With energy prices at an all-time high and showing no sign of stabilising any time soon, any method to reduce our usage and help keep our households budget’s afloat are going to be welcome news.
The stark reality is that since January 2012, wholesale energy prices in the UK have increased by more than 250%, according to the industry group Oil and Gas UK.
Fortunately, much of this has not yet been passed onto the consumer thanks to the consumer price cap, but its impact is still significant with increases in energy between August and September jumping by more than 12%.
This couldn’t come at a worse time, with high inflation, furlough coming to an end, cuts to universal credit and the arrival of winter all creating a recipe for disaster.
To try and keep energy use to a minimum and help you save as much money as possible during this period, we have put together a comprehensive list of practical actions you can take.
Install a Smart Thermostat
According to the Energy Saving Trust installing smart controls, like a smart thermostat can help you save as much as £75.
Popular smart thermostats include Google’s Nest and Hive by British Gas, which allow you to control your heating’s schedule, set timers and monitor your energy use.
They also have a very useful feature called “geofencing”. This detects if you are present in the home and turns the heating off when you’re not home, so you never have to worry about leaving your heating on by mistake again.
Make sure your boiler is efficient
Not only should you get your boiler serviced annually to keep the warranty valid, but it will also ensure it’s operating at its optimum efficiency i.e. that the energy you are spending will be converted to heat and not lost to the environment.
The type of boiler you have installed can also make a big difference, for example, according to the Energy Saving Trust if you replace your old boiler with an A-rated boiler and set of heating controls (you can even operate it remotely via an app on your phone) you could save about £340 and 1,500kg of carbon dioxide a year.
Of course, a new boiler can be expensive and so you may not be able to afford the upfront costs, yet you can pay monthly for your boiler and you may even be entitled to a boiler grant.
Cook with your microwave when possible
It might not be possible to cook everything using your microwave, but whenever you can choose between your oven or microwave, the energy-saving thing to do is to opt for the latter.
Microwaves typically cook food faster and use less energy than your oven, take baked beans, for example, a few minutes in the microwave and more than double in the pan.
Choose the shower, not the bath
A warm bath may be tempting in the middle of winter, but if you want to save energy you really should have baths sparingly and instead use the shower instead.
Not only does using the shower uses less energy, if you stick to the 5 minutes rule, it also uses much less water, so you will save on your water bill too.
Utilise natural thermal heating
If you have south-facing windows, make sure you keep the curtains open during the day as they can make a huge difference in terms of heating your home.
The natural energy carried by the suns rays is so effective that some people design their entire home’s layout in a design called PassiveHaus. You may be surprised at the impact it can have.
Change your light bulbs to LED
Changing traditional fluorescent and filament bulbs for LED’s can save you money and they are also less prone to breaking as they aren’t as delicate.
For example, the average LED bulb can run for over 25 thousand hours, which means if you were to keep it on constantly, it would last an incredible 15 years.
Upgrade your windows
Insulating your home is one of the most effective ways to prevent your property from losing heat and therefore keep it warmer for longer. This not only makes your home more comfortable but helps you limit the amount of time you have to use your heating to maintain an ambient temperature.
Shockingly, a quarter of heat can be lost via the roof in an uninsulated home, but this can easily be remedied by rolling out some fibreglass insulation fibres available at local hardware stores.
Windows are another major culprit of heat loss, specifically old single-pane windows with draughty window frames. Therefore, it’s worth upgrading to double glazing, this can be an expensive upfront cost, but the reality is that they last many years and you will recoup much of the cost of new windows via the energy savings you will make.
Meal plan and try to cook everything at once
Meal prepping doesn’t just allow you to keep track of your diet and calorie intake much more efficiently but cooking all your meals for the week at once can also help you save a significant amount of energy vs cooking on a daily basis.
Unplug your appliances when not in use
Make sure to unplug all the appliances you are not using, as even when in standby mode appliances are still able to use energy.
It’s a simple habit to adopt and literally takes seconds, but it can make a huge difference to your energy bills in the long term.