A monthly exploration into the world of sustainability in the built environment with commentary and input from UCEM’s Principal and academics.
5 practical tips for saving energy costs
Posted on: 15 November, 2022
We are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis which has spread across the globe. Significant increases to the cost of food and energy have outstripped worker’s salaries, and spiralling inflation has plunged countless into poverty. While the tenth day of COP27 focusses on the decarbonising our energy systems, we look at practical ways to save energy that can be actioned without spending too much money.
“The average UK household spends around £65 a year on appliances that are left on standby.”
1. Avoid leaving appliances on standby
The average UK household spends around £65 a year on appliances that are left on standby. This is the energy consumed by an appliance when it is not in use and not switched off at the socket. You may not think about the devices that have low-level usage when not in use, such as broadband, smart speakers and telephones, but these are the ones that are usually turned on for 24 hours a day and the amount of electricity they consume adds up. By remembering to switch off devices more often or buying a standby saver, you could be saving yourself electricity you didn’t even know you were consuming.
2. Draught-proofing windows and doors
Draught-proofing is one of the most affordable and effective ways to save energy costs. It allows you to keep the warm air in your home by blocking out unwanted gaps that let cold air in – ultimately requiring less energy to heat up your home. By draught-proofing your windows and doors, you could save around £60 a year in a semi-detached house. Similarly, you could also save around £90 a year by draught-proofing an open chimney when not in use. A lot of draught-proofing can be done through simple DIY tasks at home, or professional draught-proofing can cost a bit more but last you longer.
3. Use your thermostat effectively
A large portion of your heating bills are absorbed by heating and hot water costs. By doing something as simple as turning down your central heating by just one degree, you could be saving up to £80 a year. You could also invest in a smart thermometer, which will heat your home more efficiently by only warming the room in use. They can be controlled by your phone and adapt to how long it takes to warm to a certain temperature, so it can be set at exactly the right time.
4. Monitor your water usage
Water waste is something we may not realise is happening in our homes, but they add up and result in a large amount of total energy and water use. A dripping tap can waste more than 5,300 litres of water a year, so it’s important to keep an eye on even the smallest amounts of water waste in the home. By spending one minute less in the shower each day, a family of four could save up to £75 a year on energy and water bills. Similarly, turning off a running tap while you brush your teeth or wash your face can save more than 6 litres of water a minute!
5. Invest in energy saving appliances, like an air fryer
While it’s good to buy home appliances based on their energy ratings, it’s also good to research alternative types of appliances you can buy. One big change you can make is switching to an air fryer for day-to-day cooking rather than using a gas or electric cooker. Research by Utilita showed that on average they run at £55.91 a year, as opposed to a gas cooker on £121.06 per year and electric cooker on £335.57 per year. There are plenty of recipes online that cater to making your favourite meals in an air fryer – by making the switch you can save energy costs and discover new recipe ideas!