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So You Want to Shrink Your Energy Bills?

Utility bills – UGH!  Of course, we all love our creature comforts but my combined gas and electric bill is, well, higher than I would like!  One thing I’m looking at lately is saving power more around the house, especially electricity, with the aim of being both a little more sustainable and ‘green’ and to save myself a few pennies at the same time!

There are lots of little steps to take to conserve energy, waste less and cut back on utility bills.  Here are a few you can start looking at today. 

Use natural lighting and air conditioning 

The best source of light is the big ball in the sky – the sun.  And while it might not always be around, depending on where you live, it is great to use it when it is.  Natural light is the best way to light your home and doesn’t cost anything.  So open up those blinds, pull the curtains right back and ensure plenty of that natural light can get into your home.  It can also help warm the house in cooler months if you are lucky enough to have decent double glazing and windows that face the right way to catch the sun’s rays! 

In the same way, open those windows and let that fresh air flow through the home, rather than using air conditioning systems.  Open windows don’t cost anything, and the air flow is less likely to contain any bugs that can build up in air con units.  Besides, a fly or two is hardly a problem, especially if you have a cat like I do who loves to catch and eat them.

Turn off lights when leaving the room 

Using lights is pretty unavoidable in modern life, especially in winter.  But, you can conserve a little bit of energy by turning off lights when leaving the room.  This means they aren’t using power lighting an empty room, will make the bulb last longer, and if you have left a door or window open- will attract fewer bugs into your home.  If you are a fan of smart tech, you can get connected lightbulbs with motion sensors to set up that they turn out when you leave the room! 

Energy efficient appliances 

When it comes to replacing any appliance that uses electricity, look at the energy efficiency of the new one before committing to it.  From kettles to fridges, washing machines and dishwashers, even boilers, they all have to have a rating on them with A being the best.  Don’t forget to check your laptop or pc as well, remember to switch it off at the end of a hard day’s work or gaming!

Check your home’s insulation 

One of the biggest causes of wasted energy is poor insulation.  Heat rises, vanishes through the roof and is lost.  Therefore looking at the quality and thickness of the insulation in your roof or loft can be key to improving the home’s energy efficiency.  Wool is a great eco friendly and very efficient option.

Producing your own power 

Not as wacky a suggestion as perhaps it used to be, we can now consider producing some of our own electricity right at home!  There are lots of renewable options that can be used in almost any home to generate electricity, cut down utility bills and even make a little money selling unused power back to the national grid. 

Solar thermal 

A solar panel can be used to heat hot water and works alongside an existing system.  This means when there is sunlight, you can generate power to create hot water and not need to use gas and electricity to power your boiler for the job.  You may need to get a new tank that works with this kind of system and you do need a house facing within 90 degrees of south. 

Photovoltaic 

This is another type of solar panel that creates electricity from sunlight.  You have the panels fitted to the roof so again a 90 degree of south angle is preferred.  It can be expensive to set up but if you general more power than you need, there are schemes to sell it back to utility companies.  

Not everyone will be able to produce their own electricity at this point, but we can all do more to conserve it and therefore make our homes more energy efficient.  It also has the benefit of saving money on those utility bills as well! 

Layer Up

An old school tip!  When the temperature cools and you are at home, take steps to stay warmer for longer with jumpers, thermal underthings, and blankets!  A nice touch to keep the atmosphere cosy in the winter while you are under your cosy blanket, is burning a candle or two.  You can leave the big electric lights off, and have an atmospheric lighting scheme with a couple of candles scattered about your living space.

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