If you’ve not seen an increase in your energy bills over the past couple of years you must be one of the lucky ones. For the rest of us, the spiralling cost of heating and lighting our homes is certainly a concern, not to mention the environmental damage caused by many of the appliances and devices we use in the house every day.
Here’s a look at some of the things you can do to make your home greener and reduce your bills – as well as doing your bit for the planet.
1. Change to water saving shower devices
There are a number of shower heads on the market designed to reduce the amount of water they use. Alternatively you could try a device knows as a “Water Widget.” This handy piece of kit injects air into the shower flow, lowering the amount of water used, without affecting pressure or performance.
2. Install Solar panels
Solar panels are a great way to use sustainable, natural resources to create energy. They can be used to collect sunlight and convert it into electricity. Solar panels can save the average home around £200 a year on energy bills and although installing the panels can involve quite a bit of work, government subsidies exist to help with the initial cost, meaning that in the long-term you are bound to save yourself a small fortune.
3. Change to LED bulbs in your home
Changing over from traditional light bulbs to LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) can save you hundreds of pounds over the longer period. Falling LED costs, combined with rising electricity bills means making the change is starting to look more cost effective than ever. A recent article in The Guardian estimated that using 40 energy saving light bulbs in your home for an average of 2.7 hours a day would cost you £23 annually, compared to £287 using halogen bulbs.
4. Use a programmable thermostat
Through proper use of a programmable thermostat, you can save around £100 a year on your heating bills. The beauty of a device such as this is that you can choose exactly when you want to heat your home, meaning energy (and money) isn’t wasted warming an empty house. A room thermostat works by sensing the air temperature, switching on the heating when the air temperature falls below the desired setting and switching it off again once this set temperature has been reached.
5. Compost your food waste
We can pretty much recycle everything we use in the home these days, so why stop when it comes to food waste? Composting unused food scraps will mean your weekly rubbish will be reduced significantly and you are left with nutrient-rich compost for your garden, which will improve your soil structure – saving you money at the garden centre too.
6. Install a water saving device in your toilet cistern
Flushing the toilet accounts for 30% of an average household’s water use. A simple devise to minimize the amount of water it takes to fill your cistern could seriously reduce your water usage and annual bill. You can save up to three litres of water per flush, without affecting your toilet’s performance thanks to a number of products on the market. Some water companies even offer similar devices free of charge to their customers.
7. Insulate your home properly
Good insulation will not only ensure your home remains warm, it can also save you a huge amount of money. Your loft can be fully insulated in just a few hours and this isn’t just a one off saving, the reduction in heating bills is evident for years to come. Some energy companies offer free loft insulation for their customers – saving around £180 per year.
8. Use a water butt in the garden
If we’re not subject to hosepipe bans during a British summer, we’re normally dodging the rain showers instead. Install a water butt in your garden and it’s a win, win situation. Rain water gathers in the butt throughout the year and can be used to water your plants and vegetables, a much more cost effective option than the hose.
9. Change your old appliances
Not the cheapest option in terms of initial outlay, but converting to newer and greener fridges, freezers and washing machines is a more cost-effective and greener option in the long run. Appliance use comprises about 18% of a typical home’s total energy bill, with the fridge being one of the biggest contributors. Appliances over 10 years of age should be replaced with newer models, some of which use 10-50% less energy than their predecessors.
10. Use timing devices for your lights
If you don’t like going to sleep in the dark or coming home to a poorly lit house, consider using a timing switch for your household lights. Rather than leaving lights on all day, just so you don’t come home to a dark house, a timer will ensure you a warm welcome when you get back from work and reduce your electricity consumption at the same time. Timers are also a good option when you are on holiday and your property is vacant.