We’re all responsible for the energy we use in our homes. Whether you’re a homeowner, private or social renter, student, or you live at home with your parents, there are many things you can do to reduce how much energy you use and how much is spent. Please note, all savings on this page are based on figures for Great Britain and are not applicable to Northern Ireland.
Take a look at our quick tips and see if you’re saving as much energy as you could be.
1. Understand your bill
The information on a typical energy bill can be confusing. But understanding it can go a long way to helping you get to grips with your energy use.
This video from Home Energy Scotland provides a helpful guide.
2. Switch off standby
You can save around £30 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.
Almost all electrical and electronic appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. You may want to think about getting a standby saver which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.
Check the instructions for any appliances you aren’t sure about. Some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record.
3. Careful in your kitchen
You can save nearly £50 a year just by using your kitchen appliances more carefully:
- Use a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap and save £30 a year in energy bills.
- Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need and save around £7 a year.
- Cutback your washing machine use by just one cycle per week and save £5 a year on energy, and a further £7 a year on metered water bills.
4. Get a head
If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower), fit a water efficient shower head. This will reduce your hot water usage while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower.
A water efficient shower head could save a four person household (eg a family of four or even a shared student flat) around £80 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £120 on water bills if they have a water meter.
Calculation is based on the assumption that the family takes 20 showers a week and replaces a 13 litre/minute power-shower head with a 7.7 litre / min water efficient shower head, and the family are charged £2.82 per cubic meter of water used (includes sewage charge).
5. Spend less time in the shower
Spending one minute less in the shower each day will save around £8 off your energy bills each year, per person. With a water meter this could save a further £12 off annual water and sewerage bills. If everyone in a four person family did this it would lead to a total saving of £80 a year.
6. Draught proofing
Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney.
Professional draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can cost around £200, but can save up to £25 to £35 a year on energy bills. DIY draught proofing can be much cheaper. Installing a chimney draught excluder could save between £20 and £25 a year as well.
7. Take control of your heating
More than half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water. Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves and using these controls efficiently could save you between £75 and £155 a year. If you already have a full set of controls, down your room thermostat by just one degree can save between £80 and £85 a year.
Whatever the age of your boiler the right controls will let you:
- set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need them
- heat only the areas of your home that need heating
- set the temperature for each area of your home.
8. Get savvy with smart controls
Smart heating controls are the latest innovation to help you control your heating and understand your energy use.
They allow you to control your heating remotely via a mobile app, meaning that you can manage the temperature of your home from wherever you are, at whatever time of day.
9. Switch to LEDs
You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs). They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings.
If the average household replaced all of their remaining old-fashioned bulbs with CFLs, and all of their halogens with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and save about £35 a year on bills.
10. Turn off lights
Turn your lights off when you’re not using them. If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, regardless of the type of light. This will save you around £13 on your annual energy bills.