Energy usage in lockdown

May 1, 2020

The Coronavirus has impacted all of our lives in unprecedented ways. Most of us now spend all our time at home, many of us have reduced incomes, and we’re also becoming more aware of what a future impacted by climate crisis could look like.

As our household costs increase because we’re all inside, many gas and electricity companies are offering support with payments during this time. But there are also ways that we can adjust our own habits to help ourselves save money while adapting to a more sustainable system of living.

The Centre for Sustainable Energy has a wide array of resources providing both practical and aspirational support. There’s loads of information about how to cut costs, how to reduce your carbon footprint, and what external companies are doing to help yourself and the planet through this time.

CSE has outlined several helpful ways to cut down on energy costs while spending the days at home. We’ve compiled some of our favourite bits of useful information here, but it’s definitely worth checking out their website for more help. Which? Also has some great resources here.

Energy saving tips:

  1. Set your heating controls

CSE recommends setting your thermostat to between 18 and 21 degrees, and putting your timer or programmer on to manage at what times the heating comes on.

It’s also useful to make sure your heating system is working properly and efficiently, so check radiators to make sure they’re warm everywhere while they’re on. If they’re cold at the top but hot on the bottom, this means there’s a “bleed” and you’ll have to release air from the radiator using a screwdriver. You may need to increase pressure in your system after clearing this.

You can also make sure that the settings on your boiler, water, and heating systems aren’t at full capacity.

2. Stop chilly breezes coming in the house

You can check for draughts and DIY some solutions. Use a foam draught excluder or gasket sealer on windows and doors, or take caulk (builder’s mate) to fill holes in the wall or under skirting boards. You can also put curtains on doors to help keep heat in, or a second pair of curtains on windows. Placing foil panels behind radiators to reflect out heat is also useful.

3. Only use what you need.

Boiling the kettle uses quite a lot of energy, so try to only boil what you need instead of refilling every time. You may also find yourself using the dishwasher more frequently, so make sure it’s full before you put it on, and use the eco settings as much as possible.

4. Alternative solutions to everyday appliances

Products that produce heat tend to use the most energy, so try drying clothes outside instead of in the tumble dryer, air dry your hair instead of using a hair dryer, washing your clothes on cold water settings, and using the oven less.

What energy suppliers are doing to help customers

For a more detailed breakdown of what specific companies are offering in support at this time, you can look at Tully resources, or follow the link here to see what the CSE has compiled.

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