Since January, energy costs have increased by 250% in the UK, triggered by soaring gas demands worldwide. With a tough winter imminent thanks to the energy crisis, any means to make your home eco-friendly and energy-efficient can go a long way in reducing your energy bill.
Apart from lowering your costs, using less energy will help reduce environmental impact. There are various ways to reduce your home’s energy use, ranging from simple lifestyle or behaviour changes to extensive home refurbishments.
Read on to find out how to save energy as prices soar in the UK and across the globe.
Adjust Day to Day Behaviour
Simple adjustments can ensure you use as little energy as possible during the cold months. These include:
- Extra layers for warmth – It may seem too obvious, but adding extra layers by wearing more clothes or snuggling up in a blanket in the living room will help you avoid using too much energy. It will keep you warm, meaning you can turn off the heating or, at the very least, keep it low for longer.
- Make lesser use of energy-intensive appliances – You can do this by performing most of your household tasks manually, like washing dishes by hand or hang-drying clothes instead of using the dryer.
- Take shorter showers and avoid baths – A nice hot bath may be what you need to relax, but it will raise your energy bill compared to a short shower. Short showers enable double savings by using less water and less gas to warm up the water.
- Cook in batches and keep the lids on – You’ll save more energy by preparing multiple meals at once. Keeping the lid on during and after cooking will help you use less energy to boil and retain heat for longer. If you’re using an oven, keep the door closed to save energy by avoiding temperature drops.
- Keep curtains closed at night and open during the day – Close your curtains at night to prevent heat from escaping and maximise your heating. Remember to open them in daylight to allow any sunlight to heat your rooms naturally.
Green Your Lighting
Consider replacing any traditional incandescent light bulbs you may throughout your home. They use an insane amount of electricity and require more frequent replacing than their energy-efficient alternatives.
Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use around 25% to 80% less electricity and last you up to 3 to 25 times longer than the traditional ones.
They’re costlier off the shelf, but they’ll reduce your carbon footprint, and their efficient energy use and long lifespan will translate to fewer costs in the long run.
Install Smart Power Strips
Also called advanced power strips, smart power strips enable you to put standby on standby. They help you prevent parasitic energy or phantom loads. This is the electricity used by appliances or electronics when they’re off or in standby mode, and it’s a significant source of energy waste.
You lose around 75% of the energy used to power your home electronics when they’re off. If you can’t or don’t wish to unplug them, an intelligent power strip can eliminate the problem of phantom loads.
It will shut off the power to electronics and appliances when they’re not in use. You can set it to shut off the power at specific times or during inactivity periods using remote switches or on the master device status.
Upgrade To Energy Efficient Appliances
Appliances account for around 13% of the total energy use in your home. Using old appliances is probably not energy efficient, especially dishwashers, washing machines, and combi boilers.
They may have a higher upfront purchase price. However, the operating costs of energy-efficient appliances are usually 9-25% lower than older traditional models.
Always check the efficiency rating when buying new home appliances and electronics. Choose models with A+++ ratings as they’re the cheapest to run and represent the best value for long term reductions on your energy bill.
For illustration, if you replace your old boiler with an A-rated combi 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.
Invest In a Smart or Programmable Thermostat
A smart or programmable thermostat allows you to control and manage your home temperature conveniently. You can set it to automatically reduce or turn off heating when you’re away or asleep.
A thermostat allows you to easily save energy in the winter by setting it to 68oF when awake and reducing it when you’re asleep or away. It can detect when a room is unoccupied and lower the temperature of that room or recognise when heating is below or above comfortable levels.
Initial programming may require some guesswork, but you’ll soon be saving energy and maintaining a comfortable home with a bit of trial and error.
Insulate As Much as Possible
Insulation will play a key role in reducing your energy bills by retaining heat inside your home during the winter. Insulating your loft, walls, doors, and floors will help you prevent heat loss.
Insulation ensures you don’t have to leave your heating on for long. Insulating your cavity walls is the cheapest and most straightforward, and it involves injecting beads or foam in the gap between the inner and outer walls.
Insulating your loft will save up to a quarter of your home heat from dissipating, while wall insulation can save you around £350 annually on energy bills.
Block Your Chimney
It’s pointless to insulate your loft and walls and leave the chimney open. An open chimney will suck all the hot air out of your house and let the cold air in. Most households lose up to 4% of their heat up the chimney, and preventing such losses can save you up to £200 a year.
You can have your chimney capped if you don’t use it at all. If you need a temporary solution, try a draught excluder or a chimney balloon. They’re an easy and affordable way of keeping the hot air in and the cold air out.
A chimney balloon is a kind of inflated pillow that will help you save energy while preventing pollutants and other things from falling into your house.
Use the above tips to save energy and watch your utility bill gradually decrease! Good luck!