your energy bills each year, per person. With a water meter this could save a further £12 off annual water and sewerage bills. If everyone in a four person family did this it would lead to a total saving of £80 a year (source: EnergySavingTrust).
Don’t overfill - If you do fancy a bath, try not to overfill it - only as much as you need - the less water you can use, the quicker it will fill with less water heated, saving you energy and money.
Wash basin – Like the kitchen, don't leave taps running unnecessarily, use the plug and keep the water in the basin. You might also save some money on your water bill with this tip.
Maintain your tank- If you have a hot water tank check that it’s well insulated and working correctly. Heat will escape from badly insulated or maintained tanks.
Smart washing- Utilise the ‘smart’ and ‘eco’ modes on modern washing machines. Washing at lower temperatures saves energy. If you don't own an eco-washing machine, cutback on unnecessary washing cycles to save money.
Dry naturally - Hang your washing whenever you can - tumble dryers are certainly convenient, but they are expensive to run and use a lot of energy.
A clotheshorse or washing line will do the same job and cost nothing – as long as the British weather cooperates.