The price of energy is constantly rising, increasing our bills and causing hardship to some. There’s potential however with careful thought and planning to make lifestyle changes and so reduce these costs.
A lot of wastage comes with using too much water unnecessarily. Filling a bath for example requires a huge amount of hot water whereas taking a shower for a few minutes doesn’t. If you have a dishwasher or washing machine make sure it’s filled to full capacity because paradoxically it uses less energy than only filling it halfway. If you don’t have a dishwasher you should use the sink to wash up rather than simply running a tap as less water is needed.
It also pays to make sure the taps don’t drip – this can waste more water than you realize. Similarly, don’t leave the tap running when you shave or brush your teeth and only use cold water if you can. Water can even be recycled – if you have some left in a drinking glass for instance you can water indoor plants with it, or install an outdoor water butt to gather rainwater for the garden or for washing the car.
Other ways of saving energy come with effective home insulation. Significant savings can be made by insulating cavity walls, lofts and tanks, or placing draft proofing round doors and windows.
Curtains should be kept closed to stop heat escaping and preferably lined to provide optimum warmth. The most effective way however of preventing notable heat loss is to have your windows replaced with double glazing – this will ensure a much warmer environment and a marked reduction in energy bills. If you have a period or listed property secondary glazing is available where the panes are fitted inside an existing window and will still save you money by making the windows more airtight.
There are yet other ways of reducing your energy bills. Solar panels for example will provide you with free power from the sun and once installed you’ll benefit from far lower energy bills. Other tips are to turn off lights when leaving a room and to use energy saving light bulbs.
Also, turn down your heating thermostat by 1 degree and you can cut your heating bill by as much as 10 %. Reduce the temperature of your washing machine load and save on that too. Remember to turn off appliances when not in use and remove from charge when the battery is full, eg mobile phones, laptops – these are small changes that are surprisingly cost effective over time and will take comparatively little effort on your part.
Keith Barrett writes about environmental issues. Working with How To Power Solar, he has noted that alternative forms of energy can help to reduce the costs associated with running a household.