I don’t know about you, but the biggest go greener, energy saving challenge in our home comes down to heating. I’m always the one sneaking up that dial a teensy-weensy bit, “just to take the edge off” as I put it. I know I shouldn’t – for the sake of the environment, fresher air and our bills – but that’s after I’ve put another jumper on (plus another, and leggings, thermal socks, slippers and I’m walking around wearing the sofa throw like some sort of poncho). My husband, meanwhile, is breaking a sweat in a t-shirt and tempted to put his shorts on.
Like most families, other habits we’re working on include persuading small people to switch off lights, computers and stuff when they’re not in use, not keeping the TV/DVD/radio on standby and not using the tumble drier more than is possibly necessary (guilty).
What better time to get our act together, then, and rethink our habits than Big Energy Week, which kicks off today, running from 16-21 January?
During this week, Southern Electric is working with Citizens Advice and a range of charities, consumer groups, switching sites, Ofgem and the Government to offer practical advice on saving energy (and, hence, money) in the home, with everyday tips, advice and more.
From today, you can hop over and take an Energy Efficiency Survey to get your energy efficiency rating and then pick up some practical, energy saving tips.
As part of Southern Electric’s involvement in Big Energy Week, it is offering customers an iPlan tariff designed to help them save energy and keep and eye on their budget.
This includes a free Smart Meter (pictured above), with an energy display screen which you can link to your online account to help you track how much energy you’re using (and your savings!). Helpfully, for example, it shows you how much energy you spent last week, what your target is and where you’re at so far during this one. As you can see, it looks like a funky kitchen timer.
For the purposes of research, I took the plunge and took an Energy Efficiency Survey online. Although the odd question threw me (depth of loft insultation? Type of brick used to build our house? Um, I’m sure I should know that …), it was a quick, easy and helpful way to get an overview of how effectively we’re conserving energy and getting some practical pointers on how to improve things and save money over the course of the year. For example, we could step things up by draft proofing all single-glazed openings and improving our wall insulation (although, to be fair, I’m not sure I answered that question right).
There were helpful tips, too, such as ensuring the room thermostat is set at the right temperature (between 18 and 21 degrees – I haven’t rushed to share this information with my husband) and regularly checking to make sure it hasn’t been changed (he does that already because, oddly enough, this happens quite a bit. Ahem).
Energy Saving Tips for Big Energy Week!
• Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need each time (but always cover the element of an electric kettle). A habit change this tea-obsessed mama has really tried to work on!
• Cut food into smaller pieces when cooking and try to avoid opening the oven door during cooking (tempting, I know, but I remember reading Delia cautioning against ruining cakes by checking on them too soon).
• Try and wash full loads of laundry as much as possible, and at 30 degrees (by doing the latter, you ‘ll be using approximately 40 % less electricity, which is quite something).
• Tumble drying on a lower heat will reduce ironing time and effort (I like that one!).
• Defrost your fridge or freezer regularly (any excuse to finish up the ice cream).
• Fit low energy, lower wattage light bulbs whenever possible (and keeping them clean will increase their efficiency, too).
• Avoid running a half-empty dishwasher.
• Turning down your hearing by just one 1 degree celsius will save you up to 10 % on your energy bill (I have no more excuses!).
Hopefully, these ideas will get you thinking about how you can be a bit greener, save energy and money during Big Energy Week!
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