Getting started on energy saving
With its impact on the environment and our bank balances, the amount of energy we use, or potentially waste - is becoming increasingly important. By making just a few simple changes to our home and lifestyle, we can be more economical and efficient with our energy usage - saving money and helping us do our bit for the environment. But what does energy efficiency really mean? And why is it so important?
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But if you change from using an old style lightbulb, known as an incandescent lightbulb, to a more efficient fluorescent bulb - you’ll be producing the same amount of light, but will be using less energy in the process. That’s energy efficiency in a nutshell.
There’s now a huge variety of products, services and designs that can help improve energy efficiency. Running older appliances, like washing machines, tumble dryers or fridge-freezers can account for a huge percentage of your energy bill, so it makes sense to ensure these are as economical as possible.
However, it’s the little adjustments that are often the easiest for reducing your energy usage. These small changes may not seem like much, but every little does really help when it comes to saving energy.
If you’re looking to make changes around your home, why not check out our guide to saving money on your energy bills for more ideas on what you can do.
There are three main reasons to be more energy efficient:
The environmentIf you’re making better use of the energy you’re using, then less energy will need to be created. As a result, the power plants that make this energy will burn fewer natural fossil fuels, these limited natural resources will last longer and we’re less likely to impact the earth by sourcing them through mining, logging or extractions.
Also, by reducing energy usage, the power plants will create fewer emissions of greenhouse gasses such as sulphur dioxide or carbon dioxide - which absorb the sun’s heat and trap it in our atmosphere. So, less energy and less fuel means less damage to the natural world.
Your bank balanceThis is a no-brainer, the less energy you use to light and heat your home, the lower the cost of your energy bills. Any steps you make will have an impact, although choosing energy efficient products and appliances is a great way to cut down your usage without having to make drastic changes that affect your daily routines.
The global economyDwindling natural resources can have an impact on the global economy. As oil, coal and natural gasses are depleting, they’re becoming more expensive, meaning more strain on the societies that rely on them. Becoming more efficient means we waste fewer of these precious resources. Plus, as we become more efficient in our energy use at home, we’re also more likely to be efficient across other kinds of industries, for example, businesses, agencies and schools. This means these areas can spend less on energy and more on goods, services, education and products.
InsulationAround a quarter of the heat generated in your home could be lost through the roof or walls if you fail to insulate effectively. Making sure these areas are properly padded with decent insulation is a simple and cost-effective way to protect your home from the cold - saving energy and money on heating bills. You could even be eligible for free insulation through the Energy Companies Obligation – we can help you find out more.
Upgrade lightbulbsCompact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs) can cost a bit more than the old style lightbulbs, but they burn up to 75% less energy and can last up to 12 times longer. In fact, the average lifetime of an old style bulb is less than a year, while a CFL is likely to last more like 8 to 10 years - now how’s that for a saving?
Look for energy efficient appliancesIf you’re looking to buy new home appliances, check the energy ratings – these should be clearly labelled. There's some great on the different ratings used for each type of appliance, and the best types to look out for to make sure it’s as energy efficient as possible, whether you’re after a microwave, television or fridge-freezer.
Like all energy companies, we measure how much energy you've used in kilowatt hours (kWh). When you use 1000 watts of energy for 1 hour, that a kilowatt-hour. To make life easier, we've worked out the kWh measurements for some everyday examples so you can see how much energy you're using:
- 9 uses of a kettle
- 4 hours watching TV
- 24 hours gaming
- 286 hours phone charging
- 27 minutes ironing
- 31 hours on a laptop
- 1-2 cycles in a washing machine
- 80 minutes using a microwave
… so, choose your appliances carefully.
Some appliances use more energy in an hour than others. The more energy they use, the more they cost to run.
Tests by Which? – the consumer group – in October 2013 showed that the fridge freezer using the fewest kWh costs just £14 per year to run. But other freezers could cost up to £102 per year to run. Even models with the same energy-efficiency rating can have very different annual running costs. Their tests found two A++ rated washing machines with difference over 30% - that’s £130 – over a five year period. For further information on how energy efficient appliances can help you save money in the long-run. (Source: Which?, October 2013).
Energy efficiency vs energy conservationWhilst energy efficiency and energy conservation both have a very similar goal, they are two different ways of approaching the saving of electricity and gas. Read on to find out more about the differences between them and their benefits.
How can we help?
Energy Efficiency Helpline
We have a dedicated Energy Efficiency Helpline who are here to help you understand how to make your home more energy efficient, potentially reducing your energy use and carbon footprint.
Our Energy Efficiency Helpline: