Breeze the Squeeze - 12 tips to lower the effects of the energy crisis

Climateq shares twelve easy adjustments that could make the energy crisis slightly more bearable for your wallet.

The news is painful, to say the least. After the turmoil of Brexit and the uncertainty of Covid, we now have the energy crisis caused by Russian aggression in Ukraine and the unwillingness of OPEC states to increase oil and gas production. The result is a further price increase of 54% by April followed by another one in October – even the latter has not been confirmed yet, it is unlikely it’s not going to happen.

Aside from sitting in the dark and eating raw vegetables, what can we do to alleviate the squeeze on our budget? Here are a few very simple, but very effective tricks, collated and verified from several reliable sources:

  • Starting with the most obvious one – your thermostat. I admit, I’m guilty as charged when it comes lounging around at home at 21 degrees C. Little did I know that lowering that by one degree to 20 saves £85 per year on average. That’s 50 litres of petrol or a really nice meal for 2.

  • And while we’re at it, assuming that you have a modern central heating in your house, does it need to be on a timer? Of course, it is nice to return from work to a warm home but turning the heating on only when you need it can potentially knock off treble digits off your heating bill every year.

  • The spare bedroom heating in my flat has always been on full whack, until recently. Unless you are constantly in and out, just turn it to a minimum without turning it off completely, and keep the door shut. Same goes for the main bedroom if not occupied during the day.

  • Fair enough, there are certain things you would want to wash at a higher temperature, but it is proven that every-day items can easily be washed at 20 degrees C, especially if you are using liquid detergent instead of powder. Try reducing the spins on your cycle, too.

  • Do you have a tumble dryer? Huge energy guzzlers, so why not dry on a rack instead? I have mine always close to a radiator, and the only thing you need to remember is to open the window every so often – which also aids to heat your home more effectively.

  • Have you got any radiators on external walls? The heat loss here can be immense, but you can counter that by fitting reflective foil behind the radiator to reduce the rate of heat loss in any room. You can buy normal foil in a supermarket for less than £1, or you can get specially designed aluminium tape at your DIY store – well worth doing.

  • Which? magazine tested homes without loft insulation and found that you could save well over £200 per year if you haven’t insulated your loft already.

  • Our front door used to let in a lot of draught. A draught excluding cushion can minimise that quite effectively. My wife made one herself by rolling up a blanket and keeping it in shape with ribbons. Looks quite nice, too.

  • Keeping appliances on stand-by can come to just under £100 per year. Avoid using stand-by modes on TVs, smart speakers, laptops/PCs and game consoles where possible.

  • That’s the easiest one but so worth doing – swapping just one old-style light bulb with an energy-saving LED saves around £7 per year. Since they are also longer lasting, they can knock off around £180 from your energy bills, compared to an old-style halogen bulb. Even if your halogen bulbs still have life left in them, research showed that getting rid of them in favour of LEDs saves by far more than the cost of the bulb over its lifetime, with additional energy savings as a welcome bonus.

  • A normal 3kW kettle uses 6p to heat 2 litres of water. How many people still boil a full kettle for one cup of tea? What I do is pour the water I will need from the tap into the mug and from there into the kettle to ensure I don’t heat water I essentially don’t need. That way a one-person household can save up to £30 a year.

  • I felt awful having to run the oven for 50 minutes just to give me a baked potato. With a steam cooker, however, you can expect to cook faster by about 20 – 30% than with a regular oven without losing any of the taste and save lots of energy on top. Here’s a very brief YouTube video that shows you how.

The above may help you beat the crunch just by a little but not insignificant amount every month. And remember, each kW saved also reduces the CO₂ output of your household by 233 grams, and that will add up.

Gérard Fabrice Guminski

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