Published: 08/12/2023We can all agree that over the past year, utility bills have crept up on us. It has hit businesses and individuals alike with a huge bang and hasn’t been pleasant for any of us. But there are things we can do to improve our situation, things that every single one of us, whether we run a business, own a home or rent a property, can change to lighten the burden just a little bit… occasionally a lot if we are savvy enough. In this blog, we are dishing out some real energy-saving hacks that won't make your eyes glaze over with technical jargon. You know how much we hate that. We won’t give unrealistic solutions either - just practical tips for keeping your energy usage in check without sacrificing comfort because everyone deserves to feel comfortable this winter.
1. Light Bulbs - Let's start with the basics: lighting. While the warm glow of your favourite lamp might be your go-to ambience, it's time to consider swapping out those old-fashioned bulbs for LED or CFL alternatives. Not only do they last longer, but they also consume way less energy. Who doesn't want to save a few pounds on their next electricity bill? It’s a win-win.
2. Thermostat - Do you ever find yourself fumbling with the thermostat, not sure what the most effective setting is? We've all been there. But here's the lowdown: embracing a moderate temperature is key. In the winter, cosy up in a sweater and drop the thermostat a few degrees. Trust us when we say your wallet will thank you. It’s common sense, but whacking that dial up to 30 degrees will not end well. Bonus tip: invest in a smart thermostat, which will learn your habits and optimise your energy use over time.
3. Electronics - Even when your electronics and appliances are in ‘standby’ mode, they are still sipping on electricity. Unplug chargers, gaming consoles, and other gadgets when they're not in use. Better yet, invest in power strips to cut the power supply to multiple devices simultaneously. It works wonders for wasted electricity.
4. Draught Proofing - Drafts are the bane of most homeowners’ lives. Why? Because they sneak into your home unnoticed and silently inflate your energy bills. Seal the gaps around windows and doors with weatherstripping to keep your precious warmth inside during winter (and cool air during summer). It's a simple and cost-effective way to make your home more energy-efficient. However, and this is where things get complicated, it is still important for your property to be sufficiently ventilated, especially when cooking or drying clothes. Once a day, open the windows – just a teeny bit – to let all that moisture out. Finding that perfect balance is hard, but you will reap the benefits.
5. Energy Ratings - Did you know that your appliances have energy ratings? Most people have no idea! When it's time to replace that dinosaur of a refrigerator or washing machine, opt for Energy Star-rated models. They consume less energy while still getting the job done, which sounds like a no-brainer…and it is!
6. Laundry - We all love clean clothes, but your laundry habits could drain your wallet. Wash your clothes in cold water - it's just as effective as hot water and saves a ton of energy. And when it comes to drying, embrace the spin cycle in your washing machine and let your clothes air dry whenever possible. It is hard not to love a tumble dryer, but sadly, our bank balances do not. Please remember that drying clothes indoors can come with concerns regarding excessive moisture in the air and the dreaded condensation. Plenty of resources online can help you manage this, but if you are renting, please seek advice from your landlord or letting agent.
7. Insulation - Insulation is like the cosy blanket your home wears to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. Check your attic, walls, and floors for gaps and beef them up with the appropriate insulation material. It's a DIY project that pays off in the long run. If your budget allows, investing in high-quality insulation materials and professional installation can make a world of difference. From spray foam to radiant barriers, these materials are a fantastic long-term investment for your home.
8. Ventilation - Proper ventilation isn't just for preventing kitchen odours from hanging around. It's also about maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature without overusing your heating system. Use extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom to expel hot air and humidity from your home; it's a minor adjustment that can have a significant impact on your energy bill.
9. Thermal Curtains – Fancy curtains aren't just excessive window dressings; they are great energy-savers. In winter, they keep the cold out and the warmth in; in summer, they do the opposite. Just a simple purchase like this can make a huge difference. If you like shopping, this is the perfect excuse; you might even fancy some matching scatter cushions and bedding…but it comes completely guilt-free if you are doing something positive for the environment!
10. Solar Panels - While it's not an option for everyone, if you have the means, consider going solar. Solar panels have come a long way, and the initial investment can pay off in the long run through reduced or even eliminated electricity bills. Plus, it's an eco-friendly move, which is a massive incentive for us. Did we mention that solar panels can make a property more attractive for potential buyers, and over time, they can also add value.
In conclusion, energy savings at home don't have to involve large changes or expensive payouts (unless you have the budget to allow you to do so). By making a few simple adjustments to your habits and investing in some energy-smart upgrades, you can keep your home warm and comfortable without breaking the bank. In the grand scheme of things, energy savings at home isn't a one-size-fits-all scenario. It's about finding what works for you, your lifestyle, and your budget. So, whether you're a homeowner or a tenant, taking a few steps towards energy efficiency can noticeably impact your bills and the environment. If you are one of our tenants or landlords and need some tips, just let us know.