These days, it seems like everyone is looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. You can’t blame them, really. Not only does a reduced carbon footprint help the planet, it can also put extra pounds in your pocket. The government is pressing ahead with new rules for homebuilders that will see smart and renewable energy sources such as heat pumps, solar panels and infrared heating coming to the fore, making households more eco-friendly and cheaper to run, but here are six things you can be doing at home in the meantime to save money – and the planet.
Don’t leave things on standby
This is an old tip, but still many people are guilty of leaving their household appliances and tech – kettles, microwaves, TVs, games consoles – plugged in and on standby mode when they are not in use. Not only does this use more energy than is necessary, it also incurs unnecessary costs. Switching off appliances when they are not in use can save you around £30 per year. You can even get smart plug socket controls that can be controlled from your phone, or switch off by themselves according to a pre-set schedule.
Turn the lights out
On a similar note, turning off lights when they are not in use can shave around £14 per year off your energy bill. Some people think you should leave lights on if you’re going to be using them again rather than switching them off, because it takes more energy to get them going again than it otherwise might. This is not true. If you switch off a light for even a few minutes you will still save more energy than it will take to power it back on. You might also want to consider the bulbs you are using in your light fittings. There are many energy saving bulbs on the market now, and if you switch to all-LED bulbs in your house you could save up to £35 per year.
Get the right thermostat – and settings
More than half the money spent on fuel bills in the UK goes towards heating homes and providing hot water, so if you haven’t already got one, now is the time to invest in a smart thermostat. These handy pieces of kit make your heating more efficient through a range of features, such as only heating the rooms you are using, or only heating your home for as long as it takes to warm through. They can also be controlled remotely from your phone, so you can have your house nice and warm by the time you get home – or switch the heating off if you forget to do so before leaving! Having a smart thermostat can save you up to £75 per year on your bills. You should also think about what temperature you have it set to: reducing your heat setting by just one degree celsius can save you around £80 per year.
Insulate your home
Of course, if you’re going to get smart about heating your home, you will also want to make sure you’re being similarly savvy when it comes to making sure that heat stays where it belongs – inside. There are lots of things you can do to help with this, all of which will save you money on your heating bills, as well as helping the environment. First up, taking care of draughts around windows or under doors and skirting boards can save you up to £35 per year. Next, upgrading to double glazing and installing A-rated windows and doors can save up to £110 per year, based on a semi-detached house that currently has single glazed glass. It’ll also keep more noise out. Finally, insulating your roof can have a significant impact on the amount of heat that escapes your home, and could save you £135 per year in the process.
Take control with smart home controls
Smart home controls put you in complete control of your energy use, giving you access to usage data, insights and controls to operate things like your thermostat, even while you’re out of the home. By giving you a clear view of the data, smart home controls also help you become more aware of your energy use, and potentially any energy you are wasting. The government estimates that monitoring usage more closely could typically help reduce a household’s electricity use by 2.8% and gas use by 2%.
Explore social and renewable energy
There are lots of energy saving tips on this list, but have you considered joining the renewable energy revolution and upgrading to a source such as solar? Installing PV panels and combining them with a battery-based storage solution can open up the potential for you to use something called social energy. This is where you store the energy saved by your solar panels and trade any that you don’t use back to the National Grid, vastly cutting down on wastage. You can save up to 70% on your household energy bills by joining the revolution now. Find out more in our social energy guide.
All stats taken from the Energy Saving Trust.