With the cost of electric and gas rising faster than inflation, many of us are putting ourselves into debt to keep warm this winter or just simply going without. Energy regulator Ofgem has found that in the last three months, providers have trebled their profits, hitting us with an average yearly dual bill of £1,420!
Whilst soaring costs are putting large dents in our bank balances, our environment is suffering too with the burning of fossil fuels increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. We have all heard the term “carbon footprint”. For those who do not know, this is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions per organisation, event, product or person. Here are some ways of being energy efficient so that you can reduce your carbon footprint in the home as well as your average dual bill cost:
Change your provider
uSwitch.com is a free, impartial website which allows you to compare electricity and gas prices across different providers so that you can make sure you are getting the best deal. The website also provides detailed information on energy providers as well as customer ratings.
This may seem obvious but wearing extra clothes or putting an extra blanket on your bed will deter you from turning up the heating, or even using it. A friend popped round the other day and complained that my house was cold to which I explained that I simply put another jumper on or use a blanket whilst watching television so that I save money. Turns out, my friends energy bill for the winter last year was over £600!
When you do use the heating, turning the thermostat down by just 1 degree could save you a good deal of money.
Having an Energy Efficient Home
Apply for free solar panels, free cavity wall and loft insulation, and an energy-saving grant to increase the energy efficiency of your home, reducing your carbon footprint and cost.
Draught excluders will help reduce heat escaping from under doors and window frames.
Turn it Off
Perhaps another obvious one but one that is easily forgotten: switching off lights and appliances that are not in use and unplugging chargers (they still use electricity whilst not charging). Leaving televisions and set-top boxes on standby will increase your costs and footprint so switch these off too.
Energy saving bulbs are an inexpensive yet imperative buy to keep costs down. They also last longer than a standard bulb.
Using a halogen oven is much more efficient than an oven. If you do have to use the oven, leave the door open to allow heat to escape, warming your house.
If cooking on a hob, use the right ring for your pan. Using a small pan on a small ring will reduce the energy used.
Keeping your fridge and freezer full will reduce the work done by the appliance and thus, save energy.
Energy in a washing machine predominantly goes into heating the water so washing at a low temperature will save energy. Taking clothes out immediately after the cycle to hang them will reduce the need for ironing. If time and weather permits, hang clothes to dry rather than using a tumble drier.
When using a kettle, only boil the amount of water you need.
By following these simple, yet effective steps to reducing the energy used in your home, not only will you make a good saving year after year, you will also be doing your bit in helping the environment.
Article by Emma Walters