Energy is a hot topic at the moment with costs soaring many of us are thinking more about the energy we use! It's at the heart of our modern lifestyle; cooking our food, heating our homes, powering our cars and fuelling our bodies. Lots of people will think about electricity, but in fact we are consuming energy across every aspect of our lives. On average, we consume almost five times more gas to heat our homes then we use electricity for our appliances. Taking a flight consumes a huge amount of energy, releasing emissions that affect the climate. In fact, aviation is one of the greatest contributors to climate change. Being Vegan for one year would only save CO2 equivalent to that of a one way flight to New York. Calculating, how much the energy we consume contributes to climate change is an extremely complex matter, but my mantra can help in almost every aspect of life and be applied here: Less is More.
Do you know how much energy you use? If not it might be worth getting clued up; if you don't know how much you use it's hard to track how to reduce your use and energy reduction is by far the most effective way of reducing our impact and our bills! So what are my top tips that keep our energy bills and consumption low? 🌍Most energy use in the home is used for heating; water and the rooms. An easy hack is to simply reduce the number of rooms that we heat; maybe by turning off radiators at the source in rooms we don't use, as well as encouraging good insulation to increase efficiency(reflectors, lined curtains, and draught excluders). If you get a little chilly try putting on jumpers, socks, or blankets before reaching for the thermostat. Moving to electrical heating is going to be the heating of the future; burning natural gas will always produce carbon dioxide and electric heating can be highly efficient.
And what about water?
When it comes to heating water; limit baths, boils and waste and make sure you fix any leaks or boiler issues. Shorter or cooler showers and thinking about using greywater from baths, pans or kettles can really make a difference too! 🌍Align your appliances: make sure your appliances are energy efficient, well-maintained and run as effectively as possible, for example use the oven for multiple items at once, use full loads in your dishwasher/washing machine/tumble dryer/freezer, avoid multiple unnecessary boiling of the kettle/uses of the microwave/charging of devices/leaving things on standby. These are tiny habit changes but could make a massive difference; do you REALLY need to charge your phone overnight, or would an hour or two do? 🌍Forget fuel: the energy we use to power our cars in the form of petrol or diesel contributes to climate change. Converting the cars we drive to electricity will be a an important step to make on reducing our environmental impact, but this still isn't feasible or cost-effective for many of us so reduction is the ultimate goal; living without a car, or one less car or planning trips more carefully has far more impact. 🌍Switching supplier to renewable electricity suppliers is one of the simplest things we can do to reduce our environmental impact. Consider where our electricity is coming from; we're lucky in the UK that the environmental impact of our electricity has reduced in recent years due to the impact of the Climate Change Act, which has driven the inclusion of renewable energy supplies into the grid. 🌍Check out Ethical Consumer for their rundown on green energy suppliers; some suppliers produce their own green electricity but most buy green electricity from other producers, or use carbon offsetting to reduce the overall impact of electricity emissions. Interesting fact: The amount of green electricity available varies depending on the weather and how much electricity is being used at any given time. Therefore, if it's windy and sunny outside then the electricity we are using is greener. There is a handy website to understand when this might be at shouldibake.com. 🌍Consider solar panels; you can see when you’re using electricity from your own roof with the help of your smart meter display. Again, this is a biggie and maybe not accessible to everyone, but if you’re really interested in generating your own green electricity then it's something to look into, or consider when moving to a new house. I'm a big believer that energy should follow the hierarchy of recycling: reduce, reuse and recycle, and switch to green sources for what is left. Hopefully following a few of these simple tips can help you reduce your energy use and your bills!