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Our top ways to save energy at home

As we look towards the colder months ahead, businesses and individuals are increasingly concerned about the deepening energy crisis. Here, we share our top tips for saving energy at home.

Words:
Scott Armstrong
Images:
Shutterstock
Our top ways to save energy at home
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Many of us are looking for ways to save energy at home with the energy crisis and colder months approaching. Despite support for businesses and individuals announced by Prime Minister Liz Truss recently, many are still struggling, and this is compounded by an increase in the cost of living.   

Cutting carbon, energy and costs go hand in hand so here are several immediate and medium-term actions you can take at home that can help you save energy at home. 

The energy crisis

The energy crisis in the UK and globally has left many worried about their costs coming into winter. After months of concern around rising energy bills, they are officially kicking in from Saturday October 1. Prior to this date, the current energy price cap – historically set by the regulator Ofgem – had been set at £1,971 a year but was due to increase to £3,549 a year until government support was announced in September.  

 An energy price cap limits the rate a supplier charges for their default tariffs, but it doesn’t cap your total bill as that depends on how much energy you actually use.  

This announcement included freezing energy bills at an average of £2,500 per year until 2024. In addition to this price cap, under the Energy Bills Support Scheme, announced by Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, households will receive a £400 discount on energy bills.  

Following the announcement of support for individuals, the government announced a cap on wholesale electricity and gas costs at less than half the market rate expected this winter to support businesses. While this is initially for just six months, additional support may be offered for more vulnerable organisations for a longer period.  

Despite these support measures in place, financial struggles are still a concern for many people coming into winter amidst a cost-of-living crisis and the energy crisis. It’s true that the cheapest unit of energy is the one you don’t use. So here are some free and low-cost ways you can cut your energy and costs at home.   

Ways to save energy at home

In the kitchen

“Cold appliances”, usually found in the kitchen like fridges and freezers, are energy intensive, contributing to around 13% of the average household’s energy bills. Simple switches and behavioural changes in your kitchen can make a huge difference to your energy consumption and bills. 

  • Descale your kettle twice per year to maintain optimum efficiency. Savings per year: £15 
  • Often overlooked but switching off your oven at the socket can help reduce energy consumption when not in use. Savings per year: £30 
  • Opting to use the microwave instead of the oven, when possible, saves energy as the microwave will only heat the food within it and not the space around it. Savings per year: £40.  
  • Like all appliances, make sure to switch off your microwave at the socket once you’re finished. Savings per year: £45 a year. 
  • When you do use the oven, try to not pre-heat it first. It wastes a lot of energy and for many recipes it isn’t critical. Savings per year: £60 
  • Regulating your fridge to 3°C or 4°C, as opposed to 1 °C, is a simple but effective way to reduce your bills at no cost. Savings per year: £60 
  • Defrosting your freezer twice a year to maintain optimum efficiency. Savings per year: £60 

In the laundry

“Wet appliances”, for example washing machines and tumble dryers are hugely energy intensive due to the power needed to heat the water. Here are some simple and low-cost ways to save energy at home. 

  • Using cooler washing cycles – at around 20°C or 30°C – three times a week. Savings per year: £90 
  • Like dishwashers, always make sure to use full loads less often rather than half loads more often.  
  • A low-cost but effective solution is to use laundrette facilities to dry bulkier items like duvets, towels and throws.  

In the bathroom

  • Spend one less minute in the shower. Four minutes is ideal! Why not make it fun and try the song challenge? Create a playlist of all songs under four minutes. Savings per year for one minute less in the shower: £55 per person showering 
  • As a low-cost solution, an aerated shower head can help reduce water flow from 12 litres per minute to 8 litres per minute. Savings per year: £60-80 
  • Aerated taps for sinks can help reduce water glow from 12 litres per minute to 8 litres per minute. Savings per year: £10 – £20 per tap 
  • We all know a dripping tap is annoying but fixing it is a low-cost solution that can reduce your water and energy consumption, and your bills. Savings per year: around £40-60 

Doors and windows

According to some research, many families are seeing up to 30% of their energy bill “go straight out of the window” due to a lack of insulation. Looking at your doors and windows is an important step in home energy savings.  

  • Insulating tape to your front and back doors, and insulating tape and gap fillers to all windows are inexpensive ways that can help to conserve heat within your home. Savings per year: £35-45 
  • For internal doors, use draft excluders to stop heat loss when external doors are open. Savings per year: £20 each 
  • Install thermal lined curtains to double patio doors. Savings per year: £45 
  • A free option is to simply open blinds and curtains to south facing windows during the day to increase solar gain and closing when dark to reduce heat loss. 

Reducing your heating and cooling

By far, heating and cooling our homes uses the most energy. Simple actions to conserve heat are important and can drastically save energy in the household and reduce your bills.  

  •  Move furniture and obstructions away from radiators to ensure proper heating efficiency. Savings per year: £200 per year.  
  • Bleeding radiators just before the cooler months come around can help save you money by making sure your system is running efficiently by removing any air pockets. Savings per year: £80.  
  • Using radiator foil behind each radiator can help direct heat, warming the room up quicker. Savings per year: £45. 
  • Install smart thermostats for app control of heat and hot water. Savings per year: £240 
  • Reduce the temperature of your radiator by one degree. Savings per year: £120 
  • While an electric blanket may seem energy intensive, it can actually help you conserve energy. Turn your electric blanket on for 20 minutes before you go to sleep instead of switching on your heater. Savings per year: £80. 
The_energy_Crisis

The benefits of reducing energy

There are clear financial benefits from reducing energy consumption in your home, but maximising energy efficiencies can also increase value in your property, offer an enhanced quality of life and help to protect our environment.  

By implementing energy efficient changes across your home – from fixing leaking taps to changing all lighting to LED – you can help boost the value of your property for future buyers with the appeal of reduced utility bills and fewer repair bills.  

Small energy changes can also boost comfort in your living environment and may come with some health benefits. Properly insulated homes will make your home warmer, drier and better ventilated and can help prevent pollutants, and stop mould and illnesses.  

On top of this, cutting energy means also cutting carbon. Residential properties are responsible for between 1721% of energy-related carbon emissions globally, and the energy supply sector is the largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing the amount of energy you consume, you are also lowering your carbon footprint. As part of the Planet Mark Business Certification, we help you to reduce the emissions associated with several areas including energy.  

You can download our full Personal Energy Savings Guide here.

If you’re a business looking to for best practice on energy measurement and reduction, you can download our free toolkit here. 

Scott Armstrong is a qualified Energy Manager and has spent 30 years supporting businesses in becoming more energy efficient. He is a fellow of the Energy Managers Association where he is also a former Board Director and Chair.

The cost savings are based on estimates and come from a variety of sources including Energy Saving Trust, The Eco Experts, Money Savings Expert, various energy companies and Government resources. 

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Thursday 21 February 2024, 1:00-2:00 PM

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