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Ways to reduce energy consumption

Updated: Apr 4

Finding ways to reduce energy consumption is vitally important at the moment, and there are lots of easy ways to slash your next energy bill

Thanks to a mild winter, Government intervention and falling commodities prices, we seem to have averted the energy crisis that was being widely predicted last autumn. By the time the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee expires in July, average household energy bills will hopefully have fallen below the $2,500 cap beyond which state intervention is being provided.

Even so, paying over £200 per month on gas and electricity is still a huge sum for households already being squeezed by soaring grocery bills, rising mortgage rates and 14 per cent increases in broadband and landline contracts. Finding ways to reduce energy consumption is crucial in terms of reducing your bills, and there are plenty of simple steps around the home which could help…

If in doubt, turn it off

Devices left on standby still consume a surprising amount of electricity, as they perform firmware updates and wait to burst into life. Rather than leaving TVs and games consoles in hibernation, switch them off at the wall. Do the same with smartphone chargers, which are still consuming around 0.25 watts of power without a device attached to them; the figure for laptop chargers can be almost 20 times higher. Timers can also ensure appliances don’t stay on when they’re not needed.

Invest in energy-efficient lighting

Type ‘low energy’ into Google, and the first result you see is likely to involve light bulbs. The traditional incandescent bulbs found in ceiling pendants should be replaced with Compact Fluorescent Lamps, though you could also switch to LEDs wherever possible. An LED lamp consumes far less electricity than a traditional lightbulb, saving up to £10 per bulb per year, while producing more natural-looking illumination. As a bonus, CFLs and LEDs last far longer than traditional bulbs.

Close the windows

Leaving a window open means heat from that room’s radiator (usually located directly below it) rises up and floats away. If you need fresh air in one room, close the door before opening the window, though trickle vents may be left open without significant heat loss. Open blinds and curtains fully on sunny days (even in winter) as solar gain will reduce your need to heat those apartments. Then close them at night to trap heat in the room, especially if your windows are old or single-glazed.

Improve insulation

We’re not talking about cavity wall insulation, which isn’t always worth investing in. Instead, seek ways to improve insulation cheaply. If you have an integral garage, cover the inside of the metal door with rubber seal strips and aluminium-faced insulation panels to stop heat escaping. Pack your attic with thermal insulation wool, replace blown or leaky window seals, and place draught excluders beside ill-fitting exterior doors if you can’t replace them (for instance, in a rental property).

Don’t heat it if you’re not in it

It’s common practice to heat every room in our homes even when we’re (a) out or (b) in one room. Turn down radiator thermostats to reduce heating costs in unoccupied or rarely-used rooms – you can always turn them back up. Lower the heating if you’ll be out for the day, and use an app (if you have one) to increase the temperature an hour before returning home. Set a permanent central heating schedule that warms the house only at key times, such as first thing in the morning.

Make appliances work harder

When boiling a kettle to make a cup of tea, add extra water and fill a hot water bottle as well. It’s often worth investing in technology to reduce running costs – air fryers are far more energy efficient than integrated gas or electric ovens. If you’re putting the oven on, ensure you maximise the value it delivers. Cook something else you to reheat later in the microwave or something you can set aside to eat cold tomorrow, and leave the oven door open afterwards to share

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