Composite image of clean energy house

Was saving money one of your New Year’s resolutions? This national day is perfect for you, not just a fad or gimmick it really is common sense as every home could make huge energy-savings if they haven’t already adopted energy saving habits or adapted their home.

Here are some great tips that you can do with little effort or expense through to those things that require a bit more investment but will reap greater savings:

1. Simple switch

Check you are getting the best rates for your energy on a regular basis as many UK households are on standard but expensive tariffs after their fixed price deal has ended. Challenge your supplier to reduce your bills or have a look at our comparison checker to see how much you could save; our users average saving is £394.87 per year.

2. Turn it off

We all know we should turn things off but in reality we don’t. According to the Energy Savings Trust (EST) you could save £30 per year by turning appliances off.

3. The heat is on

Cooking uses a lot of energy but you can reduce your spend by only boiling the amount of water needed in the kettle, by putting lids on pans, and use the oven or hob instead of the microwave.

4. Bathroom habits

Washing is essential and we wouldn’t suggest you skip it but you could save money through showering rather than bathing. You could save more by reducing your shower by 1 minute (family of 4 could save £80 per year according to the EST), or you could get an energy saving shower head to reduce the water consumption.

5. Turn down the heat

Did you know that turning down the thermostat by 1 degree could save you £80-85 per year according to the EST? So, instead of turning up the thermostat add a layer on yourself instead and reap the savings.

6. Smarter energy

Understand your energy consumption through a smart energy meter and end estimated bills. All energy companies are obligated to supply smart meters by 2020 but many are already installing them now. There is no charge for exchanging your meter if your supplier is installing them.

7. Dress your home for winter

Insulating your home and reducing draughts can save you a considerable amount on your energy bills as well as make your home more comfortable. Annual savings of £10-225 for insulating your loft, £70-425 for insulating your walls (depending on your house and wall type), and £25 for draught proofing could be achieved according to the EST. Take a look at our guide about insulation to see if your home could benefit, if you could be eligible for a grant and find an installer.

8. Have greater control

Make your heating easier to manage through adding heating controls to your existing system, such as a room thermostat, thermostat radiator valves (TRVs), or heating programmers to allow you to heat your home how and when you need to. The addition of these controls could save you around £75 per year according to the EST. Investing in smart heating controls like HIVE or NEST can help you manage your heating even more effectively.

9. Seeing the light

Lighting advancements have evolved a lot over the last 10 years and if you haven’t upgraded your bulbs to energy efficient LED lighting then you should look to switch as they last longer too. And if you like high-tech gadgets why not get some smart bulbs that allow you to control them with your smart phone or voice so there’s no excuse for leaving them on. You can even control them when you are away from home and dim them to reduce energy usage.

10.Inefficient heating

Heating accounts for 60% of energy bills so if you have an old inefficient boiler then it’s time to consider getting a new model, you could save £55-320 per year according to the EST. An old boiler costs more to run and is probably starting to become unreliable and uneconomical to repair. With pay monthly boilers available you can even use your savings to pay towards your new boiler. If you are interested in a new boiler take a look at our guide and offers available, including accessing grants.

11.Out with the old

Like your old boiler, old appliances such as washers, driers, fridges, and cookers can be costing you more to run. When you can, switch them for a new model and check the energy rating to ensure you can make the maximum savings.

12.When the sun shines

When the sun shines don’t just hang out your washing, generate your own energy through solar panels. But of course, it’s not just when the sun is shining that solar panels can harness the suns energy which is why the UK climate is suitable for solar panels. You can either generate electricity or utilise the sun to heat your hot water. And with the Government’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) scheme you can be paid for using solar panels. Find out more about solar panels and find an installer.
Act now!

Now each of these tips in insolation might not reduce your energy bills by much but making several adjustments and investing in energy-saving will soon pay for itself with the savings you make. And now really is the time to act whilst you can still reap the benefits during the high energy usage months of cold, dark days.

Circular futuristic interface of smart home automation assistant, virtual screen

The government has been working hard over the last few years to rollout smart meters to all homes in a bid to allow us all to monitor our energy usage and hopefully save money in the process. However, the rollout has taken many years and in the meantime, the technology has moved on. There is now a new generation of smart meters available that are considered better than the first generation options – unfortunately leaving the first adopters slightly behind in the technology stakes.

According to government data, there are currently around 7.7 million smart gas and electricity meters installed in UK homes, with a further 53 million still to be installed before 2020. Many of these are the first generation meters which could well be superseded by the next generation that appear to offer a better option for the energy companies and consumers alike.

British Gas has trialled a new generation smart meter for their customers that allows customers to track their energy use (just like the older ones) but also to take advantage of a raft of other energy saving options. These include time-of-use tariffs, energy trading, solar energy and they are completely transportable between energy companies – allowing easy switching.

One of the main issues with the first generation meters is that customers discover that their meter stops working when they switch energy companies, forcing them to start taking meter readings again, while they wait for their new supplier to issue them with a new meter. The issue is related to the meters being unable to communicate externally via the wide area network.

The largest manufacturer of these new generation smart meters, known as SMETS2 (Smart meter Equipment Technical Specification) meters is Landis+Gyr who say that their product is able to read fluctuations in the energy supply of an entire home – especially where there are solar panels installed and storage batteries are used. This means that the National Grid can balance energy use more effectively.

The government has recognised that these new meters are an important step in their program of meter rollout and have placed an end date on the installation of these first-generation meters of July 2018. After that, all new meters will be SMET2 and therefore capable of dealing with the way that we use energy in our homes both now and into the future.

Modern house with gold coins in property investment and business growth concept, Buying new home for big family

The New Year is a time for reflection – a chance for us to make changes to how we live or work and to decide what we might do to improve for the coming year. Many people make new Year resolutions and for many, these will surround saving money. One great way to save money is to reduce your energy use and to lower your bills.

Below is a list of resolutions that will both reduce the amount you spend on your energy bills, but will also save the planet by lowering your carbon footprint.

  • Change your lights – by replacing your old lightbulbs with energy-saving LEDs you can save as much as £75 over the life of the bulb and it will last longer.
  • Turn off your lights – don’t leave lights on that you are not using. Make it a habit to turn them off as soon as you leave the room.
  • Use a thermostat to control your boiler and use them on each radiator individually. You can then control the temperature in each room – turning down the heat in the rooms you don’t use so often.
  • Turn off the heating when you are out – use a timer to ensure that your heating is not coming on when you are at work. If you have a remote system such as NEST, you can even control your heating from wherever you are.
  • Cook efficiently – try to use the oven carefully and cook as many meals at one time as you can. An electric oven can be very costly to run.
  • Ask for a shower timer for Christmas and use it to ensure you never stand in the shower for longer than 5 minutes.
  • Invest in insulation or take advantage of one of the energy company schemes to get it for free.
  • Only heat your water when you know you’re going to need it. For example set it to start heating around one hour before your shower and for another hour in the evening.
  • If your supplier offers a smart meter – get one. This can allow you to track your usage and will give you a clear idea of what you are spending and how your savings efforts are going.
  • Switch energy companies at least yearly to take advantage of fixed deals that may be suitable for your needs.

There are so many ways to improve how you use energy around the house and the simple steps are often the best. If all else fails, invest in some warm blankets and cosy clothes and go to bed early. That sounds like a great way to avoid having the heating on and you get to enjoy a lovely early night.

Mother and daughters using a tablet by a fireplace on Christmas

We all know that Christmas is expensive. Once it is all added up including the extra food, the Christmas dinner, the travel costs and of course the Christmas gifts, the costs can rocket into the hundreds and even thousands. But have you ever thought of the additional cost of-of the energy you are using over the festive period and if it might be possible to reduce it? It might not offset the other costs, but it makes sense to make savings wherever possible.

Cooking the Christmas Dinner

Research carried out by GoCompare Energy in 2016 estimated that the UK spends £15m collectively just to cook Christmas Dinner as it will usually take 5 hours for a turkey to cook. If you compare that to an average 30 mins to 1 hour cooking time for the average family meal, it is easy to see how quickly it can add up.

Leaving the lights on

The research also showed that on average we spend an extra £3.75 per day to cover the cost of Christmas lights. If you happen to have a house that is festooned with colourful light displays, you can expect this to be many times more.

The cost of staying home

Most of us take time off work over the Christmas holidays and with it being cold outside we cosy up at home. This means our homes are heated, the lights are on and we use our electrical equipment. This is estimated at an additional cost of around £20 per household across the two week period.

Overall most households can expect to spend around £50 more during the festive season on their energy costs than they do at other times. When you’re struggling with the costs of Christmas that really can add up.

What can we do to reduce this cost?

● Only put on your Christmas lights in the evening and not all day
● Make sure your home is insulated well and that curtains are pulled and doors closed
● Buy the size turkey you need for your family and not a larger one – it will cut down cooking time
● Cook several things at once while the oven is on – if you have space.
● Turn the heating off while the oven is on – the house will warm up naturally
● Try to get out and about over Christmas and don’t sit indoors using up energy when you could be outside having fun.
● Buy everyone a funny Christmas jumper and make them wear it!

glowing light bulb among many coins

Saving energy in our homes has long been an issue for most households and each new generation works hard to make energy saving a possibility for all. These days we use smart meters to monitor our usage, triple glazing to ensure we stay warm and carefully programmed central heating to give us the flexibility we need. In the days of our grandparent’s things may have been very different. They may not have had central heating, homes generally were single glazed and open fires were the norm.

While the way they lived then may have seemed quaint, they still had some excellent ideas for energy saving around the home that we can learn from today and in true old-fashioned money-saving style, they are usually not going to cost a fortune to implement.

Plug gaps

Even our modern homes are somewhat leaky. Windows and doors are the most obvious places where the warmth can get out and these gaps should be plugged if at all possible to keep the heat inside where you want it. Door snakes are a great idea that is easy to make and do a fantastic job at stopping draughts under doors. Simply take a length of material and sew it into a long sausage shape. Fill this with rags, old socks, and some bean bag beads for stability and then place along the bottom of the door. If you are especially crafty you can knit one that will fit in with your decor.

Other gaps can be filled with simple scrunched up newspaper, plastic sheeting and old clothes or material.

Close doors

Our homes these days are often open plan making it harder to heat our homes and impossible to shut off the room you are in. However, you should always close the doors of the rooms you can and do your best to keep the heat where you need it. In this way, you can use radiator thermostats to keep each room at the temperature you need and not heat those rooms that you are not using.

Cook wisely

By planning your cooking you can take advantage of having the oven on for several meals rather than just one. For example, if you are cooking a casserole and will have the oven on for a couple of hours, add a cake or a batch of muffins at the same time. This will depend on the size of your oven, but there’s a good chance you can fit in at least a couple of meals into one cooking session. And when the oven is cooling down leave the door open so that heat comes into the room.

We expect you know loads more old-fashioned money saving ideas – but these will certainly help when the weather gets cooler in the months to come.