Just got back from my holiday and now it's time to face reality, which means work, work and more work, as well as paying bills which can be extremely difficult when there is little money left in my bank account. To make things more complicated energy bills continue to rise and several major companies including E On, British Gas and Scottish & Southern Energy have all announced price increases, yet my income remains the same. This means that, on average, my bill will increase by around £170 each year, with gas prices rising by 18.1% and electricity by 11.4%. What great news to read on Monday, first day of work after my holidays! I am starting to get seriously worried, for the first time in my life, about all the expenses I have to face every month, not to mention petrol.
For this reason, I have started to think about how much energy I waste every day and how I can avoid having a heart attack when I receive the next energy bill, without having to renounce the commodities that are essential for me. Here are some tips that I have tried to figure out, thanks to my “friend” the Internet and my experience (that’s right, I am not that young any more!).
Turn appliances off
This is something I try to do for the reason that I simply hate wasting energy and money. In a time where there is an increasing concern regarding environmental issues such as global warming as the effect of the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere, I believe every household, as well as factory and other energy consumers, should contribute in diminishing our negative impact on the earth. Turning off appliances can be done by simply switching them off at the plug: very often electric devices such as mobile phone chargers use electricity even when not in use. By keeping an eye on these details, you could save up to £40 each year. With this money I would rather buy myself an extra pair of shoes.
More efficient heating
If you have an old boiler, you are probably wasting a great amount of energy and money. Getting a new boiler, any of those A-rated energy efficient ones, can be seen as expensive and unnecessary, but believe it or not you will be able to save up to a quarter on your heating bill. Thermostat usage can also help you consume gas more effectively, reducing the waste of gas throughout winter. Moreover, with an energy efficient boiler, you can drastically improve your impact on the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. I would suggest you to contact your energy provider or your council in order to check any possible grant you might be eligible to receive by turning your house green.
There are little tricks that, if followed on a day-to-day basis, can have a tangible impact on your outstanding bills. For instance, using your washing machine at 30 degrees can help you save money as can using only when you have a full load. Replacing your old fashioned and energy consuming light bulbs with some new ones can also help you save between £20 and £30 every year, which is way more than the actual price to replace them. Also only fill the kettle with the required amount of water, keep the fridge shut and turn the lights off when you leave a room. These tips required minimal effort and money and I believe this is a very easy way to save some money.
Insulate your home
This may sound too expensive to be done, but if you own a property and have a long-term vision, it represents a great investment. In fact, according to http://www.direct.gov.uk/ , over half of the heat produced by UK households gets lost through walls, windows and roofs. By using double-glazed windows, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation you can save a minimum of £100 and up to £300 every year. The investment is obviously more expensive than replacing your old light bulbs, but the savings to be made can be quite impressive.
Energy Efficient Appliances
An increasing number of firms are specialising in appliances that can make your home highly energy-efficient. Nowadays, in line with European Union regulations, you can find EU energy labels attached to home appliances which can help you choose the most energy-efficient ones (labelled with an A) rather than the least efficient ones (G). Moreover, it is nowadays possible to monitor your household energy consumption 24/7 with new technologies. Energy monitors are small devices that, when connected to your home electricity meter, can tell you how much power you are using, how effective your use of energy is and give you also a prediction of the costs for the current month, making your life easier.
Having said so, I believe it’s now up to you to follow these steps and try to make a real difference for the environment as well as for your own pockets.