Use timers and thermostats to control space heating and thermostats to control water heating. Reducing your thermostat by just one or two degrees can have a significant effect.
Block up unused chimneys, seal gaps in floors, doors and windows. Draughts account for a significant amount of energy loss.
Warm air rises, so insulate your ceiling (with no less than R3.5 insulation) - one of the best ways to cut your energy bills.
Install other insulators such as carpets and rugs, double-glazing and full-length thermal-lined curtains. You will quickly notice the difference, both in comfort and cost.
Set your hot water cylinder to 60°C, the minimum recommended storage temperature. Insulating pipes and locating your hot water system as close as you can to hot water outlets (e.g. kitchen and bathroom) will make more energy efficient use of your hot water supply.
Choosing the right heat pump and using it efficiently will make a big difference to your overall energy use.
Use the correct size and type of heater for the room. Overheating wastes energy, while undersized heating equipment will struggle even if running on maximum setting and may cost you more money than a larger heater.
Consider the energy consumption of a new TV prior to purchase – a small LCD TV will use only 60 watts whereas a large plasma can use around 450 watts. Remember the larger the screen the more watts it will use.
Low voltage halogen down lights and feature lights will often use as much energy as incandescent lamps. Replacing halogen and feature lights with LED lamps can be up to 10-times more efficient.
Ensure doors and windows are well fitted and sealed for the cooler months. Open them up in summer to let a cool breeze refresh the air.
Turn off your sound system and TV at the wall when not in use. Appliances left on standby still use energy.
Turn off lights and heating when the room is not in use.
Use microwave ovens or electric frypans where possible. Their smaller wattage and faster cooking times can use up to 70% less electricity than other conventional methods.
Where possible, use a single hotplate with a saucepan and stacking steamer with well-fitting lid. You can use the water in the saucepan to boil pasta and potatoes at the same time.
Ensure the door seal on your oven and fridge are in good condition and that the door seals tightly.
When choosing a fridge or freezer, dishwasher or other kitchen appliance, choose an energy efficient model by comparing the star ratings. The more stars the better, 6 stars being best of all.
Boiling water in an electric kettle is 50% more efficient than using the stove. For additional savings, fill only to the level you need (ensure it’s above the exposed element if it has one).
Keep your fridge well-stocked or buy a fridge with a capacity to suit your needs. A fridge will use more power if it has to keep too much air space cool, and spills out more cold air when you open the door if it is not loaded to the optimum capacity. If going away for a long period, empty it, clean it and unplug it.
Use your dishwasher more efficiently. Keep the filters clean, use cold water to rinse dishes if necessary, only run when the load is full, and where possible use the â€śeconomyâ€ť setting. For a small number of dishes wash by hand.
Choose an energy efficient washing machine and clothes dryer by comparing the
star ratings. The more stars the better!
Select ‘cold wash’ on your machine. Laundry detergent recommended for cold washing will give you good results.
Load your washer fully each wash. If you do not have a full load, adjust the water level of your machine to save on water and power.
Use the sun to dry clothes when you can. An outdoor clothes line or an airer near a sunny window will do the job and also leave your clothes smelling fresh and less damaged by over-heating.
If you do use a clothes dryer make sure you have spun the clothes well before you put them in. Drying consecutive loads will also be more efficient as the residual heat will help dry the next load.
Instead of running a heater overnight, try an underblanket or extra bedding layer on top. If you can’t bear getting out of bed in the cold, use a timer to turn the heating on half an hour before you get up.
During winter close your curtains well before bedtime, but open them to let in the warming sun during the day.
Paint your walls in light colours to aid reflection of available light.
If your bedroom gets too hot in summer put up some reflective blinds or awnings outside the windows.
Bedside lamps mean you only light the room where it’s needed. Use LEDs or compact fluorescent lamps whenever possible, or small halogen lamps in preference to standard incandescent bulbs.
Compare the difference in power usage of the equipment and tools you use and purchase accordingly. A laptop computer uses around 60 watts of power, but a desktop unit can use 300 watts.
Turn off appliances at the wall when not in use – appliances left on standby still use energy.
Where possible use fluorescent tubes or compact fluorescent lamps. They use around 20% of the electricity consumed by ordinary bulbs to produce the same amount of light and can last between 4 and 10 times longer.
If you don’t use a room very often, heat yourself by pulling on a jumper or a pair of socks rather than turning on the heating.
Choose to shower rather than fill the bath.
Fitting flow restrictors or AAA water saving shower heads will make a big difference to the amount of water, and therefore the amount of power, you use.
Avoid using small amounts of hot water if cold water will do. Each time you run the hot tap a litre or more of heated water goes cold in the pipes – what a waste!
Switch off your hot water system when you go away or leave the house for a week or more.
Like washing the dishes, it is usually more energy (and water) efficient to put the plug in the sink rather than have a hot tap running straight down the drain.
Renew seals and washers on dripping taps. A hot water tap dripping once a second for a day can waste enough hot water for an extra person.