|Save energy - and cut your fuel bills too.
A quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions we produce is from energy to heat and light our homes, and power household appliances. Using this energy more efficiently will reduce emissions and save money on fuel bills too. Here are some simple tips:
YOUR ENERGY SUPPLIER
Choose green energy
The old way of creating electricity is the UK's biggest cause of climate change. Everyone can now choose a green electricity tariff.
By switching to a supplier that supports renewable energy sources, such as wind power and biomass, such as Ecotricity for example, you are taking the single biggest step that you can take to reduce your impact on the environment.
You continue to use the same wires and meters you've already got and receive your electricity in the same way. Nothing changes from where you sit, but everything changes about where your electricity comes from.
Ecotricity 121 (Ecotricity), RSPB Energy (Scottish and Southern Energy, Unit[e] (Unit Energy Ltd and, in Northern Ireland only, Eco Energy (Northern Ireland electricity) are good green electricity companies and ukgreenpower is good for looking at the cost for a range of green electricity companies.
Use compact fluorescent (energy efficient) light bulbs to replace your next ordinary light bulbs. These cost a bit more but will use a fifth of the energy and last eight times longer so in reality they will end up costing you less.
There are nowadays fluorescent light bulbs which do not give greenish light and the difference in the quality of light is hardly noticeable. www.yourwelcome.co.uk
Remember to turn lights off when leaving a room.
It's a myth that florescent tubes use more energy to switch them on than they use when they are on. Switch them off when not required.
To save more on lighting, install dimmer switches and use timers, indoors and out.
Insulating your home against heat loss can help make considerable energy savings. Stop heat escaping by draught proofing doors and windows with weather stripping and caulking. Insulating cavity walls can save 30% of heating bills.
Further, you may be eligible for a grant. Check out the Energy Projects Plus website. They will provide you with a free home energy action pack.
Conserve fuel by turning down the heat at night and while you are away from your home — or install a programmable thermostat.
Set your thermostat at between 19 and 21° C. Every 1° C above this adds 10% on to your fuel bills.
As soon as dusk comes draw the curtains - your windows (even if they’re double-glazed) are an energy leak point. This can save you around £15 per year!
Set your central heating to cut out 30mins to 1 hour before you go to bed - your house has ‘cooling down time’. Experiment with the time.
Consider changing to a solar water heating system; a cost-saving set-up becoming more and more popular in the UK. It pays back within two to three years, and then starts to save you money. www.est.org has details of grants for solar hot water systems.
Make sure your electric hot water heater is insulated. A hot water tank jacket costs only a few pounds and can pay for itself in energy savings within a few months.
Get ground source heating: Although we may not know it, heat pumps are very familiar to us - fridges and air conditioners are two examples. Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) transfer heat from the ground into a building to provide space heating and, in some cases, to pre-heat domestic hot water.
Switch off appliances when they are not in use, and don't leave the television or stereo on standby.
A chilling fact: if all UK households left their TVs on standby over one night, enough carbon dioxide would be produced to fill 38 Millennium Domes!
If choosing a new appliance, such as a fridge, freezer or washing machine, ask for energy efficient models. For energy saving products and grants available, see www.saveenergy.co.uk.
Only put as much water as you will use each time into the kettle, but remember that with electric kettles the element always needs to be covered. Jug kettles need less water as they have smaller elements.
Don't leave the fridge door open for longer than necessary, and try to avoid putting warm food straight into the fridge - wait until it has cooled down.
Defrost your fridge regularly a build up of frost on the elements will dramatically reduce its efficiency.
If you hoover the coils on the back of the fridge to remove the dust the motor will run for shorter periods and save you money.
Refrigerators eat up the most electricity in the household. Adjust fridge and freezer temps to maximize efficiency by keeping the fridge at 37° F. and the freezer at 0° F.
When cooking electric make sure you match the pan size to the hotplate to avoid wasted energy, with gas make sure the flame only heat the bottom of the pan.
Wait until you have a full load before using the washing machine and the dishwasher, or use the half-load or economy programme if your machine has one, they will wash just as well.
If you use a tumble drier always dry heavier items like towels separately from lighter items as this will reduce the amount of energy needed to dry the whole lot.
Clean and service your appliances, so that they will enjoy even longer lives. And, before you replace them, check to see if they are repairable.
Consider sharing equipment that is used infrequently such as hedge clippers, pruners, fruit pickers, or chain saws.