As climate change causes growing public concern, finding ways to save energy has become part of our everyday lives. More and more of us are remembering to switch that light off, only turning the heating on if it’s properly cold, and keeping our showers short (god forbid they last longer than ten minutes!)
As well as protecting the planet, saving energy can also help you cut down on your monthly bills. So if you’re running low on ideas for how to be more energy-conscious, fear not: this article will tell you everything you need to know. We’ll cover the simple ways to be energy savvy, as well as more creative techniques for cutting back on bills.
Let’s dig in!
Compare energy suppliers
If you’re trying to be more energy-efficient, start at the source.
Traditionally, there are six main energy suppliers to choose from in the UK: British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power, and SSE. However, the so-called “Big Six” have taken a step back in recent years, with more people opting for the new kids on the block.
New energy suppliers, such as Octopus Energy and Bulb, are becoming more appealing because of their focus on renewables. Depending on which supplier you go for, switching companies could save you £200 a year.
Get your boiler serviced
According to the Energy Saving Trust, heating accounts for around 55% of your energy bills each year – so it pays to keep your boiler in tip-top condition.
Getting your boiler serviced annually will ensure that it runs as efficiently as possible. The installer that carries out the service will be able to spot any oncoming issues that might be reducing its efficiency. This might be as simple as adjusting the boiler pressure, or it could mean having to replace it altogether.
By insulating your house, you’ll be sealing in all that much-needed warmth. Here are six ways you can insulate your home:
- Roof and loft – A quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. By insulating your roof, you could save up to £225 a year on bills, and prevent 920kg of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
- Cavity – A third of all heat in an uninsulated home escapes through the walls. By insulating your walls, you could save up to £255 a year on energy bills, as well as 1040 kg of CO2.
- Insulating tanks, pipes, and radiators – You can save up to £85 on your energy bills by fitting insulation around your boiler tank, pipes, and radiators. You’ll also avoid up to 450kg of CO2 emissions.
- Floor – Sealing the gaps between floors and skirting boards can save you up to £70 a year on energy bills, as well as prevent 280kg of CO2 emissions.
- Solid wall – By insulating these solid walls, you can save up to £435 a year on energy bills, and avoid roughly 1,770kg of CO2 emissions each year.
- Draught proofing – This method could save you around £200 a year. Draughts can be anything from cracks in walls to loft hatches, letterboxes, windows, or chimneys.
Light up your home with LEDs
Looking to light up your home more efficiently? Then you should opt for LED light bulbs instead of traditional incandescent light bulbs.
LED lights are much more efficient, and although they cost more upfront, they will reward you with cheaper electricity.
These efficient bulbs have an average life of 20,000 hours, compared to an incandescent bulb’s 1,000 hours. In terms of savings, if you make this swap for just one bulb, you could save £153.40 each year. One little change can go a long way!
Replace worn out windows
Roughly 40% of your home’s energy escapes from the windows. So if your home is fitted with either single glazed or worn-out double glazed windows, then your energy bills will suffer the consequences.
Double glazing can come in a range of different styles and materials to suit you home. By investing in energy-efficient double glazed windows, you could save between £223 to £477 per year. You won’t want to miss out on this window of opportunity.
Don’t restrict your radiators
If you want to reap the rewards of your radiators, check out our top tips below:
- Move your furniture around – If you have a sofa or table blocking your radiator, you might want to think again. This can block heat off from the rest of the room, leaving you missing out on the full potential that your radiator has to offer
- Fit reflector panels behind your radiator – This can reflect 95% of the heat energy radiated from the rear of your radiator back into the room
- Don’t leave clothes on your radiators – This is along the same lines as blocking your radiators with furniture. By draping clothes on them, you’re restricting how far the heat can travel
Look into landscaping
What most people don’t know is that just three trees, properly placed around a house, can reduce energy use by up to 30%.
During those sticky summer months, trees can shade your house from the sun’s glaring beams. In fact, if you plant trees at the east, west, and northwest sides of your home, this can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 35%.
But since we’re in the UK, you’re probably more concerned with warming up, rather than cooling down. Luckily for you, having a wildlife-friendly garden, full of trees and shrubbery, can also act as insulation around your home, protecting your property from those harsh, bitter winds.
Be smarter with appliances
It’s estimated that having a smart home can save you anywhere between 1% and 15% of your bills. So what are the best energy-bill-busting tools you should pick up?
This device records the consumption of household electrical energy. Perhaps one of the more appealing features for energy-conscious homeowners is that you can set an energy budget. Throughout the month, your smart monitor will let you know if you’re on track to hit your target – helping you to change your habits and lower your bills.
You can connect these devices to an app on your phone, and control when to turn an appliance on and off. You can even program set times for it to switch on when you’re out of the house.
These switches work by reducing the amount of power that’s generated through light switches. Similar to smart plugs, you can connect these to various apps, which allow you to control and adjust the amount you use them. No more fumbling around for the lightswitch in the dark!
For this device, your boiler, thermostat, and app all team up to help you reduce the amount of energy your house is consuming. This app lets you adjust the temperature as you wish, even while you’re away from home.
Ecobee, a well known smart device brand, claims that its smart thermostat can save you up to 23% on your energy bills.
Smart power strips
This smart tool looks similar to a traditional power bar, but is designed to monitor and control power to each electrical outlet. This ultimately improves each outlet’s energy efficiency, and prevents household electronics from wasting power.
With all these smart devices to play with, your energy bills will start shrinking in no time.
In this day and age, what better way to control your bills than through your phone? As more people become energy-conscious, more energy efficiency apps have become available. These simple tools educate you on how and when you are using your energy at home – and more importantly, how you can do better.
Check out our top energy efficiency apps below:
- Joulebug – This app helps you track how much energy you’re using, and how you’re using it. Got a competitive side? You can also challenge your friends to join in the fun!
- My Earth – My Earth offers guidance on all things eco. As the user works through activities, they collect carbon units, which act as visual motivation for users — the more carbon units they collect, the bigger the iceberg on the app grows.
- Smappee – This app requires you to connect a clip-on sensor to your fuse box, which allows the app to detect all of the electrical devices in your house. It delivers real-time readings of energy use from each device, and lets you control each device from the app. Perfect for people with busy lives.
- Energy Cost Calculator – This app gives you a detailed overview of how you’re using energy in your home each day, week, or month. Although this sounds simplistic, its user-friendly site gives it that extra edge.
Various energy providers have also launched their own apps, which allow customers to track how much energy they are consuming at home.
Avoid overusing your oven
Your oven is one of the main culprits for energy consumption. But of course, it’s almost impossible to avoid using it.
So how can you reduce the amount of energy your oven is burning through?
- Switch off the stove or oven before food is fully cooked – this allows you to finish your cooking without using further energy
- Avoid opening the oven door to check on the food
- Don’t preheat the oven – this can waste a lot of energy (just make sure your chicken is actually cooked once you’re done!)
- Use ceramic pans, as they retain heat better than metal ones
- Don’t leave any metal pans in your oven whilst preheating it, as they will absorb all the precious heat
- Use a kettle to boil water, rather than using a pot on the stove
- Use a slow cooker as an alternative – some models typically use the same amount of energy as a lightbulb
Focus on your fridge
You may not know it, but your fridge is constantly eating away at your energy bills. If you want to keep your food nice and fresh while also cutting back on the bills, check out some of our tips below:
- Location is key – The location of your fridge can contribute a hefty amount to your energy bill. If your fridge is located near a window, or near the oven, chances are that it’s absorbing a lot of heat, and will have to put in some extra elbow grease to keep your food cool.
- Let food cool down before putting it in – The biggest way you might be wasting energy with your fridge is by putting warm leftovers inside it, causing it to use more energy than it needs to.
- Keep it full – Having more cold products in your fridge basically means it will keep everything cold. Similarly, if you’re defrosting any food, chuck it in the fridge, rather than the kitchen side to give your fridge a break. By doing this, it will cool down the rest of the food in your fridge much faster.
Watch your washing
Both washing machines and tumble dryers use a substantial amount of energy. If you want to keep your clothes clean and energy green, here are a few tips to reduce the amount of energy you generate:
- Dry your washing outside – A fairly obvious one, but not practiced by everyone.
- Use an electric clothes horse – If you can’t dry your clothes outside, try using an electric clothes horse. This device only uses roughly 230 kW per hour, compared to a clothes dryer’s 3000 kW per hour.
- Wash a full load – Don’t waste energy by doing an unnecessary wash. Fill that basket up!
- Cold water goes a long way – Washing your clothes at 30 degrees can save you up to 40% on bills!
- Clean the lint trap in your dryer – Removing lint from your dryer means it doesn’t have to work as hard or run as long to dry your clothes.
Ready to save some energy?
Once you make your way through this list, you’ll gradually start to see your bills shrink down to a nicer amount. Some of these tips are simpler than others, but even the smallest of changes can contribute to cheaper, more eco-friendly household energy.