This doesn’t mean doing without – you can waste less by being energy efficient. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that the average home in the UK could save up to £130 per year – and avoid emitting 500kg of carbon dioxide – simply by taking energy saving steps.
Are you worried about how much money you’re spending to heat and light your home? Do you want to spend less? There are some simple steps you can take to save money and energy by changing the way you use appliances or making your home more energy efficient.
Insulate your home
Did you know that approximately 33 per cent of heat is lost through the walls of your home, and 26 per cent through the roof?
Insulation acts like a duvet for your home, and slows down the rate at which your home loses heat, meaning you don’t need to spend as much to keep warm.
An energy efficiency retrofit of the house – including insulating cavity walls, topping up loft insulation, installing double glazing and upgrading a boiler – could save a household up to £320 on their annual energy bills according to the Energy Saving Trust – reducing emissions by 1.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
The amount you save may vary depending on the size and age of your home, how it’s heated, and how you use your energy. Find out if your supplier is offering help with the costs of making your home energy efficient.
Make small changes around the home
There are also lots of small things you can do to waste less for free or at low cost around the home, such as turning off lights and switching appliances off at the wall.
Ten top tips for saving energy
- If you have a timer on your central heating system, set the heating and hot water to come on only when required: 30 minutes before you get up in the morning and set it to switch off 30 minutes before you are due to leave.
- If you have a hot water tank, set the cylinder thermostat to either 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Cylinder thermostats are usually fitted between a quarter and a third of the way up the hot water cylinder.
- Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors.
- Always turn off the light when you leave a room.
- Don’t leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
- When you are doing the washing try to fill up the machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher. One full load uses less energy than two half loads.
- Try and ensure that you only boil as much water as you need.
- A dripping hot water tap can waste enough energy in a single week to fill half a bath. Fix leaking taps and make sure they are fully turned off.
- Dry your clothes outside during nice weather so you don’t need to use your tumble drier.
- Do a home energy check to find out about savings of up to £130 a year on household energy bills. Visit the Energy Savings Trust home energy check at http://hec.est.org.uk. Use this check to get a full report with details of your home’s energy use and the savings you could make.
For more ideas, visit the Energy Saving Trust website.
Get help to make your home energy efficient
There are a number of schemes that may be able to help from the government, energy suppliers, local councils and others.
Visit the Energy Saving Trust to get an overview of all the help available (or call 0300 123 1234 in England or Wales). Currently, the main schemes include:
Energy Companies Obligation (ECO)
This requires energy companies to fund insulation and boiler replacements to meet targets. The availability of support depends on which targets each energy company still needs to meet. Some support is restricted to those on certain benefits, those not living in council or social housing and those in certain postcode areas. Visit the Energy Saving Trust to get an overview of all the help available (or call 0300 123 1234 in England or Wales). Or speak directly to your energy supplier or another energy supplier about the free or discounted insulation and other energy efficiency measures they may be able to offer you.
For more information, see the Citizens Advice factsheet: