September was especially chilly, giving us a taste of what winter will be like. The 13% of English households who are currently living in fuel poverty will feel the effects of the cold the most. This is anticipated to increase more if the energy situation worsens.
As a result, European authorities have hurried to put protective measures in place for households. Electricity and gas unit prices in the UK are capped at 34p and 10p, respectively, under the Energy Price Guarantee. This will allay some of the worries about growing energy costs, but many households will still be unable to afford to heat their homes in the upcoming months.
So, here are four methods that, according to studies, households can consume less energy in time for the winter and so save money.
Air-dry your laundry: Around 12% of home electricity use in the UK is attributed to washing and drying clothes.
An energy-saving alternative to machine washing is commonly suggested: hand washing.
However, current washing machines are extremely energy-efficient; a 9 kg wash typically uses 0.5-kilowatt hours. This uses a lot less energy than hand washing, which uses 0.82-kilowatt hours on average. As considerably less hot water is needed when using a washing machine, even inefficient ones tend to consume less energy than hand washing.
Greater energy savings can be made by restricting the use of the tumble dryer. A single cycle of a tumble dryer can consume up to 4.5-kilowatt hours of energy. The pricing cap means that each cycle will cost £1.50.
I determined that the typical household could save over £130 a year by switching to air-drying laundry.
Make fewer hot water use: The German city of Hannover turned off the hot water in all public restrooms earlier this year due to severe gas shortages.
Even if drastic energy-saving solutions like this are implausible, the UK’s hot water production represents about 25% of all residential energy use. There are numerous ways for homes to utilize less hot water.
One strategy is to take shorter showers. Nine minutes of high-pressure showering consumes about 4.3 kilowatt hours of gas. This will cost households 44p each shower at the pricing cap. Households can save 15p every shower by limiting the length of time spent in the shower to six minutes.
Making sure your hot water tank is properly insulated might also help you save money. This will lower the cost of heating the water and prolong its warmth.
Installing a low-flow shower head is an alternative strategy. By doing this, the water flow is constrained while the high-pressure shower experience is maintained. A shower will use less hot water at lower flow rates. This might result in annual savings of almost £100 for families who take two nine-minute showers on average each day.
A low-flow shower head, however, will only function well in locations where the water pressure is already strong enough. A low-pressure shower that is already flowing slowly would become a trickle.
Utilize heating more effectively: Making sure that heating is not wasted is crucial as the energy situation worsens. According to research, turning down the thermostat when people are away or asleep could save energy consumption by up to 30%.
To achieve this, either manually lower the thermostat or completely switch off the heating. A smart thermostat might be a good investment for individuals who frequently forget to turn the heat down. These allow heating to be reduced while the house is empty and can be adjusted remotely via a mobile device or automatically with presence sensors.
Heating empty rooms also waste energy. One technique to regulate the temperature in various rooms is via thermostatic radiator valves. They can be configured to modify the temperature in each room and control the flow of hot water through radiators.
Thermostatic radiator valves can significantly reduce energy use. According to one study, they cause homes with heating controls to use 10%–18% less energy than homes without them. To avoid wasting electricity, it is crucial that the doors between rooms stay closed.
Improve insulation: Britain’s homes are incredibly energy inefficient, despite the fact that we can use heating more effectively. One of Europe’s least-insulated housing stocks is located there.
One strategy to lower your energy consumption is to increase your insulation. The quantity of heat lost via a single glass window can be reduced in half with secondary glazing in the form of window shutters. I estimated that the average UK home might save more than £50 a year on heating bills as a result.
However, window shutters are not always an effective short-term energy-saving measure. Installation of shutters can be expensive, and if done on the outside of a structure, planning approval would be needed.
Instead, a less expensive method of storing heat is to close the blinds or curtains at night and during cold spells. According to research, blinds can cut the amount of heat that escapes through windows by up to 38%.
Small financial investments and behavioral changes can significantly lower energy use. They can ease the energy issue if broadly adopted. While many will experience immediate relief as a result of the Energy Price Guarantee, investments in long-term energy-saving measures like insulation must be given first priority.