The cost of electricity for domestic purposes increased by 8.3 percent in real terms between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012 in the United Kingdom. On average, a household paid 37 pounds more for electricity in 2011 than in 2010. Today, a 10 per cent increase in energy prices is expected each year, putting already strained domestic users under further financial stress.
This increase highlights the need to save energy around the house, not just for monetary reasons, but also for the environment. By making a few changes in your house, you can drastically reduce your electricity bill, and lower your carbon footprint.
Nearly half the heat in a house is lost through poorly insulated walls, roofs and windows. It takes only a small investment to add an insulating layer to the corners of walls and the edges of windows, which will make your house far more energy efficient and reduce heating bills drastically.
2. Lower the Thermostat
The thermostat in most houses is often set far higher than required. Instead of pumping up the thermostat to a sweat-inducing temperature during the day, try lowering it and putting on a light sweater. Wearing warm clothing indoors on a cold day can be a lot more comfortable and energy efficient than increasing the thermostat.
3. Use Cooler Water
Heating water accounts for a majority of the energy expenditure in washing machines and dishwashers. The heaters in most houses are set too high – usually around 60C. You don’t need water that hot for most purposes. Lower the setting to 49-50C for a more comfortable temperature that will shave as much as 10 per cent off your energy bill.
When washing clothes, try using cooler water, many washes are perfectly suited to 30C. It can be better for many fabrics and save as much as 60 per cent of the energy spent by washing machines.
4. Cooler Roofs
Consider coating your house with a special heat-reflective material that will significantly reduce the amount of heat absorbed by your house and drastically reduce energy expenditure on cooling during summers. You can also consider planting a terrace garden and painting the roof in lighter, heat-reflecting shades.
5. Mind Your Appliances
The fridge can account for upwards of 5 per cent of a house’s total energy usage. A lot of this is wasted when the fridge door is left open too long, or the thermostat is set to the wrong temperature. Keep the fridge closed as much as possible and carefully monitor the temperature to fit the season to shave a few pounds off your energy bill each month.
The same goes for washing machines and dishwashers, both of which should be used with cold water if the clothes/dishes aren’t too greasy to save energy.