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The Little Things | Saving £ and Energy around the home

08 November 2018

Most of us would think nothing of leaving a room and keeping the lights on or fully filling up the kettle for one cup of tea or opening and closing the fridge door believing it holds all of life’s answers, but we are overlooking the energy we are producing and therefore, wasting.  We use energy everyday within our home for lighting, cooking, heating and entertainment and we are using more of it than ever before. 

Why do we need to conserve energy? 

Yes you’ve heard it all before, there is a limited amount of non-renewable resources in the world such as coal, oil and natural gas so it is important to conserve these forms of energy. Plus they can also pollute the environment as well as contributing to global warming. The Home Energy Conservation Authority (HECA) reports that the UK has a target to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 so how can you do your bit?

Check out our simple tips you can use to conserve energy in the home, as well as saving the pennies.  

Bye Bye, Standby

The HECA reports that typically, a family will use a shocking £45-80 per year for items on standby or not in use. Most of us are guilty of leaving our TV, coffee machine, washing machine, microwaves and so forth on without turning them off at the socket. The Energy Saving Trust states that almost all electrical and electronic appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. Most people don’t realise that they are still using energy – sometimes up to 20%! A big energy drain is people leaving phone chargers plugged in all day.  

Lights don’t always need to be on…WATT? 

Even though our days are getting shorter, we should still be making use of natural light and resort to using lights only when you need them. This also means cutting down on “mood lighting” and your six lamps! Power NI reports that lighting makes up around 10-20% of a typical electricity bill. You might be thinking that leaving lights on is better than repeatedly turning them on and off but Power NI advise that whilst this may have been true many years ago, times have changed so if you can turn a device or light off, you are saving energy. 

It may be worthwhile investing in energy saving bulbs as they use a whopping 80% less electricity and last 10 times longer than a regular bulb – you’ll make your money back in no time!

Simmer Down and Save Energy

We can spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it being where the light of our lives resides – FOOD! But we can also waste unnecessary energy here and not realise it. Who else fills the kettle up for one cup of tea or coffee? Kettles hog energy and the Energy Saving Trust state that if you only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need you can save around £6 a year. Another wee trick is leaving the oven door open when you’re done – no point wasting that energy and you get to enjoy the stored heat, win-win. Putting a lid on your saucepans also helps the food heat up quicker therefore you’re using less energy. 

Snug as a Pug in a Rug 

As winter sets in, we’re all tempted to leave the heating on for hours at a time however this is not only costly but a real energy zapper. If you’re feeling a bit nippy, you can simply wrap up. Put on your fluffiest clothes, curl up under a blanket and even make a wee hot choc for the family – cosy! Taking control of your heating can also help you save on money by setting automatic on and off times as well as only heating the areas of your home that you need and Power NI state that even turning down your heating thermostat by just 1°C could save you up to 10% on your heating energy bill.

A few more tips…

  • Taking a shower instead of a bath costs less and reduces the amount of hot water in the process. 
  • Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through gaps and cracks around doors and windows. It may be worthwhile investing in draught proofing, especially in much older houses. The Energy Saving Trust state that professional proofing can cost £200 but save around £20 a year on energy bills. 
  • Washing clothes at a 30C or 40C will save you a significant amount of money and saves on energy as it normally goes on heating the water 

Support in Northern Ireland 

The Energy Saving Trust have a web page dedicated to information on how the government and energy suppliers provide grants to help you implement energy-saving measures in your home for energy-efficient boilers, heating, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.