Simple energy saving steps

Article, Energy & Housing, Info

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What can I do that won’t cost a bomb?

If you are looking to cut your carbon fooprint and save on energy bills there are loads of small steps you can take that cost little or nothing – simple steps and ‘energy hacks’ you can take to trim your energy use. 

Top 10 tips

Here are some top ten tips gleaned from the Energy Saving Trust and Octopus Energy.  Note that the cash savings will depend on your circumstances, so the figures quoted are indicative. 

Turn the thermostat down and put on an extra sweater an obvious place to start, particularly if your thermostat is set to above 21C and you’re used to hanging out all winter in a t-shirt.  (Saving: up to £150/year for each degree C)

Take shorter showers – the average Brit spends 7-8 minutes in the shower, wasting loads of water and energy in the process.  Just turning the shower off while you soap yourself will save on both.  (Saving: up to £70/year if you cut showers to 4 mins)

Reduce your boiler flow temperature – it may be set unecessarily high, so get your plumber to check this next time you have it serviced. (Saving:  up to £70/year if you reduce it from 60C to 55C)  

Ditch your tumble dryer – and use a washing line or drying rack instead. (Saving:  up to £60/year)

Block up draughts – sealing up gaps around doors and windows is a cheap and easy step and will make you home much cosier.  Cosy curtains on windows and doors will also help.  (Saving:  up to £45/year)

Don’t overfill the kettle – why boil water you don’t need?  (Saving:  up to £36/year)

Insulate your hot water cylinder – to reduce heat loss and keep your hot water hotter for longer.  And do the same to any exposed hot water pipes while you’re at it.  (Saving:  up to £35/year)

Switch appliances off  – added together, all those gadgets sitting in standby mode overnight and when not in use draw a surprising amount of juice.  Fitting timers will save you the hassle of remembering.  (Saving:  up to £55/year)

Change to LED bulbs – Lighting makes up around 11% of a typical power bill. LEDs use 70-80% less electricity compared to halogen or old-style tungsten filament bulbs.  So check around your house and root out those remaining energy guzzlers. (Saving:  up to £80/year)

Get smart about your heating controlsusing your boiler controls, timers and radiator thermostats intelligently means you can avoid heating rooms when you are not using them.  Speak to your plumber about how to optimise your system around your lifestyle. (Saving: varies widely depending on circumstances)

Other Energy Saving tips

Choose cooler and longer cycles – modern dishwashers and washing machines take much longer to do the job than older models, especially on Eco mode.  This is because they are running at much reduced temperatures (30 C works fine), so it takes longer to get the same cleaning effect.  You may think the Rapid cycle will save energy – but it won’t.  Here’s an article explaining why.  So be patient – stay with the Eco cycle, and maybe run your machine overnight if you’re on a cheap night time rate.

Run appliances at night – taking advantage of cheaper night time energy tariffs.

Get a wood burning stove – but make sure it is a super-efficient Eco design that doesn’t emit much particulates.  And make sure you run it according to the instructions and your wood is extra dry.  There is a lot of contradictory information out there about the pros and cons of wood burners in terms of the pollution risks.  A smoky stove or open fire burning damp wood is definitely bad news for air quality.  Here’s a Which article talking about.