Big Energy Saving Week: Save
The best way to pay less for your fuel is simply to save energy around your home.
This doesn’t mean going without - you can waste less by being energy efficient. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that the average home in the UK could save up to £130 per year by taking a few simple energy saving steps.
There are some easy steps you can take to save money and energy by changing the way you use appliances or making your home more energy efficient.
Insulate your home
Did you know that approximately 33% of heat is lost through the walls of your home, and 26% through the roof?
Insulation acts like a duvet for your home, and slows down the rate at which your home loses heat, meaning you don’t need to spend as much to keep warm.
An energy efficiency retrofit of the house – including insulating cavity walls, topping up loft insulation, installing double glazing and upgrading a boiler – could save a household up to £320 on their annual energy bills according to the Energy Saving Trust.
If you claim certain means-tested benefits you may be eligible for help with the costs of making your home energy efficient. You can find more information on the government’s simple energy advice website.
Make small changes around the home
There are also lots of small things you can do to waste less energy or lower costs around the home, such as turning off lights and switching appliances off at the wall.
- If you have a timer on your central heating system, set the heating and hot water to come on only when required: 30 minutes before you get up in the morning and set it to switch off 30 minutes before you are due to leave.
- If you have a hot water tank, set the cylinder thermostat to either 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Cylinder thermostats are usually fitted between a quarter and a third of the way up the hot water cylinder.
- Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors.
- Always turn off the light when you leave a room.
- Don’t leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
- When you are doing the washing try to fill up the machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher. One full load uses less energy than two half loads.
- Try and ensure that you only boil as much water as you need.
- A dripping hot water tap can waste enough energy in a single week to fill half a bath. Fix leaking taps and make sure they are fully turned off.
- If you turn down your main thermostat by 1 degree, you can around 10% on your energy bill. But make sure your home is warm enough during cold weather. Cold homes can damage your health.
- Do a home energy check to find out about savings of up to £130 a year on household energy bills. Visit Simple Energy Advice website and get personalised energy savings advice.
Get help to make your home energy efficient
There are a number of schemes from the government, energy suppliers, local councils and others that may be able to help.
Energy Companies Obligation (ECO)
This scheme gives grants for loft and cavity wall insulation and efficient boilers to people on certain benefits across Britain. Note, help for boilers through this scheme is very limited. People not on certain benefits but on a low income may get help under the ‘ECO local flexibility’ scheme which some local authorities have set up with fuel companies. ECO is delivered by the larger energy companies who each have slightly different rules for the help they give. While ECO is the largest scheme in England, there are sometimes other sources of help at a local level.
Find out more in England and Wales by visiting www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk. Your local Citizens Advice might also be able to help. Some areas also have specialist energy advice centres. Contact your local authority to see if there is one in your area.
Find out more in Scotland by calling Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.
NEST is the Welsh Government’s scheme to help households in Wales to reduce their fuel bills. Nest can give advice on how to save energy and get help to make your home more energy efficient. They also give benefit entitlement checks to make sure you are getting all the income you are entitled to, and advice on money management. You may also be able to get energy improvement measures paid for if you receive a means-tested benefit such as Income Support and live in a property that is privately owned or privately rented and has an energy efficiency rating of E, F or G, which often applies to older and larger homes. You may be able to get help with insulation even if you are not on benefits. For more information you can contact Nest on 0808 808 2244 or go to www.nestwales.org.uk.
Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland (HEEPS ) (Scotland)
HEEPS is the Scottish Government initiative to help households reduce bills and make their homes more energy efficient.
If you are eligible you can get help with things like the cost of loft and cavity wall insulation, boiler repairs, a new boiler, draught proofing and getting room thermostats and heating controls. You can get more details on HEEPS, energy efficiency advice and information on low cost energy tariffs by contacting Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 or visiting their website.
You can also visit Energy Action Scotland at www.eas.org.uk for information on HEEPS.