Top low cost measures
The biggest energy savings can be achieved by making a little investment. Some will pay for themselves almost instantly, while others take a little longer, but will lead to more significant energy savings.
Below are our top ten tips to suit all budgets.
Around 25 percent of heating energy disappears through the roof in an un-insulated house, making insulating your loft one of the most cost-effective ways to save energy in the home. Laying down the recommended depth of 270mm of insulation could save up to £1751 on your heating bill and save an average of around 740kg1 of CO2 per year! If you have some insulation already, topping it up can still save around £251 a year and 210kg1 CO2.
Draught proof gaps
Draught proofing is a simple inexpensive DIY measure that could save around £30 per year1. You can also seal unused chimneys with newspaper or a purpose-made chimney balloon which inflates to block up the chimney, fill the gaps of wooden floorboards with an acrylic sealant, and sew a heavy lining into thinning curtains to stop heat escaping out of the window.
Reduce your clothing carbon emissions
The clothes we purchase are responsible for CO2 emissions of around 1 tonne a year, which amounts to roughly the same as a small diesel car. Reduce your clothing carbon footprint by investing in quality pieces that will last longer than a single season and making use of your local charity shop.
Install energy saving light bulbs
Inefficient incandescent (traditional) lightbulbs are being phased out in favour of more energy efficient options. Despite being slightly more expensive than traditional bulbs, an energy efficient bulb could save around £45 before it needs replacing and can last over 10 times as long.
About a third of heat escapes from un-insulated walls in the home, so minimising this loss is one of the most effective ways to save energy. Maximise heat retention by having cavity wall insulation fitted and save up to £135 per year on heating bills and around 560kg of CO2 into the bargain! The insulation material is installed by approved professionals and is normally injected into the cavity from the outside through small holes drilled in the wall.
Put a jacket on your hot water tank
Insulating the hot water cylinder will keep water hotter for longer by reducing the amount of heat that escapes. A boiler jacket costs around £15, but can save around £45 a year as well as making sure that your hot water is always hot.
Replace your appliances with energy efficient models
If every household in the UK upgraded their fridges and freezers to Energy Saving Trust recommended models, about £688 million could be saved annually. When shopping for new appliances, look out for a label with the energy rating in order to select the most energy efficient model. Most appliances are graded from A to G, with A being the most efficient.
Use public transport
Taking public transport (or even walking) will greatly reduce your carbon footprint. Not only will you save money on fuel, it will help towards the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise to help keep your heart healthy too.
Replace your boiler
Boilers in a home with gas central heating account for around 60 per cent of all household carbon dioxide emissions, so replacing an out-of-date (grated) boiler will significantly reduce a home’s carbon footprint, and save around £225 a year on fuel bills.
Install double glazing
Double glazing traps air between two panes of glass to create a barrier to heat loss by approximately half. The resulting reduction in energy bills is accompanied by a typical saving of around 680kg of CO2 a year.
Grow your own vegetables
Producing your own food will reduce food bills and drastically cut down the ‘food miles’ that your meal must travel to arrive on your plate, reducing carbon emissions too. If you don’t have a garden, plant a few patio pots or grow some herbs in a window box for a tasty way to save energy.
Pay the best rate for your energy
To make sure you’re getting best deal from your energy supplier, compare gas and electricity prices by visiting an independent price comparison website. Sites like uSwitch will tell you if you’re paying over the odds in a few minutes and could save you hundreds of pounds on your gas and electricity bills.
1 Energy Saving Trust, October 2011