If I’d had a pound for every time I’ve said ‘you left your light on’ over the years then quite frankly I wouldn’t have to care about my energy bills, as I would be a millionaire.
Children leaving on lights drives me absolutely mad, as there is just no excuse for it. Think about it – it’s like the light itself is TELLING YOU YOU’VE LEFT IT ON.
It SHINES. In your face.
I don’t even know how it’s physically possible to leave a room and NOT notice that you’ve left the lights on. I can only conclude that children’s brains have a vital part missing from them until they reach some kind of magical age where they are able to SEE LIGHT.
This post isn’t meant to be me complaining, it’s about positive things you can do to save energy – not just to reduce your bills but also to ensure that you leave less of a mark on the world. I’ve recently bought my own house and so I’m in the lucky position now where I can think about bigger things I can do to reduce energy consumption. I’ve had my loft properly insulated for example, and I’ve got decent double glazing throughout.
Even if you don’t have the cash (or the enthusiasm) to tackle bigger projects, small changes you do can add up. Here are seven properly useful ideas I’ve had to help you create good energy habits in your home.
Get a smart meter
This is top of my list and an excellent first step to help you reduce energy consumption. With free smart meters, which allow you to monitor your energy usage in real time, in actual pounds and pence, it means you can see for yourself how much it costs to do specific things like boil a kettle or run a dishwasher and thus identify ways to cut back. There is something about having this information presented to you, seeing the energy and money tick away, that really helps to hammer the message home.
Ration your shower time
And temperature. Just like the central heating, turning down the shower just a little bit can add up to big savings in the long term. It’s also better for you to not have the shower too hot. Next time you go in the shower, time how long you spend in there. Shave off a couple of minutes, and make this your new goal. Set a timer on your phone or get yourself a cheap shower timer to stop you daydreaming.
Make better use of your slow cooker
Not only is it useful from a time saving/planning point of view, but it’s much more energy efficient than a conventional oven. If you’re wondering what to make, you could always try my slow cooker rice pudding recipe.
Block up your chimney if you’re not using it
I wouldn’t have thought to do this unless I’d come into the living room a few days ago to see a kitten’s back legs stuck out of the chimney, but it makes total sense. Chimney Sheep, (which is a product designed to block your chimney), has a calculator to help you see how much you could save over the course of a year. I didn’t want to spend any extra money, so I just went up into my (well-insulated) loft and found an old cushion to stuff up into the chimney, out of sight. Just remember to take it out if you do want to light a fire!
Take good care of your fridge
There are loads of little things you can do in the fridge department. For starters, if you’re buying a new fridge then look for one with a good energy efficiency rating. Don’t position it near a cooker or radiator or in direct sunlight, and don’t leave the door open while you’re cooking or doing things in the kitchen. You shouldn’t need the fridge colder than 3 degrees celsius, and regularly defrosting your freezer will help too. You can buy a fridge and freezer thermometer in Wilko for just £2.
Bleed your radiators regularly
It keeps them working more efficiently, plus it makes you feel AWESOME. I don’t know why, but it’s just one of those little jobs that makes you feel like a proper grown-up, in charge of life. The day I taught my daughters how and why to bleed a radiator was a proud one indeed.
Make your own draught excluders
This one kills two birds with one stone – first up you get to keep out draughts and so need to spend less on heating, but also you get to do a fun craft activity, which might help you to forget how cold your hands are. Because I’m nice like that, I created a Pinterest board with some of my favourite DIY draught excluders.
What are your top tips for easy habits that can help save energy?
This post is in conjunction with British Gas® but all thoughts are my own
Images by amasterphotographer and IMG Stock Studio/shutterstock