Energy Savings – reducing your winter energy bills.

Energy Savings – reducing your winter energy bills.

Energy prices have gone through the roof and despite the caps will still be unaffordable for many so here is a reminder of some of the things you can do to help reduce your bills and help the planet at the same time.

Heating costs: if you are running an LPG or oil boiler turn down the flow temperature behind the front panel. Ask your service technician if you need help to do this. This can save 7-8%.

Turn down you thermostat to 19oC or just heat specific rooms where you benefit most from the heating. Savings of 10% per degree turn down. Buy a better duvet? Use weather compensated controls to save even more so the boiler works at the right level for the outside temperature.

Simple measures to cut your heating bills include:

  • Fitting heavier or thermally backed curtains on the big windows will help heat loss.
  • Install more loft insulation– think about having 400mm of breathable style insulation to meet current building standards. Around 25% of heat goes through the roof.
  • Taking a shorter shower- you might need to explain this to your children! Savings around £70/year for 5 showers/week. Or fit low flow devices.
  • Reducing draughts will help but check how your house is designed to be ventilated first- trickle vents are there to provide background ventilation. If you have wood burners check the air intake is from outside and not from the room.

Simple measures to reduce the electricity bill include:

  • Converting all your lights to LEDs. Households typically use 11% of energy on lights and LEDs use half the amount of energy. More expensive but hey last longer. Changing a dozen 40W bulbs would save £200/year after costs of £42 for the bulbs.
  • Remember to turn lights off when you’re not in the room.
  • Fit LED  security lights with PIRs (proximity sensors) so they go off.
  • Simply understanding how your energy varies with appliances by measuring it will help- ask for a smart meter from your energy supplier or fit a clamp device that displays your usage in the house. What is still on standby when you go to bed?
  • Cooking uses a large proportion and microwaves, air fryers and slow cookers are all energy saving options compared with an electric cooker. A BBC article estimated by Sust-it suggest £1.02 to cook a baked potato for 90 minutes versus 5p in a microwave but if you’re cooking lots then savings will be less.
  • Some simple behavioural changes are free: Pick a sunny day to do your washing- tumble driers use a lot.
  • Wash programme at 30oC or cold for
  • Buy A+ energy rated appliances when it’s time to replace fridges and freezers.

Medium term improvements could be upgrading your boiler to save 20% on an old inefficient boiler or even better to invest in a heat pump using the Boiler Upgrade Scheme £5,000 grant. This will reduce bills for households in our parish paying for oil or LPG fuel and cut your carbon footprint by at least 75%. Heat pumps are reliable and very efficient now. Upgrading will also mean that your hot water tank will be improved with factory fitted insulation. In the meantime wrap up your tank with a duvet or insulation blanket.

Next order some Photovoltaic (PV) Panels from an MCS certified supplier for your house- this will take some time but make sure you get 3 quotes. This will save you 4,000 kWh year if you use all the energy. You will use at least half of it saving around £2,000/year and can arrange to be paid for the export you don’t use. Look at some of the green energy suppliers like Octopus Energy. Divert spare PV energy to your hot water tank with an iboost or similar. Check your roof quality at the same time.

Lead times are  longer at 4-6 months as installers are busy but if you act now you will be better prepared for next winter and maybe able to install quicker than you think.

Remember there are further savings to make as there is no VAT on insulation, PV panels or heat pumps at the moment for residential projects.

If we all cut our energy usage by 20% during peak times we are much less likely to experience black-outs!

If you need more help look at these websites:

Cathie Eberlin

On behalf of Abberley Parish Council.

Look at our climate change page and check out the climate page under local information 

We will organise another free energy information evening at the village hall in due course.