11 little things you can do to save energy
So, renewable energy is incredible.
It’s estimated that some renewables produce 99% less carbon than fossil fuels. If you’re on one of our unlimited renewable electricity packages, you’re basically Greta Thunberg already.
But the greenest energy is the energy you don’t use, so with that in mind we’ve put together some really simple basics to get you on track.
Tiny changes to your thermostat can make a big impact on your energy use. Turning things down just one degree can reduce your energy use by 10%! 50% of home energy comes from heating and hot water, but you can make a big difference with a small change. No need to freeze. Just shove a jumper and some warm socks on, nudge things down a degree or two, and feel a little bit smug about doing your bit.
Say goodbye to standby
Yeah it’s sometimes easier to keep things on standby for an easy startup, but they’re secretly using power every minute they’re there. Electronics use 75% of their full energy on standby. That seems a lot, but it’s true. This sort of energy use is called ‘vampire power’ or ‘phantom load’; suitably scary names for a frightening way to ramp up your energy use. The main offenders are game consoles, washing machines and dishwashers. Microwaves can even use more electricity displaying the time than heating your food. Totally outrageous, and super easy to sort out. Just switch things off at the plug when you’re done. Sorted.
Defeat dirty at thirty
Washing your clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40 is a super easy switch to make that will make no difference to the results but a huge difference to your energy use. A 30 degree wash uses about 40% less energy than a 40 degree one, and most laundry detergents are now formulated to wash just as well at lower temperatures. Most even perform just as well at 20 degrees too, if you fancy going even further.
Up your shower game
Taking speedier showers will reduce the amount of hot water you use, and dramatically reduce the amount of energy it takes to get you squeaky clean. Showers and baths are some of the biggest contributors to home energy consumption because of all the water you need to heat. A bath takes about 80 litres of water to fill, which means heating those 80 litres first! A shower uses 10-12 litres of energy a minute - a 10 minute shower uses more hot water than a bath! That’s a lot of energy. Setting a timer for your shower to make it shorter can reduce the amount of energy you use, and can stop you losing track of time thinking about your shopping, or laundry or whether you did that thing… We have some great tips coming up to help you shower faster and better, so watch this space.
Wrap everything up
Keeping your home wrapped up warm will keep you warmer and less reliant on the heating even in the coldest months. Keep your curtains open all day, and close them when it gets dark. Sunlight will naturally warm your home, and the curtains or blinds will trap this heat as the temperature drops overnight. If you notice a draught, block it with a towel or blanket, or even a specialist draught excluder. You can get cheap draught excluders on ebay, or go fancy with a decorative one (like this cute foxy draught excluder) if you like. Stopping the creep of chilly air will mean less time with the heating on and less energy used.
Light up with LEDs
Replacing all of your lightbulbs with LED versions may sound like a faff, not to mention an unnecessary expense, but they save up to 90% of the energy a normal bulb would use, and last about 25 times longer. So not only do they use less energy every day, but replacing them less frequently means there’ll be less energy used globally to manufacture and distribute new bulbs. And you need to shell out for new ones way less often. It’s a win/win!
Keep it clean
Sure, cleaning uses more of your energy, but clean appliances actually use less energy. A clean hob and oven takes less energy to heat than a dirty one, because there’s no dirt to heat through. Fridges can also use less energy if you wrap your leftovers rather than just chucking them in before bed. (We’ll all done it, no judgement.) The moisture escaping from your food makes the air in the fridge more difficult to cool, using more energy than if you’d wrapped everything up. And if you fancy getting extra green points, buy some reusable wrap to use rather than throwing cling film away each time.
Keep a lid on it
When you’ve got a pan on the stove, keep the lid on. You’ll keep more heat in and reduce cooking time, along with the amount of energy you use. You could use around 60% more energy cooking with the lid off! Not to mention waiting longer for your food...
Be careful with the kettle
If everybody only boiled enough for the cup of tea they’re making in the kettle, in a year, we’d have saved enough electricity to power every street light in the UK for 2 months. Fill your cup(s) with water and tip them into the kettle first. It’ll boil quicker (win!) and you’ll use less energy! (Double win!)
Go to the dark side when you leave a room
Turning off the lights is one of the top 20 things we’re most likely to forget to do, along with taking the bin out and closing the window. Lights account for 15% of the total energy used in a household. So, make this pledge, if you are not in the room or it’s light outside, switch off! This will reduce your energy consumption with a simple flick of a switch.
Ice is nice (most of the time…)
Every time you turn the hot water tap, you use energy. You might even hear your heating system come on if you listen. Even if the water coming out of the tap doesn’t get hot, energy is still being used. And wasted! It’s easy to fall into the habit of turning on the hot tap, but by only using it when it’s necessary, and using cold water the rest of the time (rinsing your toothbrush, filling the kettle, etc.) you’ll be saving energy without making much of a change at all.
And there it is! 11 ways to use less energy, even if you’re on an unlimited renewable tariff! The smug feeling you’ll get, knowing you’re doing your bit