Energy Saving Week – Easy Ways to Save Energy this Winter

Our homes are full of gadgets, games, chargers, white goods and a growing number of televisions. This, coupled with our reliance on central heating, means we’re guzzling more gas and electricity than ever before.

In fact, we own three-and-a-half times as many appliances and gadgets than we did 20 years ago, according to the Energy Saving Trust’s report “The Elephant in the Living Room”.

The enormous rise in domestic consumption over the past decade, teamed with rocketing fuel costs, add up to financial misery for hard-pressed householders.

We’re now spending far more of our income on utility bills and as the Government tries to tackle the suppliers’ confusing pricing structures, we’re left with one realistic solution: cut back.

There are lots of easy and inexpensive ways to reduce the amount of energy we use. All it takes is time, thought and a bit of effort.

Just like the old adage, “Save the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”, saving a few kilowatts and units here and there could significantly reduce your quarterly bill.

There is a mountain of information on this subject and it can be overwhelming, although DIY store Wickes has created a very useful visual aid.

Wickes Energy Savings Tips

As you can see, the new energy saving infographic is really easy to follow and features a room-by-room guide with energy-saving tips.

Building on this and to help you even further, I have put together my favourite, easy green tips which are simple to implement and could save you hundreds of pounds on your fuel bills.

Energy Saving – Around the Home in Eight E-tips (do you like what I did there?)

Kitchen

The heart of the home, but also the room in the house where most energy is wasted. To get you started on your energy-saving quest, why not try these:

1. Easy does it – Only filling the kettle up with as much water as you need could save around £7 in energy bills a year If everyone boiled only the water they needed every time they used the kettle, we could save enough electricity in a year to power the UK’s street lights for 2 months. This is equivalent to the electricity used by around 130000 households for a year.

2. A+++ please - When using you washing machine, always wash a full load. Also, when replacing your old washing machine, choose a A+++ model, this could save you around £15 in energy bills each year and 55 kg of CO2 each year. (*when replacing a model 12 years and over). To ensure you are buying the most energy efficient product,which will cost less to run, reduce your energy bills and be better for the environment, always look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended label. To see how I have got on with Samsung’s newest energy saving washing machine, the Ecobubble, check out my latest column for At Home magazine here.

3. The Big freeze – Fridge freezers are the most hardworking appliances in our kitchens – in fact, UK households use around £2 billion worth of electricity on refrigeration and freezing every year. To help cut costs, don’t leave the door open longer than necessary, as cold air will escape. Avoid putting hot food into the fridge, defrost the freezer regularly and check the door seals are working properly. Also, avoid unnecessary food waste by freezing food that is nearing it’s use by date – for example raw meat, fresh vegetables, even milk. That way your freezer continues to run at maximum efficiency and you will always have a ingredients to hand.

Lounge

4. Standby – you? - We are all guilty of leaving appliances on, especially TV’s and DVD’s, in fact according to a survey by B&Q  31% of people admitted to leaving their TV on standby when they were not watching it.

However, by turning appliances off at the plug when not in use and avoiding standby saves on average around £35 per year on energy bills and 120 kg carbon dioxide.

In fact, according to the Energy Saving Trust, if every UK household turned their appliances off when not in use, collectively we could save £530 million every year and as much carbon dioxide as would be saved by taking 660000 cars off the UK’s roads.

Bedroom

5. Be drawn on the issue – A super -simple way to keep the warmth in your home and one all of the family can do, is to close your curtains at dusk. This will minimise the amount of heat escaping through the windows and don’t forget to do it even in rooms you’re not using.

Bathroom

6. The power of showers – Swapping from the bath to showers is a very easy way to reduce energy use, save money and cut CO2 emissions. As water requires lots of energy to heat it up, by switching to a shower you can save up to 80% of the energy you’d need per bath. To make an even bigger saving, why not switch to an energy-efficient shower head, like the Ecocamel Jetstorm, – to find out more, check out my review here .

Loft and Walls

7. A snug fit – Surprisingly, many people in the UK do not have their loft insulated, despite the fact that it is a relatively simple DIY job AND it can reduce your energy bills by as much as £175 per year*.

With no insulation, the average home loses up to 26% of its heat through it’s roof, which means about 15% of what you are paying for your heating could be escaping through your roof.

To find out more about insulating your home and how you could save money, check out this simple guide from the Energy Saving Trust. In addition, to find out how easy loft insulation is to install, check out this step by step guide.

*Based on an un-insulated loft being insulated to a depth of 270mm

Hallway

8. Easy de-breezy - Draught proofing is possibly one of the simplest and inexpensive DIY measures that could save you money, around £30 per year, that’s 120kgCO2 per annum.

Fitting draught excluders around the door, over the letter box and key hole is an easy way to retain heat in your home. Don’t forget door curtains too, maybe a little old-fashioned of late, but these are perfect for keeping your hallway and home cosy.

So, now you’ve seen how easy and inexpensive it can be to reduce your energy bills, why not take a little trip around your home and see what energy-saving measures you can install.

Don’t forget, all of this week I will be sharing more of my easy green energy saving tips, advice, product reviews and news, so if you want to save money and live a little greener stay tuned.

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All calculations, unless otherwise stated, courtesy of Energy Saving Trust – all statistics are correct as of September 2011
Insulation, Heating and Behavioural Savings Caveat – Based on a typical three bed semi-detached gas heated house, with an average gas price of 4.49p/kWh and electricity price of 14.39p/kWh; correct as of September 2011 and is valid for 2011/12.
Appliances, Domestic Computer, Consumer Electronics and Lighting Saving Caveat – Based on average electricity price of 14.39p/kWh; correct as of September 2011 and is valid for 2011/12.

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