No-brainer ways to simply and cheaply improve the energy efficiency of your home, cut fuel bills and save power for eco-friendly living.
- Keep draughts at bay - and energy bills down - by fitting blinds to your kitchen windows.
- Reduce consumption of hot water and detergent by saving dirty pans to wash up in one large batch rather than piecemeal. Never wash up under a running tap.
Think green when you cook…
- Don't waste a hot oven: cook jacket potatoes at the same time as a cake when you're baking - they heat up quickly in the microwave when you're ready to eat them.
- Making a roast dinner? Think about roasting vegetables in the oven while you cook the meat - they retain their nutrients better and you're saving energy by not boiling them separately.
- Use rechargeable batteries in non-mains-powered kitchen devices such as scales and handheld milk frothers.
- Plan ahead: allow food to defrost at room temperature over a longer period of time rather than sticking it in the microwave at the last minute.
- Cut cooking times for vegetables by chopping them small so they cook faster, use a smaller pan so that water comes to the boil more quickly, and always cover with a lid.
- Cook larger quantities of freezable food such as pasta sauce, soups and stews, and divide into portion-sized bags to defrost for another time. Re-heating requires less energy than preparing a whole dish from scratch.
- Spoon food direct onto plates rather than into serving dishes to cut down on washing up.
Eco re-thinks to save power
- Boil only the quantity of water you need when using the kettle, which is one of the most energy-hungry devices in your home.
- Re-locate your fridge/freezer so it's out of the sun and away from a heat source. Ventilation around the back will help reduce load on its cooling system too.
- Defrost your freezer before ice deposits build up - if it's not a self-defrosting model - to keep it functioning efficiently.
- Empty the fluff filter regularly on washing machines and tumble dryers to improve efficiency.
- Wash full loads, at lower temperatures, to avoid wasting unnecessary energy.
- Dry clothes and sheets outside rather than using the tumble dryer - keeps down your electricity bills and adds a scent of freshness to your clean laundry.
- Place a draught excluder against external doors to keep out chills.
- Make sure your letterbox closes securely to keep the heat in and the cold out.
- Install a thick curtain hung from a rail above the front door to immediately warm up your home - particularly if you live in an older property.
- Close doors to rooms you're not using to retain heat in the parts of your home where you spend most time.
- Turn off radiators completely, or set low, if your living room isn't used daily.
- Never leave a TV, DVD player or games console on standby: they consume unnecessary amounts of power. If you have a digital recorder that needs to be left on permanently, run it from a separate mains plug.
- Rechargeable batteries in remote controls and gaming devices will save you money in the long run, as well as boosting your eco credentials.
- Choose smaller-screen TVs: they generally use less energy than larger ones. Turning down the brightness will also reduce energy consumption.
Simple ways to outwit the weather
- A pile of rugs and throws will keep you warm in a chilly room - and look stylish too - if you want to avoid turning up the thermostat.
- Rugs (and slippers!) will reduce chilly draughts to the feet through fashionable bare floorboards.
- Avoid using power-hungry electric fansto cool down your rooms in summer. In a heatwave, keep curtains, blinds and windows closed during the heat of the day, only opening them to let in the cooler night air.
- Invest in higher-tog duvets and cosy pyjamas rather than leaving heaters on high all through the night.
- Well-fitting curtains will keep out winter chills and mean you can comfortably turn down radiators.
- Close curtains earlier to keep in heat, making for a cosier room when it's time for bed.
Cut your power bills
- Reduce hair dryer usage by washing hair earlier so there's time for it to dry naturally. Removing the directional nozzle means more of your hair will dry more quickly, reducing the amount of power you use.
- Low-wattage bulbs for night lights in children's bedrooms will save energy and keep down bills. Use rechargeable batteries in non-mains light fittings.
- Check that teens and pre-teens have switched off gadgets at bedtime: it's easy to leave them on all night, consuming power unnecessarily.
- Set your hot water thermostat at 60deg C: a heating engineer can help if you're not sure how. Hotter than this will increase your fuel bill.
- Choose to have a shower rather than a bath, and install a low-flow shower head to save even more water - and heat - every time you wash
- Make sure all recyclable packaging goes in the 'green bin' - it's easy to forget.
- Don't leave electric toothbrushes recharging overnight. Most only need an hour or so; a full night on charge is a costly waste of electricity.