MAKE SURE YOUR HOME IS ENERGY EFFICIENT
Small changes to your behaviour at home will help you use less energy, cutting your carbon footprint and your energy bills.
Heating (and air conditionning)
> Put on an extra layer and turn down the heating a degree or two!
> Heat only the areas of your home that need heating, using room thermostats, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves. And only heat when you are in the house. When you leave for a few hours, turn down the heating; when you leave for a few days, use the eco mode (12 degrees).
> Insulate your home properly. Beyond walls and roofs, that require proper work, there is a lot you can do yourself or with small budget, in terms of draught-proofing:
Windows: buy draught-proofing strips (self-adhesive foam or metal strips with brushes) to stick around the window frame and fill the gap between the window and the frame.
External doors: keyholes (buy a purpose-made cover that drops a metal disc over the keyhole); letterbox (use a letterbox flap or brush); use a brush or hinged flap draught excluder for the gap at the bottom, and fit foam, brush or wiper strips to fill in the gaps around the edges (like for the windows).
Draught-proof internal doors as well if they lead to a room you don’t normally heat, such as your spare room or kitchen. If there is a gap at the bottom of the door, block it with a draught excluder – you can make one stuffed with used plastic bags or bits of spare material.
Chimney: if you don’t use your fireplace, fit a cap over the chimney pot – this might be better done by a professional; buy a chimney draught excluder; or fill in the gap yourself.
Close curtains and shutters at the end of the day, to keep the warmth of the house longer.
If you are in rented accommodation, lobby your landlord to make sure the property is energy efficient.
Don’t heat more water than needed as heating water requires energy.
> Reduce the hot water temperature. 55℃ to 60℃ is enough to limit bacterias. > Use cold water rather than hot whenever possible. > Insulate your hot water tank and pipes, especially if they are in non-heated rooms.
> Reduce usage of appliances that heat water (such as the washing machine or dishwasher) they usually account for 25% of an average household’s electrical use, and 15% of total energy bills. Reduce the number of loads. Avoid washing half loads. Wash clothes at a lower temperature (30 or even 20 degrees). Use the Eco setting of the dishwasher and only set it off when it’s full.
Switch to green energy
Switching energy supply to a green tariff is a great way to invest in renewable energy sources – and could save you money on bills too.
Use your appliances wisely
Turn off lights and appliances when you don’t need them. Laptops, TVs, game consoles account for 19% of an average household’s electrical use or 9% of the energy bill. Remember to turn them off standby when not in use. Even turn off the Wi-Fi router at night. And the smaller the screen, the smaller the energy consumption (resist the temptation of buying a larger TV set! A 65inch TV screen uses as much electricity as 3 to 4 32inch screens).
Cold appliances - fridge and freezers (16% of electrical use, 9% of energy bills). Make sure doors are well sealed and don’t leave them open. Your fridge needs adequate ventilation so make sure there is plenty of place around it but no direct sunlight or heat source. Aim for 5 degrees Celsius or a bit lower in the fridge (place a thermometer in a glass of water in the centre of the appliance for 24 hours), and -18 degrees in the freezer. Make sure when storing leftovers, you only put food that is fully cooled down.
Don’t use a tumble dryer. Use a line.
Choosing the right appliance for the job in your kitchen can be an important factor in energy performance. Microwaves, for example, are a much more efficient way to cook food than ovens as they heat the food directly rather than the air around it.
Fill the kettle with only what is needed, this will save water and energy.
Buy energy-efficient appliances. Check the energy label when buying new appliances (go for A labels only), and buy the smallest items. Only buy the size you need, as larger items will use more energy and end up costing you more. Small fridges can use less energy than large ones, even if their energy labels are lower. The same rule applies to most other appliances – from washing machines to kettles.
Replace light bulbs with LEDs or other low-energy lights. Lighting takes up around 16% of the total electrical use in the average home, or 6% of the total energy bill