Get efficient about your energy savings

Published: 22/04/2015 and written by Robyn

Get efficient about your energy savings

Let’s face it, the statement “be more efficient and save money on your energy bills” has become a bit of an overused phrase in recent years.  We all know it to be true, yet so few of us take effective steps towards being more efficient with our energy usage, despite the significant financial advantages.

With over 80% of low income households concerned about the cost of their energy bills, there has never been a better time to be more energy efficient and start benefiting from the savings. In our latest blog, we’ve pooled together resources that bring you links to free energy saving products through the government’s ECO scheme, as well as looking at the benefits of switching energy suppliers, and helpful tips on lowering your household energy bills in our energy smart guide which could potentially save you hundreds of pounds.

In the UK, households account for more than a quarter of the country’s energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions, which is more than road transport and industries.  This staggering energy consumption has resulted in UK households collectively spending around £643 million a week on their energy bills. Luckily, energy bills are falling thanks to a mild winter and intense competition between suppliers, however despite the falling prices in gas and oil, the average energy bill remains around £1,300 a year for each household.  It’s no surprise then that in a recent survey by YouGov, a leading public opinion research site, 36% of people said that paying their energy bills was the biggest household worry, with 12% blaming the inefficiency of their homes for leaking energy. This is where ECO could help.

Government ECO scheme

ECO, or the Energy Company Obligation scheme, is a government programme that works with energy suppliers to help make UK homes more energy efficient.  The scheme provides low income or vulnerable households with free or discounted energy efficient products to help people improve their homes and lower their energy bills.

The big energy suppliers are now legally obligated to support you in making energy improvements to your home, with British Gas, EDF and others all offering a wide range of free or discounted products.  These products could help you save around £250 per year with more energy efficient boilers, and almost £300 a year saving from more efficient loft insulation. See what you might be eligible for: Free energy efficient boilers.

Switch and save

It’s now official…you could save up to £234 a year if you regularly switch energy suppliers.  The government’s Competition and Markets Authority has found that 95% of people on a standard tariff could benefit from a saving of £158 – £234 a year just by switching supplier. Not enough of a saving for you?

We have a couple of quick money saving tips that could reduce your energy bill by a further 10%:

dual fuel icon

Dual fuel – having both your gas and electricity with the same supplier normally gives you discounted rates.*

Diredirect debit iconct debit – most energy suppliers give you a 5-10% discount if you pay via direct debit, meaning your bills could be around £100 cheaper a year compared to paying via cheque or cash.

But did you know that you can save just as much, if not more, if you change the way you use your appliances and get energy smart about reducing your consumption?

Energy Smart Guide

Here’s our simple guide of energy saving tips that could save you tens if not hundreds of pounds a year.

Energy

  • Turn it down. Just by turning down your thermostat 1º degree can reduce your heating bill by 10%, saving you around £60 a year.  Think thick jumpers and socks before turning the heating up.
  • Shut that door! Using draught excluders, closing curtains and shutting doors can trap the heat and help to save you up to £20 a year.
  • Set a timer. Make sure your heating and hot water has set times to come on, and remember to use the thermostatic radiators properly to control your heating temperature.  Set the timer to come on 30 minutes before you need it and turn off 30 minutes before you go to bed.  Controlling your heating temperature properly can save you up to £30 a year.

Power

  • If you see a devilish red light, switch it off. Leaving devices on standby collectively costs UK householders £227 million a year. Turn it off or unplug it and you could save £80 a year on your electricity bills.
  • Think outside the box. Turn off appliances that you wouldn’t normally think to turn off. Broadband routers and home telephones all cost money to power throughout the night without being used. Turning off your wireless router could save £9 a year.
  • Thinking of getting a new computer?  Switch to a laptop. Unlike desktop PCs which are constantly plugged in, your laptop will use around 85% less energy and will save £17 a year.

Water

  • Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth. Leaving it running wastes 6 litres of water each time, whereas turning it off could save around £20 a year.
  • Take shorter, 4 minute showers. Plus, if you install a water efficient shower head you could save up to £80 a year, or even £120 if you are on a water meter. Some water companies are giving them away for free, so check to see if you are eligible for a free water saving pack.
  • Fill ‘er up! Make sure the dishwater is full before you put it on, and if you wash at 30º degrees you could save up to £75 a year.
  • Did you know that clothes washing accounts for 15% of the water consumption in our homes? Just by washing clothes at 30°C instead of 40°C uses around 40% less energy and saves around £15 a year.
  • Use a bowl in the sink when washing up. It uses less water and could help to save you approximately £32 a year.

Kitchen

  • Turn your oven off 10 minutes before the cooking time ends. By keeping the door shut you allow the food to finish cooking via the residual heat trapped inside, without saving money and energy.
  • Don’t fill ‘er up! Never overfill the kettle. By only boiling the water you intend to use you could save around £7 a year.
  • Oven hobs: the right ring for the right thing. By using the right size pan for the right size hob ring, you stop wasting time, energy and money.
  • If it’s still hot, keep it out. Don’t make your fridge freezer work overtime to maintain temperature by putting hot food in it. Wait for the food to cool before putting it away.
  • Get energy efficient appliances. Generally, the higher the rating the more efficient the appliances, thus the less energy it will cost to run**. Fridge freezers are an appliance where you do not want to be skimping on the energy rating, as they are left on 24/7, 365 days a year. On average, you can save up to £93 a year on more energy efficient appliances.

Lighting

  • Lighting accounts for 10-20% of your electricity bill. Always remember  to turn lights off when you leave a room, and you could save up to £30 a year.
  • Use energy saving bulbs. By replacing all the old bulbs in your home and switching to energy efficient ones, you can save you around £60 a year.

Isn’t it time we were more switched on about switching things off?

*Dual fuel is not always the cheapest option. Make sure that you thoroughly shop around and compare prices before committing to a supplier and energy deal.

**Please note, energy ratings only work in a comparison between similar sized appliances. A larger, more efficient rated product can sometimes cost you more to run than a smaller, lower rated appliance; i.e. a large A+ fridge costs more to run than a smaller A fridge. Always check the energy efficient label. All figures and savings costs are correct at time of writing this blog on 3 March 2015.  Energy saving costs were acquired from the Energy Saving Trust, USwitch and Which? websites.

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