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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Top tips on saving energy

Energy used in homes is responsible for over a quarter of all UK emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas causing climate change. Making your home as energy efficient as possible will reduce carbon emissions and could also save you on average £250 a year on your fuel bills.

The wider issue

Most of the energy we use in our homes is produced using processes that release CO2 emissions into the air.

CO2 emissions are the most significant cause of climate change. That means saving energy at home is one of the most important things you can do to fight climate change.

Financial support to make your home energy efficient

You may be able to get financial help to make energy saving improvements – like installing insulation or getting a new boiler – to your home. Help is available to home owners, tenants and landlords. For more information, see 'Insulation and heating'.

Insulate your home

Over half of the heat in an uninsulated home is lost through the walls and roof. Most UK homes don't have the recommended amount of insulation, so think about insulating both your loft and your cavity walls. 

Turn appliances off standby

The average household wastes around £40 a year simply by leaving appliances on standby. Remember:

  • you can't switch most electronic goods off just with the remote control
  • to turn off an appliance completely, use the power switch on the appliance itself or turn it off at the plug
  • if a charger or power pack is warm or has a light on, it's probably using power

Buy energy efficient appliances

A 20 watt bulb can save around £70 over its lifetime compared to a standard 100 watt bulb

Energy efficient appliances are easy to find and aren’t necessarily more expensive. Look out for appliances that carry the labels below to save money and energy:

Energy Saving Trust Recommended label
Appliances showing the Energy Saving Trust Recommended label are among the top 20 per cent most efficient available.

European Union energy label
EU energy labels on fridges, freezers and washing machines show how energy efficient an appliance is. They are rated on a scale that ranges from dark green to red. The ratings go from  the most energy-efficient (A) to the least efficient (G). You may also see higher ratings A+, A++ and A+++ on the most efficient products.

Make your heating more efficient

If every household in the country installed a high-efficiency boiler, the energy saved would be enough to provide heating and power for almost two million homes:

  • you can reduce the energy your existing boiler consumes with an efficient thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves
  • replacing an old, inefficient boiler with an efficient, A-rated one with a full set of heating controls could save you up to £225 per year

Simple energy saving tips

Turning down your thermostat if it's set too high will save around £50 a year

There are many simple ways to save energy in the home.

In the kitchen

  • boil a kettle with only as much water as you need
  • cover pots and pans when cooking – they will boil a lot quicker
  • match the size of the cooking ring to the size of the saucepan to avoid heating air
  • cook several different foods on one ring with a steamer
  • there's emerging research that using a microwave rather than a conventional oven to heat up a small amount of food may save you energy 
  • avoid putting hot food in the fridge or freezer
  • try not to leave your fridge door open, as it takes energy to cool down again

Washing clothes

  • washing clothes at 30 degrees can be just as effective for a normally soiled load
  • run your washing machine or dishwasher with full loads
  • avoid tumble drying – dry clothes outdoors or on indoor dryers when possible to save money and energy

Heating and hot water

  • turning down your thermostat if it's set too high will save around £50 a year on your heating bills
  • set your immersion heater or hot water tank to 60 degrees Celsius

Lighting

  • try to remember to switch the lights off every time you leave a room
  • replacing all the remaining traditional light bulbs in your home with energy saving ones could save you around £25 a year

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