Today marks the start of Energy Saving Week 2011, an initiative started by the Energy Saving Trust to show people how they can save money and energy to help the environment.
The EST estimates the average home in the UK could save around £280 per year as well as 1.1 tCO2 each 12 months by being more energy efficient.
But as well as the obvious ways such as insulating your loft, installing double glazing and turning the thermostat down a notch or two, there are plenty of other ways technology can help.
Here are a few recommendations of products, apps and websites to lend a hand. Even if you have to make an initial outlay, the savings should speak for themselves over time. Confused.com have uploaded a great video guide, and we’ve got some tips of our own.
Turn Off Appliances At The Plug
This one costs you nothing and saves a fortune. It’s also the easiest thing to do. We’re all guilty of leaving the television, computer, satellite box and mobile phone charger either on standby or switched on at the plug. But by flicking that switch to off for all your appliances, you could save an average of £35 a year and 120kg in carbon dioxide. The EST says if every UK household did it, the collective amount of carbon dioxide saved would be like taking 660000 cars off our roads.
Install a Wireless Energy Monitor
These little screens are available from your energy supplier and can tell you where you’re using energy around the house. You’ll be amazed at what is draining power and can save at least 5% of your use by seeing it clearly on the display.
The Belkin Energy Use Monitor works on a similar principal but allows you to check on one specific item. Plug it in and you can see how much electricity you’re wasting and what that’s costing you each month or year.
Wash Clothes At A Lower Temperature
Simply by washing your clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40 degrees you can save a third of the electricity over a year. That’s a £12 saving. If you’re considering upgrading your washing machine, look for one that is A++ or A+++ rated, this shows how energy efficient it is. This Samsung EcoBubble has an Auto Half Load option that automatically adjusts the water and energy if the machine isn’t full.
Fill The Kettle Less
Did you know that only filling up the kettle with as much water as you need can save you £7 a year? That might not sound a lot but every little helps. Boiling a full kettle when you only want one cup is such a waste of electricity and if everyone saved some energy on their cuppas, the UK could power all its street lights for up to two months.
The Breville Hot Cup doesn’t need boiling. Instead fill up the chamber, press the button and it will dispense instant hot water for your drinks.
Upgrade Your Appliances
Whether it’s an oven, fridge, freezer or tumble-dryer, there’s plenty of cash to be saved by buying a new energy efficient appliance. When you need to upgrade or replace, always look at the energy label for at least an A rating. The more + signs after the A, the more efficient it is.
The EST estimates replacing a 12-year-old Upright Freezer can save £26 a year, more than enough to pay for itself over time. Many appliances display the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo so look for those.
Read The Energy Saving Trust Website
To find out more about the Energy Saving Trust or to take an online test to check how much energy you’re using, see the official website of the EST.
If you’re a British Gas customer then you can run your account and save cash through this app. By inputting meter readings rather than relying on estimates you can ensure your account is up-to-date and see at a glance how much energy you’re using each quarter. Other power companies allow you to do this via their websites.
In a similar way to the British Gas one, this allows anyone to update readings for their household energy and water usage. It will then show you on graphs how much has been used, allowing you to decide whether you want to switch to another supplier. You will need to input all the unit costs of your power and water to get the best from it.