Here are seven actions you can take to reduce your energy bills and at the same time reduce your impact on the planet for good!
Our current energy prices are eye-wateringly high, and likely to go up for the average household by 40% in April. The energy price guarantee goes from £2,500 to £3,000 and we lose the £400 grant we got last year. And there is no guarantee that pensioners will get the £300 extra in the autumn.
Even worse is the devastating impact of fuel poverty on people in Shropshire.
The “End Fuel Poverty Coalition” has calculated that around 72,000 households (1/3rd of the total in the county of Shropshire) will now be in fuel poverty! This is based on the latest price figures and government (BEIS) data.
While the price of energy is forecast by the Cornwall Institute to reduce to around £2,200 for the average householder by the end of the year, that will be still around twice what we were paying pre-pandemic – but there is no guarantee.
The good news is we can act now to save money, and the better news for the planet is that we will reduce our dependence on gas and oil. Most scientists state that our use of gas and oil causes heatwaves (remember July last year?), floods (remember February this year) and food shortages! UK Farmers do not want to produce salad crops right now because of the cost of energy.
Our electricity is made from gas and oil as well, so the more we reduce our electricity usage, the better.
Seven things you can do to save energy and your money
1. Turn down the thermostat
Check if your thermostat setting is right and see if the timer is right for you. Reduction of your heating (if you can do this without damaging your health) by just 1o C can save up to 10 % of your heating bill, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
2. Switch off unnecessary electricity
You can do some simple things like switching off devices like TVs that are on standby. The Energy Saving Trust estimates you can save £65 per year by doing that.
Avoid using a tumble dryer if you have one. That could save £70 per year. Stop overfilling the kettle, which could save £40 per year.
Change your light bulbs to the new LED types. They last longer and are much cheaper.
3. Mind the gap!
Go around the house and find out if you have gaps around doors and windows, and get some insulating tape to fill them in, or put a cushion along the bottom of the door to keep the warmth in. Close the curtains as early as you can to keep the warmth in.
4. Insulating your home
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that up to nearly half of our energy costs leak out into the atmosphere!
So, look at your insulation and see what action you can take on your walls, the loft and windows. If you need to get a review of your options then you should get in touch with the local Marches Energy Agency, which is a brilliant organisation. Call 0800 112 3743 or email email@example.com. They can let you know how you can improve your insulation and what grants are available.
5. Air-source heat pump
Take a look at new technology like air-source heat pumps, which will cost about the same to run as a gas-fired system at home because the efficiency gains are balanced out by the higher cost of electricity (at today’s prices).
This market is getting more competitive. Both Octopus Energy and British Gas are offering basic systems for a cost of £ 3,000 or less (which includes the £5,000 grant from the government boiler upgrade scheme).
6. Solar energy
If you want independence from oil and gas, you or your landlord should look at investing in Solar Panels.
These will sit on your roof, and whenever the sun is shining, will provide you with the electricity to heat your home and so on. Battery storage technology is improving so that you can store electricity when you need it for when the sun does not shine.
7. Invest in a Wind turbine
Did you know that you can invest in an organisation called Ripple Energy which allows you to share in the cost and benefits of a wind turbine? You then get to buy your electricity at the (much cheaper) cost of wind power.
A householder using around the average of 2,500 kWh per annum could pay £1,700 to invest in the wind farm and then could see savings of around £375 per year, based on current costs.
What is wrong with the energy market?
Finally, we all need to question energy companies, MPs and councillors on why they are not changing the energy market to help consumers, and their voters by pricing in line with wind power.
The current auction pricing mechanism for electricity leads to costs to consumers which are based on the incredibly high prices of oil and gas. These are around 10 times more than the cost of renewables (wind, sun and water power).
The government bought wind power last year (September 2022) at a cost of £48 per unit; this compares with an equivalent cost of around £466 per unit of running a gas-fired power station.
That is a huge 90% reduction!!
If our electricity was powered entirely by renewables the total energy bill for a household could be reduced by a very healthy £2,600 per year (80%), based on current electricity costs. It would make new technology like air source heat pumps much more affordable.
It would also lead to a great reduction of the harmful gases we pump into the atmosphere!
What is good for our pockets is really good for our planet!
All it needs is for the energy industry to transform the way our prices are calculated, which will happen if we make our voices heard.
Find more ways to save money at a free workshop
The seven ways to save money through energy are just a part of the many ways you can save money by saving the planet.
Save Our Shropshire is a charity on a mission to help householders understand how they can save money by tackling climate change, thanks to a grant from Telford and Wrekin’s Climate Change fund.
They are holding several free workshops across T&W under the campaign ‘What is good for the planet is also good for the pocket!’.
If you attend a free workshop you will see how you could reduce energy bills by up to 80%, and much, much more in many different ways.
If you have found this article of interest and want to discover many more ways to save money and our planet, then come along to the Save Our Shropshire free workshop.
Click here to register for a place or turn up to an event near you!