Energy-saving tips from our friends at Hubbub
There’s a lot of talk at the moment about the cost of energy – whether that’s financial, environmental or both. The good news is that rethinking our energy use and actively reducing our reliance on it, reduces the cost for your pocket and our natural resources.
Our friends at Hubbub are always on the case to inspire people to make positive changes through practical actions in areas many of us are passionate about – like our homes, food and clothing. When it came to getting our hands on some really helpful and realistic tips to reduce energy use (and the bills too) we knew who to ask.
There are lots of little things you can do to help your home be more energy efficient, and they really add up to cut costs and help your home feel cosier. Give them a go and see how you get on.
- Turning the thermostat down by just one degree can cut your bills by over £50 a year.
- Time your heating to come on only when you need it.
- Insulating your house is one of the best things you can do to save energy. You can do a mini-insulation makeover and hold on to heat by using thicker curtains, rugs and blankets, keeping all doors closed with draught excluders against the bottom and adding lining strips around your windows.
- Lighting makes up around 5% of your electricity bill, so it’s worth switching to LEDs in every room. Remember to turn them off when you leave!
Kitchen and bathroom
- Heating water uses a lot of electricity, so try to keep baths for treats and stick to shorter showers for regular washing (ideally under 4 minutes).
- Morning or evening shower? Time your hot water heater to only be on when you need it.
- Swap your hob for microwave cooking for more energy-efficient mealtimes.
- Buying a new device or appliance? Look for the green A rating to save on running costs.
- Use app-linked smart plugs and bulbs to control energy use. They’re ideal if you’ve got a few rooms, or forgetful kids.
- 90% of a washing machine's energy is spent heating the water, so a cooler wash is an easy saving. Unless you’re washing sanitary items, a 30 degree wash will do the job fine. This can help your clothes last longer too.
- Tumble dryers are real energy guzzlers, so try a clothes airer instead. If patience isn’t your strong suit, heated models do the job in less time and cost pennies to run.
- Only wash things when they really need it. It’s not lazy, it’s conserving energy — yours and your appliances!
- Avoid adding wet clothes directly to a radiator as you’ll reduce airflow. Instead, follow the light and move your clothes horse to where the sun is shining throughout the day.
- Instead of leaving your tech on stand-by, group them for easy control. TVs, computers, gaming consoles, speakers, DVD players and streaming devices all use power while in standby mode - putting them on one extension lead means you can turn them all off at the same time.
- Leaving gadgets on charge when the battery is full can damage the item’s battery life and can add to energy bills.
- Smaller devices are more energy efficient, so watching on a laptop, tablet or phone instead of a TV will use less energy. Sounds like the perfect excuse for an early night or loungey lie-in!
- Stream over WiFi instead of 4G, as using 4G mobile networks consumes about four times as much electricity than through WiFi (and uses up your data too).
- Watch in Standard Definition instead of High Definition. The stories will be just as good.
Keep it cosy and comfortable at home
The fluffy stuff
- According to the Energy Savings Trust you could be saving about £35 a year by using home accessories like thick curtains, rugs and draught excluders, which all help to keep the heat in.
- Having the right duvet for the time of year can help you sleep better as well as reduce the need for heating. Invest in a high-tog duvet for winter, or add some throws to trap that cosy air.
The not-so fluffy stuff
- Bleed your radiators. They can accumulate trapped air and if this happens the hot water in your heating system can't flow as effectively, and won’t be keeping you as warm.
- Insulate water pipes and tanks with lagging to stop heat from escaping and keep your water hot until it reaches you at the tap.
- The seal between doors, windows and walls can split or get damaged, but ‘caulking’ or ‘running a bead’ around the edge is a fairly cheap DIY fix. If in doubt, YouTube will show you how.
Getting ahead with meal prep and batch cooking
Cooking more with less energy
- Defrosting frozen food in the fridge overnight reduces the cooking time or the need for a microwave to help defrost.
- Your microwave is one of the most efficient ways to heat up and cook food - it’s always quicker than a conventional oven.
- If you do use the oven, get your money’s worth from the energy needed by batch cooking when you turn it on. Make more than you need right now, and put the rest in the fridge or freezer for next time.
- Make sure you know how long it takes your oven to heat up so you're ready to start cooking straight away.
- Each time you open the oven door, it loses as much as 25 degrees of heat, so try not to peek too often. It could lengthen cooking time.
- Turn the oven off ten minutes before your food has finished cooking. The oven temperature will remain the same so the food will still cook without the oven using more energy.
- Steaming uses less water and keeps more nutrients in your veg.
- Put lids on pans to cook food faster and use less energy.
- Boiling water in the kettle is faster and uses less energy than boiling on the hob. Only boil as much as you need.
- Slow cookers are one of the most energy efficient kitchen appliances; despite being on for hours, they use very low power, can help with meal planning, and save prep time in evenings.
- Cleaning up time? A fully-loaded dishwasher is more energy efficient than hand washing.