Insulate and draughtproof! – it is estimated that over 25% of energy is lost through badly-insulated buildings.
Large grants are available for everyone for this purpose – contact a local grant-approved insulation installer or your local Energy Efficiency Advice Centre; tel 0800 512 012, www.saveenergy.co.uk
Set the heating thermostat lower and wear seasonal clothing! Lived-in rooms need not be heated beyond 19-21°C. Be careful not to waste energy overheating rooms not in regular use. Around 60% of a homes' total energy consumption is for heating the house.
Switch to a “green” electricity account: This is one of the most effective things you can do to save emissions from electricity generation; it has been calculated that buying your electricity from a green supplier can earn 12 times more "carbon points" than fitting low-energy light bulbs! Although your electricity still comes from the same grid, these companies are committed to investing in renewable energy, therefore reducing the overall proportion of electricity generated from fossil fuel burning. The most highly regarded supplier is Good Energy: www.good-energy.co.uk (tel 0845 456 1640); they guarantee to buy 100% renewable energy and grow it's supply by providing a market for new generating companies and co-operatives.
Stop junk mail by registering with the Mailing Preference Service: (http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/mps); Freepost 22, London W1E 7EZ; tel 020 7291 3310.
The manufacture and distribution of junk mail consumes energy, not to mention emissions from landfill if it is thrown away.
Replace light bulbs with low-energy types (yes, you’ve probably heard it many times before, but these are now available in different shapes & sizes, their prices are much reduced, they last 10 times longer, and now brighten up within a few seconds).
Check the hot water thermostat setting – water need not be scalding - 60°C is the recommended satisfactory level. The higher the temperature, the more heat escapes.
Solar panel-based hot water heating systems can be installed with a grant from around £2500.
Switch off televisions and computer monitors and other appliances when not in use, instead of leaving them on standby which still consumes substantial electricity. Unplug mobile phone chargers!
Fill the kettle only to the level necessary for the number of drinks needed!
Recycle waste – landfill sites give off methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. Check out the location of your council’s nearest recycling bins and separate out paper, glass, cans (tin and aluminium OK mixed), plastic bottles, cardboard.
Use air conditioning only in hot conditions
when ordinary ventilation is insufficient. Air conditioning
is very energy-hungry; e.g. switching it on in a car increases fuel
consumption by up to 4 miles per gallon. There is a rapidly increasing use of
air conditioning in buildings – it is often left switched on unnecessarily.
Keep a check on your fridge and freezer temperatures – if unnecessarily cold, they use much more electricity. The normal recommendation is 1 to 3°C for a fridge and minus 16 to 18°C for a freezer. Suitable “fridge thermometers” can be purchased cheaply at DIY/kitchen stores.
Take showers – save a bath as an occasional luxury!
Buy local food where possible - supermarket produce involves long distance transport by road and air.
Avoid using tumble dryers and combined washer-dryers unless no alternative. Any heat-producing appliance consumes large amounts of energy.
Travel lightly – compromise on car and plane journeys, use trains and buses where practical, try to avoid excessive commuting distances!
Cars – drive smoothly and not too fast, don’t labour the engine, keep tyres well inflated, service regularly. Car share, use public transport!?
Embrace electronic information – move away from surrounding yourself with paper! (back up your computer regularly).
Encourage others by example - Relatives/friends/employers-employees/contacts.
Some measures involve expenditure and can be phased in at suitable times:
Cars – choose economical models!
Fridges, freezers, washing machines and dishwashers – modern A-rated models can cut the energy use of older models by half. Grant-funded discounts are sometimes available.
LCD computer monitors – these modern “thin” types use only a fraction of the electricity of conventional tube types.
Boilers – condensing type are the most efficient (obligatory for new boilers). Ideally, install a "Whispergen" or equivalent boiler which generates electricity as well as heat.
In all its forms – all products and utilities require energy for their manufacture and distribution, whether food & drink, hardware, domestic and electronic goods, paper, fuel, the water supply, etc.
Some of the energy-indulgent activities of our consumer society are more difficult for most of us to influence, such as over-packaging, fashion-created obsolescence, wasted food and drink, overheated offices/department stores/public buildings, excessive commercial use of vehicles and air transport, banks of TVs permanently powered up in electrical stores, hundreds of bulbs lit in lighting sales departments, etc, etc. However, we may sometimes be able to express our concern to the appropriate management.
Any sensible energy-saving suggestions will be considered for addition to the above list. E-mail to: email@example.com