8 things you can do today to save energy
Here are some everyday practical things you can do to reduce the amount of energy you use and help reduce your energy bills
Are you on the Best Energy Deal?
An Ofgem survey found that 53% of people said they have been confused by energy tariffs. With a proliferation of switching services available, there is no need to stick with an expensive standard variable rate tariff.
Most suppliers offer up to four tariffs for gas and four for electricity, along with discounts for managing your account online or choosing a ‘dual fuel’ deal.
Once a year, your energy supplier should tell you which tariff is cheapest for you. If your circumstances change in the meantime, call your supplier to discuss your options. If you are looking to switch supplier, you can use one of the many energy comparison websites. We recommend using the Citizen Advice Bureau’s Comparison Tool to find the best energy deal. If you don’t have internet access you can phone the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506 and they will send you a factsheet with the deals available in your area.
To make sure you get the best deal, you will need to know:
- The name of your current supplier.
- The name of your current tariff usually found on your bill.
- The amount of energy you use.
- How you currently pay and would like to pay with a new supplier.
- Your postcode.
Switch off standby
You can save around £35 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.
Almost all electrical and electronic appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. You may want to think about getting a standby saver which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.
Check the instructions for any appliances you aren’t sure about. Some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record.
If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower), fit a water-efficient showerhead. This will reduce your hot water usage while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower.
A water-efficient shower head could save a four-person household (e.g. a family of four or even a shared student flat) as much as £38 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £53 a year on water bills if they have a water meter.
The calculation is based on the assumption that a family of 4 takes 20 showers a week and replaces a 10 litre/minute power-shower head with a 7.7 litre/min water-efficient shower head, and the family are charged £2.65 per cubic meter of water used (includes sewage charge).
Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney.
Professional draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can cost around £200 but can save around £25 a year on energy bills. DIY draught-proofing can be much cheaper.
Installing a chimney draught excluder could save around £19 a year as well.
Careful in your kitchen
You can save around £39 a year from your energy bill just by using your kitchen appliances more carefully:
- Use a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap and save £25 a year in energy bills.
- Cutback your washing machine use by just one cycle per week and save £8 a year on energy.
- Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need and save around £6 a year.
Spend less time in the shower
Spending one minute less in the shower each day will save up to £8 a year off your energy bills, per person. With a water meter, this could save a further £11 off annual water and sewerage bills.
If everyone in a four-person household did this it would lead to a total saving of £75 a year.
Switch to LEDs
You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy-saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs). They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings.
If the average household replaced all of their bulbs with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and save about £40 a year on bills.
Turn off lights
Turn your lights off when you’re not using them. If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, regardless of the type of light.
This will save you around £15 a year on your annual energy bills.