We all hear lots in the media about the need to reduce our energy consumption. It’s important in the context of global warming and the increasing costs of wholesale energy. At Glide we want to ensure you’re empowered to understand what you can do to reduce your energy consumption… and hopefully save some money in the process. With that in mind we’ve produced this guide to give you some simple changes to try and reduce the energy you use.
On average in the UK a typical house overspends by about £200! That’s money that you could put towards far more exciting things than your gas and electricity bills.
A simple rule is: the cheapest and greenest energy is the energy we don’t use!
Cool it down
You’ll know if the heating in your house is set too high, some of the tell-tale signs are:
- It’s the depths of winter and you and your housemates are dressed like you are about to go to a beach party in Ibiza.Complaints policy
- There’s frost on the ground and you’ve had to open your bedroom window to get some cool air into the house.
- Everyone is getting ready for the festive Christmas season and you have a complex system of fans set up to keep you cool at night.
If you or your housemates are doing any of the above then you probably need to think about changing your house heating habits.
Knocking a degree or so off your thermostat will cut your heating bills by around 10%. You’ll stay cosy if you keep temperatures around 20ºC in living rooms and 16ºC in bedrooms. Put on a jumper and get yourself some nice cosy socks. You’ll be surprised how much you can save and still stay snug!
No one likes an old boiler…
When choosing your accommodation we know that you’re mainly interested in the exciting things like how close you are to uni or work, or the distance to your favourite drinking establishment. Probably one of the last things on your mind is the age of the central heating boiler in the property (#yawn!).
Old boilers (over 15 years old) use on average 20% more energy than their modern day equivalents.
Having a sneak peak in the airing cupboard, or asking your landlord about the boiler, could save you some serious dosh. It may not be the main thing you consider but bear in mind that if you have an ancient old boiler, your overall accommodation costs will be higher!
Maybe it’s something worth looking out for when you choose your accommodation next year!
Keep the heat in…
You’d be really surprised how much heat escapes from your house / room. If you can see gaps under the door or around the windows then the chances are you’re paying to heat the outside. (I know we’re starting to sound like your parents, but bear with us!)
You need to think about ways that you can keep the heat you’re paying for in your house or room. You could maybe invest in a draught excluder… there are some very amusing ones shaped like sausage dogs or snakes, or you could have a word with your landlord to see if there is anything they can do to help you stop the heat escaping.
If you’ve got a draughty house this year, maybe add this to your checklist for your next accommodation.
Light for less
In a typical house, about 10 to 15% of the electricity costs gets gobbled up by lighting. Making some simple changes can help you save some money. Here are some easy tips for reducing your lighting costs:
- Switch lights off when you are not in the room… We know that this old chestnut is something your parents nagged about. You’ll be surprised how some simple changes add up to some serious results and cash in your pocket.
- Switch off the “big lights”… if your house is lit up like Blackpool Illuminations, then you are probably paying a lot for the privilege. Change your habits and use small side lights rather than having multiple lights on in a room.
- Change your lightbulbs for energy saving bulbs. Energy saving bulbs cost about a fiver and typically they will save you £10 off your annual bill.
- Open your curtains or blinds to let as much natural light in as possible. This will reduce your urge to reach for the light switch and the sunlight will also help warm the property.
Ok, this is the blinking obvious one. Switch stuff off when you are not using it!
If your TV is always left on standby, or you leave appliances / computers etc. running when you are not using them, then you are wasting money hand over fist. Try and get into good habits of switching things off and your bills will be less. Also, unplug your phone charger as these use juice even when they are not charging.
Hot costs for hot water
Heating water is up there in terms of average energy costs for typical houses. Reducing the hot water you use will be reflected in savings in your bills.
- Stick a plug in it… running hot water costs money, think of all that energy it takes to heat it, so make sure you stick a plug in your sink when doing the dishes.
- Washing up uses less water and much less energy than a dishwasher.
- Turn taps off properly and repair ones that drip. A dripping hot tap can waste up to 1,400 litres of heated water a year. Speak to your landlord if your hot taps are dripping your money down the plug hole.
- Only filling the kettle with the amount of water you need saves loads of energy and water
- Be swift in the shower. We all love a luxurious long shower but every second you can cut down will translate into pennies in your purse.
The green science of the appliance
When you are looking to buy new appliances for your home, try and look for the most energy efficient ones. All new appliances have handy labels on them to tell you how power hungry they are. Speak to the shop assistant and they will be able to help you make good choices!
Allow hot or warm food to cool down before putting it in the fridge – and defrost your fridge regularly to keep it running efficiently and cheaply. If it tends to frost up quickly, check the door seal.
Always use a full load in your washing machine and stick to the lowest temperature possible. If you can’t, bung in half. Most machines have a ‘half load setting’ or better still, an economy one.
Hang clothes out to dry instead of using the tumble dryer. If you do use a dryer, don’t load it up with really wet clothes, wring them out or spindry them first… it’s much faster and it will save you cash.
Lastly, remember that housemates that cook together save money together! Being social and cooking together will really reduce the amount of energy you use for preparing dinner. It’s obvious but having the oven on once a day rather than 3 or 4 times will significantly reduce your cooking costs.