Big Energy Saving Month 2021
Big Energy Saving Month 2021
New year, new you? If you’re an embracer of resolutions to improve yourself at the start of the year, you should extend that philosophy to improving your energy usage habits too as January is Big Energy Saving Month. Energy bills are one of the biggest household costs that can so often be easily reduced by adopting some sensible habits and clever energy saving methods into your everyday routine. We’re having a look at some easily implemented energy saving tips and tricks you can utilise around your home to save you some extra pennies.
Big Energy Saving Month is an initiative led by the clever folk over at Citizens Advice Bureau (Scotland) in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust and Home Energy Scotland. Their aim is to help you lower your energy usage and thus save money whilst all the while keeping you warm and toasty - because you shouldn’t have to forego switching your heating on to save money through the winter. With many of us spending more time at home thanks to the effects of the CoronaVirus Pandemic, it’s understandable that our domestic energy usage has increased as more of us are working from home and in some instances schooling from home too. With all those factors in mind we wanted to highlight the Big Energy Saving Month that is January! In this article we will discuss ways you can cut your energy costs so you can save some much needed money and keep warm at the same time.
Easy and budget friendly ways to help make your home warmer and more cost effective
Now you don’t have to spend a fortune to reap the rewards of a warm home, there’s plenty of clever budget friendly actions you can implement yourself without the need to call in a tradesperson or commit to a costly renovation. Some simple ways to save money by saving on your energy costs are outlined below:
Manage damp and condensation: whether it’s a simple matter of addressing potential leaks, worn seals or ventilation, get these sorted and it’ll help improve the ability of your home to stay dry and keep you warm.
- Draft proofing: again like managing damp and condensation, this can be achieved through some simple but effective additions to your home like using a draft excluder at the bottom of doors (think of those big long sand filled sausage looking fabric things - there’s plenty of tutorials online on how to DIY one of these if you’re feeling ultra thrifty), using some foam adhesive seal strips around windows and doors and perhaps even installing insulated curtains or blinds to reduce heat bleeding through your windows.
- Radiator reflector panels: these clever and super easy to install panels basically consist of a foam mat with a foil/mirror finish on one side. They are installed by sliding them behind your radiator in the gap between the wall and the radiator with the foil side facing the radiator. Adhere them to the wall using double sided tape or adhesive (whatever your preference may be) and once installed these panels will help reflect the heat away from the walls and instead back into your room - simple!
- Switch off Standby mode: you’d be surprised how much having that little red light on your tv when you’re not actually watching it can add up to. If you have multiple tvs throughout your home but find you’re only really using the one, why not consider switching off the others at the wall? Same goes for other appliances around your home that have a standby mode - switch it off at the wall when you’re not using it - every penny saved soon adds up!
- Use a washing up bowl: a running tap uses on average 6 litres of water a minute - imagine how much money that is down the drain whenever you wash up? For a couple of pounds get yourself a washing up bowl to save on running water when you do your dishes, the savings will soon add up, less water usage means less energy usage and that in turn means less money spent.
- Cutback your washing machine usage by 1 cycle per week: this again can and will save you money in the long term. Just like using a washing up bowl above, using your machine for 1 less cycle a week will save you money on water costs and energy costs and don’t forget it means one less load to hang, fold and put away.
- Dishwasher / Washing machine: only perform full loads: if it ain’t full, don’t use it! Get the most out of your water, energy and detergent - only switch your machine on for a full load.
- Don’t overfill your kettle: unlike your washing machine or dishwasher using your kettle is the exception to the fill it rule. Making a cuppa for just yourself? Then don’t overfill your kettle - your kettle will use as much energy as is needed to boil the amount of water inside it, not the amount of water you need. So rather than fill the kettle to the max every time, fill the kettle with only the water you need, this will ensure it boils as quickly as possible and doesn’t waste energy and your precious pennies boiling excess water that is just going to go cold after you’ve poured out one cuppa’s worth.
- Shorter showers: shorter showers = less water and less water = less energy costs!
- Upgrading your shower head: replacing an inefficient shower head with an eco friendly water efficient shower head could save a household of four people around £70 a year off gas bills and around £115 a year off water bills - every penny soon adds up!
- Switch unused lights off: again like the standby appliances, turn them off if you’re not using them!
- Update and replace old halogen light bulbs and instead switch to LEDs: did you know that LEDs last on average 50,000 hours? To put that into perspective, there’s 8760 hours in a year!
- Rugs & mats: have hard floors and find it hard to keep the warmth in your room because of your cold floors? Rugs and mats are the way to go! Soft furnishings like rugs and mats help to store heat, plus they’re easy to clean, can be moved around a room easily and also come in a variety of styles to suit any decor.
- Address dripping taps: a dripping tap can waste more than 5300 litres of water a year. The average bath holds 80 litres. So that’s basically 65 full baths down the drain… I dunno about you but that certainly doesn’t sit well with me. Time to get that tap sorted!
- Use a heating provider comparison tool to see if you’re getting the best deal! Yes you’ve probably seen the ads on the tv, heard them on the radio or even seen a pop up when you’ve been browsing the web but in all seriousness - why wouldn’t you consider a better deal if one is out there? If this is one of those things you’ve thought of but just haven’t gotten around to do anything about it consider this your friendly reminder. There’s no time like the present! So give the guys at Energy Saving Trust a call to make sure you’re getting the right deal for you.
Eco-friendly investment upgrades to help make your home more economical
Granted there are some bigger changes you can make that have a wider impact on improving the efficiency of your home but these aren’t for everyone and these more often than not involve a sizable upfront investment. All that being said though - if you’re in the fortunate enough position to be able to consider these options (say you’re planning a renovation or perhaps a new build) it’s good to consider these into your design plans as they can ultimately save you energy and money in the long term (plus it’s a lot kinder on the planet too).
- If you have radiators, consider installing thermostatic radiator valves (also known as TRVs) which can help you more efficiently control your radiators. There’s plenty of videos online showing you how to easily install these yourself but if you’d prefer to leave it to the professionals any reliable qualified plumber can get these installed for you quick smart and they also come in a range of styles to suit any setting.
- Consider going green. Now this is a big decision and does usually require a considerable upfront cost however in the long term it has the potential to save you vast sums. Going green in some instances could even have your property making money for you through the energy it creates but it isn’t for everyone and nor is it for every home. Going green though does have varying degrees so whether you’re planning a new build and want to fully embrace eco-friendly energy from the get-go or whether you’re looking to perhaps upgrade your current heating to a more environmentally friendly one, the people at Energy Saving Trust are worth chatting with.
- You service your car annually and likely see your GP at least once a year for an MOT on yourself, but what about your boiler? We’ve mentioned this previously but can’t stress the importance of an annual boiler service. Getting a good once over check of your system by a qualified professional is essential in keeping your system in good working order and identifying any potential issues before they arise later as bigger problems.
- Consider your heat source: gas, electric, wood fire, air source heat pump? Not all heat sources are created equal. The ideal heat source for your home takes into account multiple factors and the type of heating you currently have might not be the best match for your particular situation. Again, the clever folks over at Energy Saving Trust are the perfect people to speak with about how best to heat your home.
- Old doors and windows, especially single paned ones bleed heat and their inefficiency at keeping the warmth in your home and the cold air out can cost you. If it’s within your budget, upgrading your windows and doors to more efficient ones such as double or triple glazed can help to keep your heating costs down.
- Insulation comes in a variety of different types and all have the same purpose, to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer (also helps with sound proofing too so if you’ve noisy neighbours or your house is in noisy surrounds, insulation could be a godsend). Insulation is key especially in your roof / loft space as hot air rises, you don’t want it escaping through your roof. And while you’re thinking about the insulation that’s above your head don’t forget the insulation that goes in your walls - whether you go for cavity foam, more traditional batts or a modern eco-friendly material, insulation is going to do your home wonders.
We’d love to hear what clever energy saving tips and tricks you’ve actioned around your home - share them with us via our Facebook or Twitter accounts! If you’re managing to keep your home toasty and warm and your heating costs relatively low do share your secrets with us as we’re always eager to hear first hand accounts of what people are doing to keep costs low indoors when it’s cold outside.