Whether you’re bracing yourself this winter with money saving tips for keeping warm or have gaping holes to plug when it comes to energy efficiency, now’s the time to focus on the big picture. Householders need a combination of tactics to lower energy costs long term, ranging from insulating their bricks and mortar to investigating in better value alternative energy sources. A commitment to adopting simple energy saving habits around the home can also go a long way towards saving you significant amounts of money each year. Here are five sure-fire ways to lower energy costs, thanks to Britain’s Energy Saving Trust, or EST .
Programmable thermostats automatically adjust your heating, turning it down when you’re at work or in bed, turning it up right before you get home. The Google-owned Nest , pictured right, is particularly clever when it comes to helping people shrink their power bills for good.
2) Stop heat escaping.
Is inadequate insulation undermining your energy saving efforts? Homes built with solid brick walls or aluminum siding, or just older construction, are usually less snug than those built with more modern, insulating construction, says EST. Applying a high performance, thermally insulated cladding could help you feel warmer and reduce your heating bill significantly. Similarly, loft insulation stops warmth escaping through your roof, where around 20 per cent of heat can be lost through drafty attics and crawl spaces. It takes around two hours for experts to wrap joists, boards and fill loft spaces with thick mineral wool materials, offering savings on your annual energy bills. In addition to addition to adding insulation, weatherize by sealing the leaks around doors and windows, and cover windows with curtains or shades that will seal in the heat during cold winter months.
3) Switch companies.
Should you switch to a utility company that better meets your household energy needs? Compare utility providers in your area to see what kind of power they offer and how much it costs. In the U.S., consumers already purchase gas and electricity from different providers. this is now becoming an option in the UK as well. Take advantage of competition in the marketplace to find a provider that delivers good service and the cleanest energy possible at the best price. Scott Byrom, energy expert at Make It Cheaper, told the Guardian: “Most people like the convenience of having both gas and electricity on the one bill, but there’s a growing number who take a contrary view. Not only are they saving even more money by going for single-fuel deals but they’re managing their consumption better by having a clearer picture of exactly how much they’re spending on each.”
Have you considered switching to an alternative energy source like solar panels or cleaner fuel, like a biomass heating system. You can amortize the cost of installing a new system over time, and ultimately save hundreds per year. Biomass boilers use wood pellets, wood chip, logs and other organic fuels and come in all sizes. Water and central heating systems can be powered efficiently by biomass.
5) Don’t forget lights, electronics, and appliances.
Replacing old light bulbs? Try highly efficient LEDs. Wash clothes in cold water, and spin dry to reduce the heating required in the dryer. Turn off electronics when you’re not using them; even leaving them on standby or in sleep mode uses energy unnecessarily. Gadgets such as television sets, microwave ovens, speaker systems and the personal computer can be unplugged overnight. When buying new appliances and electronics, choose the most energy-efficient models available to meet your needs and remember, even if you pay a little more upfront, you’ll save all that and more in reduced energy bills.
All of the small energy saving changes you make around your home can add up to significant annual savings on your utility bills. Plus, using less energy reduces climate change and the air pollution that are associated with burning fossil fuels. It’s a win/win/win – for you, your pocketbook, and the planet.
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