There are countless ways to save energy around the house, practices that will not only benefit the environment but also cut down the cost of your monthly bills. Here’s a list of 10 of the simplest and most effective tips.
1. Energy Saving Lightbulbs
Energy-saving lightbulbs are gaining traction in the UK and even though the majority are lightbulbs currently installed are still inefficient, the sales of ESLs have rocketed over the past few years. The increase is largely due to a heightened awareness of climate change coupled with the fact that switching one inefficient lightbulb to its energy-saving equivalent can save you £3 a year.
2. Cut Down Your Phantom Load
A phantom load is when electricity is consumed by a device on stand-by mode. Statistics suggest that 10% of your monthly energy bill is comprised of this type of power, so just by unplugging devices when you’ve finished with them could save you a significant amount of money.
3. Install Low Flow Shower Heads
Ideal for cutting down water consumption and saving on heating bills, low-flow shower heads work by blocking part of the water flow. Although you may think this would lead to a less satisfying shower, low-flow heads usually add more pressure to compensate.
4. Turn Your Refrigerator Down
Refrigerators comprise 20% of a household’s monthly energy bill, so by turning the temperature down, even very slightly, you will save a substantial amount of energy and money. Checking the gaskets around the edge of the fridge to ensure a tight seal is another way of making sure your fridge isn’t haemorrhaging energy and cash.
5. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
Buying appliances which are Energy Saving Trust Recommended or bear the EU Energy Label is always a good idea. Not only does it take very little effort – all you have to do is check for the certifications when you’re buying – but it will also cut down your energy bills. Of course, it is still best practice to run these appliances conservatively, such as doing less hot washes on your wash machine, so as to further reduce your environmental impact.
6. Buy an Insulation Jacket for Your Water Heater
Reducing heat loss by up to 75%, the addition of an insulation jacket to your water heater is an incredibly cheap way to save a huge amount of energy. Available from around £10, the jacket will pay for itself in the first six months and the subsequent reduction of your carbon footprint is phenomenal, with an approximate saving of 170KG carbon dioxide per year.
7. Don’t Fill the Kettle So Full
In the UK, each time a kettle is boiled for a cup of tea, it is filled with enough water to accommodate 4, even though there will only be an average of 2 people drinking. By filling your kettle with the correct amount, not only will you save money and water, but you’ll also be doing your bit for the environment without any effort whatsoever.
8. Lower the Water Temperature
Many people are unaware that having their boiler set to heat water higher than 60 degrees is largely pointless due to the fact that when the water rises above this temperature, it will need to be mixed with cold water to cool it down before it’s safe for your use. Setting the maximum temperature to 60 degrees Celsius will cut down on unnecessary and excess water heating and also usage because you will no longer need to run the cold water to make the hot palatable.
9. Fix Drafts and Close Your Curtains
Doing something as easy as closing your curtains at night can keep heat in a room and prevent drafts. But to take this one step further, you can fix draft excluders to windows and doors and fill cracks with sealant can prevent hot air from escaping. It has been estimated that up to 50% of heat is lost through improperly sealed windows and doors, so addressing this issue could have a huge impact on your energy consumption.
Not quite as simple as the other tips, but certainly one of the most important. A well-insulated house can retain heat and save a huge amount of money on energy bills. Up to a third of heat is lost through the roof, so the installation of a radiant barrier in your attic can reflect such heat back into the house. The addition of cavity wall insulation, which fills the gap between internal and external walls, is another hugely beneficial recommendation, with the Energy Saving Trust estimating that it would save the average household £110 and 550KG of Carbox Dioxide per year.