We all want to reduce our energy bills and make our homes greener and cheaper to run.
But wanting something and actually achieving it are two very different things. So lets make this as bite sized and achievable as possible, by looking at ten simple steps that you can take to slash your costs and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
1. Monitor Your Consumption
Find out just how much gas and electricity you use by fitting an energy monitor in your home. You’ll quickly become aware of how energy is used in the house. British Gas has found that this awareness can save families as much as £110 a year.
2. Small Things Can Make A Big Difference
Here’s a few simple measures you’ve no doubt heard before – turning your heating down a notch, switching off lights in rooms as you leave, not leaving electrical goods on standby and switching to a lower washing machine setting… There’s a reason we’ve probably all heard these before – sticking to them will have a significant effect on your energy consumption.
3. Hang Thicker Curtains And Insulate Your Doors
By hanging thicker curtains you can prevent heat escaping and keep your home warm and cosy. Similarly there are a number of easy-to-apply stick-on insulation kits that can prevent drafts from the sides and bottom of your doors. It all adds up to a warmer living space – which is just what you want knowing what we can expect from our so called ‘summertime’!
4. Insulate Your Loft
The Energy Saving Trust calculate that uninsulated lofts can cost householders as much as £240 a year. Make sure your loft is insulated and start saving money by preventing heat loss today.
5. Insulate Your Walls
It is not just those drafty doors, windows and lofts that are allowing heat to escape from your home. Uninsulated cavity walls account for up to a third of the heat lost in your home – and if you have an older property that has solid walls the amount of heat lost can be double this.
The problem is that heat flows from a warm area to a cold one. In the winter, the colder it is outside, the faster heat from your home will escape through your walls into the surrounding air.
The good news is that both types of walls can be effectively insulated, although it is more expensive to insulate a solid wall.
The savings you could be making are considerable. For cavity walls the Energy Saving Trust calculates it could be £275 a year and for solid walls as much as £455.
6. Upgrade Your Boiler
Inefficient boilers can cost you as much as £200 a year in terms of the energy they consume. Their cost to the environment is even more significant: boilers account for 60% of the carbon dioxide emissions in a gas-heated home.
Check your boiler: it will be rated on a scale of A to G, with A being the most energy efficient. If yours is at the lower end of the scale it could save you a lot of money to replace it now.
7. Insulate Your Tank And Pipes
Hopefully by now most of our hot water cylinders are insulated – but many are not insulated adequately. Check how thick your insulation is and, if it is less than 75mm thick, replace it with a British Standard jacket. You’ll save a further £35 a year (or up to £135 if your tank was uninsulated).
Whilst you check on your tank have a look at your pipes. These can be easily insulated and your hot water will stay hot for much longer.
8. Fit A Water Saving Showerhead
It is simply not true that all showers use less water than baths.
Those long rinses we enjoy under the shower can end up using more water than the average bath – indeed, with some power showers, just a wash that lasts less than 5 minutes can end up sending more water down the plug than a soak in the tub.
By fitting a water-saving showerhead you can easily and quickly cut back on the amount of water and energy you use.
9. Fit Double Glazing
The initial investment in double glazing can be quite high but you will be amazed at the difference it will make to your annual energy bills.
When you are choosing your windows, look out for ones that carry the ‘Energy Saving Trust recommended’ logo: this seal of approval is only given to the most efficient windows.
10. Invest In Solar Panels
With solar panels you can generate some of your own heat or power and even sell energy back to the National Grid with a feed-in tariff. The Energy Saving Trust thinks the average home can provide 40% of its power this way.
And don’t worry: solar panels work when it’s cloudy, so don’t let the UK weather affect your considerations!