Use less energy and lower your carbon footprint
There’s no hiding from the fact that energy bills have soared over the past year. As a result, we are all seeking to use less energy and heat our homes as cheaply as possible. Of course, being frugal with energy is good for the planet too because it means you create fewer emissions. Here’s a few tips on how to use less energy, lower your fuel bills and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
This is an easy one that many of us forget to do – switch off appliances instead of leaving them on standby, especially overnight. And, as I’m forever reminding my children, switch off the lights when you leave a room. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that you could save £65 a year by switching off standby items at the plug and a further £25 per annum by switching off the lights when they’re not needed.
Wash at 30 degrees
Think ahead when cleaning clothes and try to do larger loads so you’re putting the machine on less often. Washing darks and colours at 30 degrees will use less energy and help your clothes to last longer. Laundering your clothes more carefully can save about £34 a year.
Ditch the tumble dryer
An average household can spend more than £200 a year on tumble-dryer bills. Try hanging clothes outdoors when possible or use a clothes airer indoors. A good dehumidifier speeds up the drying process and it will help to prevent damp and mould. Heated clothes airers are another option and are much cheaper than using the tumble dryer. The ones with covers heat more quickly and efficiently.
Turn down your thermostat
Did you know that turning down your heating thermostat just one degree can save £80 a year? You can also turn down radiators at the valve to make sure you’re not wasting money heating unoccupied rooms. If possible, lower the temperature of your radiators and hot water in your combi boiler settings to use less energy.
Use efficient appliances
Next time you need to replace a large appliance, choose one that uses less electricity. Large goods such as fridge freezers and washing machines are graded for efficiency and A+ or A-rated appliances will save money on your energy bills. Switching to a better fridge freezer can save £167 a year and choosing a more efficient dishwasher saves £71 on average. As these goods use less energy, they’re better for the planet too.
Keep heat in
Heat can escape through windows or doors and draught proofing can save you around £125 a year on energy bills. If you have a hot water cylinder, insulating it can save £70 a year and you’ll use 155kg less carbon. You can also place reflector panels behind radiators and look into improving the insulation in your external walls and loft. If you’re not in the position to make permanent adjustments, thermal curtains, letterbox covers and draught excluders can help.
Watch your usage
If you have a smart meter, you can monitor your energy usage easily using a monitor, which lets you know how much gas and electricity you’re using. Your energy provider may let you see exactly how much energy you use during each hour of the day online or in an app. A smart phone app such as Loop can also show this information to help you spot ways to use less energy. For example, it helped me discover that cooking jacket potatoes in the air fryer used less than half as much energy as doing them in the oven.
If you’re cold, put on a jumper or cardie first before you put the heating on. It seems obvious, but I honestly know people who will turn the heating up high so they can wear a T-shirt in winter – although possibly not this year! Sherpa hooded blankets keep you snug and thermal underlayers add warmth under both day and night clothes.
One last consideration
It’s important to balance using less energy with maintaining your home. If you’re coping with putting the heating on less than normal, keep an eye on areas that might be susceptible to damp or mould. You don’t want to run up maintenance bills in the process of cutting your energy costs and make sure you’re not putting your health at risk too.