Energy consumption is something that, whether we like it or, we all need to think about. Climate change is a huge threat to humanity and I’m sure you’ve all noticed, our fuel bills are rising annually. We all need to start thinking of ways we can reduce our energy usage – myself included – to save money each month at the very least. Since I’ve cut down my hours at work, and therefore cut down my monthly wage, looking at ways to save money has become a huge priority for me. So today I’ve partnered with Energy Saving Trust to share some tips with you on how to cut down your energy consumption and hopefully cut down your monthly fuel bills.
Oh, and did I mention you can win an amazing energy saving washing machine from Whirlpool?
Energy Saving Trust, for those that don’t know, is an independent company, which works with the government, households and businesses throughout the world, providing advice and answering questions on how people can create a more energy efficient environment.
They’ve released a number of tips and tricks for those who are looking to update their homes with either a new kitchen or an extension, and how you can turn that into an energy saving opportunity to help in the long-run.
Building an Energy Efficient Extension
If you’re planning on adding an extension to your home, then you’ll be joining the 16 per cent of homeowners in the UK who have done the same in the last three years. But more space means more room to fill with heat.
- First and foremost, you should consider your building materials. Breeze blocks with external wall insulation over the top are a more efficient option than bricks.
- While the builders are in you could consider installing wall insulation on the whole home – potentially saving you up to £250 a year in fuel bills.
- Making sure your extension is appropriately heated is a key issue. If there’s more space to heat, it stands to reason that a more powerful boiler could be required.
- Electric heating is the most expensive and carbon intensive fuel, so if you can, consider switching to a gas boiler, biomass or renewable heating system.
- Energy Saving Trust recommend updating your heating system and controls with a thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves, which can save you another £75 a year on bills, as well as enabling you to control the amount of heat you need.
- Once the extension is built, the layout of the room needs to be considered. Keep bulky items away from radiators to make sure the room is heated efficiently.
Building an Energy Efficient Kitchen
If you’re planning a kitchen refurbishment, then consider replacing some of your appliances to more high performance, efficient ones, equalling cheaper bills and a reduction on greenhouse gas emissions.
- The difference in running costs between old and new appliances can be huge. But before you make that investment, do an energy audit to see how well your current household goods are performing. A cheap, plug-in energy meter and thermometer should do the trick. A fridge, for example, should be around 3-5 degrees Celsius.
- If you decided to buy brand new, looking at EU product energy labels of appliances is a great way to start. Products labelled up to A+++ are the most efficient.
- However, products are rated by both product and size category, so a larger appliance with a higher energy efficiency rating is likely to cost you more to run than a smaller model with a lower rating.
- The quickest way to see the best energy efficient products is by visiting the ToptenUK website. Extractor fans, for example, can consume excessive energy if left running. ToptenUK looks at overall energy consumption, grease filtering efficiency and the efficiency of the lighting in the appliance, to showcase the best bet for your kitchen. This change can save you £10 annually.
- By choosing the most efficient fridge freezer, aka the one with an A+++ rating, you could save up to £25 a year. However, the latest trend in fridges – big old American designs I’m looking at you – can cost nearly £60 a year more to run.
- If you’re looking to save both energy and money, I’d consider whether you need particular appliances. Clothes can be dried outside and plates washed by hand, meaning you don’t in fact need a tumble dryer and dishwasher. But I get that these save time, especially in a busy family home, so look at heat pump technology in tumble dryers and dishwashers that save on water usage.
- Finally, if your refurbishment isn’t underway yet, then opting for energy efficient lighting could be a smart idea. Use LED lighting where possible, as this is a much more cost effective than halogen lights.
So, there you have it. Some key ways you can save not only on your energy usage, but your annual fuel bills – just by making these changes you could be saving nearly £400 a year.
Now onto the part which you came for in the first place – the chance to win an amazing A+++ energy efficient washing machine from Whirlpool.
All you need to do is head over to the Energy Saving Trust Facebook page, give it a Like to be updated with ways you can save money and energy, and leave a comment to say what your biggest kitchen annoyances is. Mine has to be food getting pushed to the back of the fridge and freezing overnight. No-one like frozen salad for lunch. It’s as easy as that. I really hope this post has made you think a little bit more about what you can do to cut down your fuel consumption and head over to Facebook now to enter the competition.
*This post is in partnership with Energy Saving Trust, but as always opinions and thoughts are my own.