Use less energy to reduce your household bills (and help the planet too)
Fact of the week: in 2003 we spent 5% of our income on home energy, in 2013 this is now 7.3% and will go up further
Has the news around energy prices ever been more depressing? Every day we seem to hear of another big company putting its energy prices up (Npower 21 Oct, Co-op Energy 18th Oct and British Gas 17th Oct). The long term deal done by the Government on nuclear energy seems to acknowledge that our energy bills be at least double what they are now before the end of the decade.
Then there is impending doom of the lights going out due to lack of energy production in the UK. It feels as an energy consumer that we have no control over what is increasingly becoming the biggest item of expenditure in the average household budgets. In 2003 we all spent on average 5% of our income on home energy, that is now 7.3% and is set to rise further (you can see the raw government data here)
So now is the time to take back control and hit the energy companies in the plan it hurts them most – let’s all use less energy!!
Here are my top tips on reducing energy consumption for the average family.
1) Stop everyone from having baths. While relaxing in a foot of water is very pleasant is costs a fortune. Showers are the eco-friendly and bank balance friendly option. And if you want to encourage even more savings, get a shower timer so that your kids learn how long a sensible shower should be.
2) Find out what you spend and spot those items which are left on unnecessarily using a home energy monitor. Buy a monitor and then start tracking what takes the power in your house. Leave the display by the front door so that when you leave the house you can check that only your background power usage (fridge, freezer etc) is correct and that any power guzzlers like PCs, games machines, hair straighteners, ovens and TVs are all switched off.
3) Use a solar charger to charge phones and other portable devices for free. This has the advantage that you can charge then when you are out and about too.
4) Wear a jumper! My kids have been known to wander round the house in t-shirt and shorts in the middle of winter asking for the heating to be turned up. My answer is no! Put some more clothes on. Who doesn’t love a snuggly jumper? If you don’t have all your ethical winter woollens taken care of for this year, then check out our new range.
5) Show your radiators some love! There they sit discreetly against the wall of your room; unassuming and unloved. But you would soon notice if they went missing, so as you enter autumn you can make them perform much better at what they do with a few quick changes:
- bleed the water in each radiator so that the water (and therefore the heat) reaches to the very top. If you don’t have a radiator key check out our neat solution with built in water collector.
- clean down the back of the radiator and between the radiator fins. The radiator works by allowing air to pass over its surface – the more surface area, the more efficient it is. And if you want to be really thorough with your cleaning try our radiator cleaning brush to get into those tough places
- use tinfoil or reflective radiator foil to reflect the heat off external walls behind radiators back into the room rather than out into the street or into your neighbours house
- and if that isn’t enough add a radiator booster which encourages the airflow around your room. A simple but effective way to keep the good airflow over the radiator itself.
6) Being careful in the kitchen can also save lots of money each year. Make sure that you turn your washer down to 30degrees – all of our washing powders and liquids are effective at low temperatures. Use your dishwasher in energy saving mode. And only use a tumble dryer when absolutely necessary. If you’ve got the space, what about a retro-style clothes dryer to air dry clothes over the bath or in a utility room? You could even try a pedal-powered washer if you want to wash small quantities of clothes and keep fit at the same time.
Of course you may have your own great tips too – comment on this blog so that we can all benefit too!