When we moved into our current house, we got ourselves a smart metre to monitor our gas and electricity use. If you ignore the fact that I can’t help nervously glancing at it every time I go past to see how big a bill I’m racking up with the current weather, it was one of the best things we could have done. Since we’ve installed it, we have been watching how much energy we use and, so far, have reduced our bill by about £10 a month without significantly impacting our lifestyle. Here’s what we’ve done so far…
1. Unplugged the smart metre: Yes, it came with a plug and the first thing we did was plug it in. Now it’s working off batteries, which is a much better option.
2. Switched off appliances: Anything with the socket turned on continues to use some electricity even when you aren’t using it at the time. Think kettles, toasters, straighteners, and hairdryers and anything in standby mode; according to the Energy Saving Trust, turning off equipment at the socket vs. leaving it on standby can save you £30 a year.
3. Begun boiling water by the cup: We had a tendency to fill the kettle up every time we made a cup of tea. Now we boil only as much water as we need, saving money with every cuppa.
4. Turned off the lights. Lightening accounts for around 15% of a households electricity bill (again, according to the Energy Saving Trust). That’s a pretty substantial amount. We were in the habit of leaving lights on as we wandered from room to room. Now we turn them off as we go in and out of rooms.
5. Stopped the overnight or non-stop charging: My husband and I both work from home, using laptops we used to continuously leave charging. We also tended to leave our phones plugged in overnight, even when they were fully or almost fully charged. Now, we charge our laptops when the batteries get to 10% and our phones during the day so we can see when they can be unplugged.
6. Line dried our clothes: This is a bit of a seasonal one but I remember growing up we didn’t have a tumble dryer, everything went on the line. Now, I’m going back to my childhood and hanging things out to dry. When I can’t, I’m making sure my dryer is set to dry based on weight so it only uses as much heat (and energy) as is needed.
7. Run full loads. This applies to the washing machine and the dishwasher. Gone are the days when we used them for a few shirts or a few dishes. Now they are full when we run them on the most eco-friendly setting (think cold water for washing machines and the cooler setting for dishwashers).
I am pretty sure we aren’t the only household out there that uses more energy than we need to. What about you – are you an energy spender or saver? And if you’re the latter, what do you do to keep the bills down?