This week is Big Energy Week, running from today until January 21, and as a man who refused to turn the heating on until the middle of November, I’m very much motivated by the desire to save a few quid so that I can squander it down the pub. Well, it’s nice and warm in there!
So when I was asked by Southern Electric to fill in an energy efficiency survey to find out where we might be going wrong – and right – in terms of how cost-effective our home is, I thought: Why not? In for a penny and I might save a few pounds.
Southern Electric is working with Citizens Advice, charities, consumer groups, switching sites, Ofgem and the Government to give practical advice to people across the country to help them spend less on heating and powering their home.
And it has a number of initiatives to help save money on energy bills as well as helping the environment, including Southern Electric’s iPlan tariff, which is designed to help you save on your day-to-day energy expenses, with a free smart energy kit – which includes an energy usage display screen that can be linked to an online account to help you plan your energy use to suit you, and track how much money you save.
But back to the survey*….
We live in a flat in a converted 100 year-old end-of-terrace house. It is a rather leaky flat, heat-wise. I don’t need an expert to tell me that. It is often colder inside than out, due to the wonderful refrigeration properties provided by our thick brick walls. Which is great in summer; not so lovely in winter.
I don’t mind it so much – I’ve got a couple of fleeces and a nice wife to cuddle when it gets especially bitter. But it’s the kids, see – whining on about their blue toes turning black and their toenails falling off. Whinge, whinge. Kids today, eh? The don’t know their born.
Anyway – because she’s like that – my wife insists on turning the heating on to prevent the kids from turning into icepops. Not my decision. But, hey, she pays the bills…
But even I – as the non-bill-paying member of our household – was shocked at the results of the Southern Electric survey.
On a scale of A being the highest/best and G the lowest/worst, our home has an energy rating of E –costing us £850 a year, according to the survey (it’s actually nearly double that! Terrifying, isn’t it?).
We also spew out 6.5 tonnes of Co2 emmisssions a year. Not quite in the league of a coal-fired power station in China, but still not great.
But if we took some simple steps, we could reduce our bills by £430.00 and slash our Co2 emissions to 2. 9 tonnes per year. Good for the planet; good for (my wife’s) wallet.
But how? Here’s Southern Electric’s advice….
• Upgrade roof insulation with 250mm mineral wools laid between and across roof joists
Annual saving: £57.00
• Upgrade solid wall insulation with 50mm equivalent of internal wall insulation
Annual saving: £330.00
• Double glaze single glazed windows
Annual saving: £43.00
If all these recommendations were carried out we would have a new energy rating of C.
So what are we going to do about it? Well, we don’t have any spare cash to make thse upgrades just yet, but there are grants available.
But in the meantime, I figure I spend most of my time in the kitchen so that’s where I can really make a difference. And on the Southern Electric site there are some great tips for saving energy not just in the kitchen but all over the house.
My favourites are:
• Only fill kettles with as much water as you need. But make sure you cover the element if you use an electric kettle.
• When cooking vegetables, use just enough water to cover the food and put a lid on. Simmer instead of boiling; less steam means less need to ventilate the room, cutting your heating costs.
• Always use the right size of pan for your cooking ring.
• Use pans that can divide into sections so you can cook several items at once. Cook big batches of food at once. It’s more energy efficient to use all the oven space available – and freeze food you don’t need that day.
• Take any shelves you don’t use out of the oven.
• Cut food into smaller sections before cooking; it may cook more quickly. Don’t keep opening the oven door while you are cooking.
• Make toast in a toaster, not under the grill.
• Use a microwave instead of the oven as much as possible – not just for reheating and defrosting, but for fresh food too. They’re quick, easy and economical to use, especially if people in your household eat at different times. Take jacket potatoes for instance. An hour in the oven; 5 minutes in the microwave.
More info and links…
• This is a sponsored post.