When I am out talking to people about their homes the biggest concern they have is not the environment but how much money they are spending on gas and electricity. The announcement of a 9% price hike by Scottish and Southern Electricity is probably just a precursor to more increases from the other energy suppliers so switching is not a long term solution.
Even with cuts in the feed-in tariff solar panels are still a viable option but they do nothing to reduce your consumption and require up front investment. The first and best thing you can do to reduce your bills is reduce your demand for electricity.
I am often astonished at people’s contempt for energy saving measures such as turning appliances off standby and switching to low energy light bulbs. They seem to regard their profligacy as a matter of pride, boasting of how they have their heating up so high that they walk around their house in their pants. If they really want to do something stupid, they could try standing in the street handing out £10 notes. Presumably these are the same idiots who buy urban 4×4 vehicles, cars whose only benefits are increased fuel consumption and a much greater chance of killing a child. If even Jeremy Clarkson thinks you are a fool you are in real trouble.
However, assuming you’re not a fool and would actually like to save money quickly and easily what are the top ten things can you do?
1. Turn stuff off:
Lights, phone chargers, TVs etc. You can get Standby busters to do this for you or just get some exercise and bend down and turn them off at the plug sockets. Several options in Nigel’s eco store, that one seems to be the cheapest.
2. Close doors and windows.
Not always so easy with kids in the house but if you have the heating on and a door or window open you are heating the outside world rather than your house.
3. Get an electricity monitor with a nice big display and put it somewhere obvious.
You will find yourself horrified at the electricity use of some of your appliances. Just seeing the meter tick over will make you reduce your consumption, there is a good selection available here.
4. Carry out simple draught excluding.
Look for cracks around windows and doors and fill them. You can use builders caulk for small gaps and expanding foam or insulation where they get bigger.
5. Get your loft insulated, maybe this should be number one.
If you haven’t got loft insulation or have less than 60mm you can get it installed for free before December this year.
6. Get your cavities filled.
Again free before December
7. Turn the thermostat down.
Walking round your house in your pants is for Homer Simpson, put some clothes on and turn the heating down.
8. Change your bulbs.
Incandescents are a thing of the past but how many money wasting halogen bulbs are there in your kitchen. Switch to a decent LED bulb now and save money straight away
9. Draw the curtains.
A good thick curtain will keep the heat in so draw them at night and make sure they are tucked behind any poorly sighted radiators .
10. Seal your floorboards.
This used to be done by a good thick bit of carpet but the trend for wooden floors has led to howling gales sweeping through the living rooms of London. Seal the gaps between the boards with PVA or something like Draughtex, see my video on the options here.
There are many more things you can do but these will provide an excellent start and a big cut in fuel bills. Then you can think about renewable energy, switching suppliers etc to get the best value from your newly efficient house. If you would like a detailed report on your home I can offer an Ecoalex Home Survey and if you want a full analysis of your fuel usage and how much you can save I can offer you a Parity Home Energy Masterplan. See my website for details of both.
So don’t be an idiot! Save money now with some of the simple measures above. Let me know how you get on and any handy tips you may have.