As energy bills continue to rise, and UK consumers feel the pinch, the UK’s Energy Saving Trust has issued guidelines for saving domestic energy costs. Here’s some advice that could save on energy bills throughout 2014.
Savings with a Minimum Investment
Draught exclusion: You’re likely to be losing some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, maybe up a chimney or two, and a whole host of other little holes around the house. You could save money by buying proper draught-proofing products for the doors and windows, sealing your skirting boards with silicone sealant, and fitting a chimney draught excluder or sealed fire guards? DIY draught proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards could cost up to £115.
SAVINGS: Approximately £55 a year in a draughty home, so these works can pay for themselves in just over two years.
Don’t Leave Appliances on Standby: Try to be aware of unnecessary lights left on, and appliances left plugged-in or on standby. Nearly all electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug without upsetting their systems – 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 – but check the instructions on any appliances you aren’t sure about.
SAVINGS: A typical household could save between £50 and £90 a year just by remembering to turn off appliances left on standby.
Economy in the Kitchen: The following tips can help you reach this saving:
- Set your washing machine to wash at 30°C.
- Using a bowl to wash up rather than leaving the hot tap running.
- Don’t fill your kettle right up every time – just boil the amount of water you need.
SAVINGS: You can save over £55 a year just by being careful how you use your kitchen appliances.
Eco-Power Your Shower: If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower) then you may be able to fit a water-efficient shower head and that could reduce your hot water usage whilst still maintaining the sensation of a powerful shower.
SAVINGS: Through installing a water-efficient shower head, a family of four could save around £75 a year on gas for water heating
Savings with a Small Investment
New Heating Controls: Whatever the age of your boiler, the right controls will let you set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need them, heat just the areas of your home you want, and decide how warm you want each area to be.
SAVINGS: Installing a room thermostat if you didn’t have one before could save £70.
Loft Insulation: At least 270mm (ten inches) of loft insulation is recommended, so it might be worth checking whether you could make your home warmer by topping up levels of loft insulation.
SAVINGS: You could save up to £180 a year if your loft is uninsulated by installing 270mm of insulation. Even if you have some insulation by topping up from 100mm to 270mm could save around £25 a year.
Low-Energy Lighting: Have you changed all your light bulbs for low-energy ones? Even the halogen spots? You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs for pretty much everything else. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings.
SAVINGS: If the average household replaced all their remaining old-fashioned bulbs with CFLs and all their halogens with LEDs it would cost around £110 and save around £60 a year.
Savings with a Higher Investment
Cavity Wall Insulation: If a home was built after 1920, the chances are that its external walls are made of two layers of brick with a gap or cavity between them. Cavity wall insulation fills that gap, keeping the warmth in to save energy
SAVINGS: The average installation cost for cavity wall insulation is between £450 and £500 and can save up to £140 a year. The measure could pay for itself in under four years.
Solar Power: While the Feed in tariff for electricity generating solar PV panels is going down, the average cost for electricity is going up. In addition the cost of panels is going down which means that now could be a great time to invest in solar PV.
SAVINGS: A typical 4kWP panel could generate and save you £785 per year. Despite costs falling over the last year, they do vary between installers and system sizes (costs can be between £5,500 and £9,000), so get quotes from at least three MCS accredited installers.