As energy prices have soared and concerns about the environment have grown, many conscientious people are working out ways in which they can save money and simultaneously be kinder to the planet. If you want to become more energy efficient, it could make a big difference to the cost of your energy bill. Here are a few tips to get you started.
If you don’t need to have something switched on, then switch it off rather than leaving it on standby. Anything that has a lit display or a standby light will be using energy just because it is plugged in. In environmental terms, an average family can save the equivalent of 330 pounds of CO2 every year just by turning things off. Alternatively, if you invest in a standby saver, you can save around $60 per year – you will spend between $15 and $40, depending on how many you buy.
There is now a wide range of appliances that are particularly energy efficient. These include eco kettles with a double chamber so that you can measure out exactly how much water you want to boil. This saves electricity, water and time as well as money. Pressure cookers can cook your food in around half the time it takes in a traditional oven, thus reducing costs. When shopping for a new appliance, always check the energy label to make sure you’re purchasing an energy efficient product. For example, an energy efficient refrigerator and freezer, which has received the Energy Star certificate, is proven to save money on utility bills compared to non-efficient counterparts.
Try to minimize heat loss from your home – make sure you have installed adequate insulation for the walls and roof and opt for double glazing or, as a cheaper alternative, secondary glazing. You can fit simple window shutters to further insulate windows. It also helps if you use draught excluders on doors.
Storage heaters, if used efficiently, are of great benefit. Make sure the input level is constant and that the output level is reduced when the heating is not needed – or turn them off altogether at the main switch. When setting your thermostat, try reducing the temperature by one or two degrees – you can put on an extra sweater if it helps you stay comfortable. Plan for heating to come on 15-30 minutes before you are going to need it and to go off 30 minutes before you’re going to bed. If you have radiators, bleed them regularly to get rid of air bubbles.
Washing at a lower temperature really does save you money – for example, choosing 86ºF (30ºC) rather than 104ºF (40ºC) means you are reducing your running costs for the washer by about one third. If you choose to wash with greener products – such as ecoballs or soap nuts/soapods – you will save money on detergent and benefit the environment.
Finally, don’t forget to switch to energy efficient lighting. With a smart meter, you can compare just how much more energy traditional light bulbs consume, and replacing these with low energy bulbs will save you an impressive 80 percent of lighting energy costs.
There are many simple steps you can take to reduce energy usage at home. Not only will this benefit the environment, but it will benefit your wallet as well.