How to use your home energy

Over one third of the total carbon emissions in the UK is from the energy we use at home. The easiest way to reduce this is to regularly  track how much energy you are using. Look at your data and spend time working out how you can reduce your energy usage.

You can also install an Owl meter, or similar. This clips onto your incoming electricity supply and allows you to see in real time how much electricity you are using and how much this is costing.

The Energy Saving Trust is a useful free resource which will help you find out how you can save energy at home, and your Local Authority may also have an advice line or information online. The Energy Saving Trust has a downloadable home energy check which you can complete. Here is our top ten list of suggestions:

  • Replace your lights with LEDs. Don’t be put off by them – they have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years and it’s possible to get them for all kinds of light fittings in a soft warm glow. Up to 50% of our electricity use at home can be on lighting so it’s well worth looking into, and the pay back periods are pretty quick.
  • Top up your loft insulation to half a meter and install cavity wall insulation if you haven’t already. 25% of heat escapes through the roof and most people don’t have enough up there, even in new build homes.
  • Set your thermostat to 19 degrees centigrade and get to know your heating controls. Every 1 degree increase results in a 10% increase in gas usage and 19 degrees is a good comfortable temperature for most people. Set your heating to go off a few hours before you go to bed as your house will most likely stay warm enough.
  • To ease yourself off gas consider fitting a wood burner. Remember to check you if can get a local supply of sustainable logs. We get ours from our local tree surgeon.
  • Track the savings you make by taking regular monthly meter readings. The money you save can go towards renewables, such as photovoltaic panels or solar thermal eventually taking you to a near zero-carbon home, or other high spend items such as a new energy efficient boiler or insulating windows.
  • Sew a thermal lining into your curtains and close them when it’s dark, to keep the heat in.
  • Replace your white goods as they break with the most energy efficient appliances you can get, usually A+++ now.
  • Turn everything off and use everything less. Set your washing machine at 30 degrees centigrade.
  • Fit Power Down sockets for those hard to reach places. If it is difficult to reach the plug socket for some of your electrical equipment, such as your TV or computer, plug them into a power down socket. This means you can turn them off by remote control.
  • Plug in an Energy Wizard. These have had mixed reviews but we really rate them, and give you up to a 10% saving in electricity by regulating the amount of power moving around the circuit so that your electrical devices only use the amount of energy that they need.