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Energy saving on a budget

man making home improvements while his dog watches

Most of us want to do our bit to save energy, reduce carbon emissions and save some money on our bills at the same time. However, it’s not always easy to make big changes when you’re short of cash, so we’ve put together some ideas about what you can do on a variety of budgets, so there’s options for everyone.

All our costs and savings are based on a typical semi-detached house on gas heating, savings will vary according to property type and how it is heated. But whatever your property type, saving energy has to be a good idea.

The good news is that you don’t actually have to spend anything to start saving money.

We’ve got more tips on home energy efficiency on our website or read on for what you can do at each price point.

Some simple behaviour changes around the house can save significant amounts of energy, carbon and cash, including:

  • turning down the thermostat by 1 degree C
  • not overfilling the kettle when boiling water
  • turning appliances off rather than leaving them on standby
  • ensuring lights are switched off when leaving the room.

Doing all these things over the course of a year could save around 2,150 kWh of energy. That equates to approximately £150 and 450 kg of CO2.

So, you’ve already established some positive energy saving habits – great news. The next step could be to put some simple energy efficiency measures into place at home.

Installing reflective radiator panels could save you up to 360 kWh of energy per panel each year. That adds up to potential savings of £13 and 70 kg CO2 per panel.

Draughtproofing doors is another low-cost energy saving measure at an average of £37 per household. In return, you’re looking at savings of around 82 kWh, £4 or 20 kg of CO2 annually.

For a little more money you can replace traditional lightbulbs with energy efficient LEDs. Across an average house this will cost around £70 and should save 250 kWh, £35 a year and 70 kg of CO2.

One of the biggest savers of energy is installing a room thermostat, which can more effectively control the temperature in your home. This costs around £80 but can net a massive saving of 1,300 kWh each year. That’s £55 or 240 kg of CO2 making it a great energy saving investment.

Once the money you have to spend increases a little, so do the options of energy saving measures you can install in your home. Another relatively low-cost option would be to look at draughtproofing your windows, which should cost in the region of £160. This would save around 390 kWh of energy a year or 80 kg of CO2.

If you’ve not yet got insulation in your loft, adding in 270mm of insulation to a loft should cost around £300. This is a massive energy saver, racking up 2,800 kWh per year, equivalent to £135 on your bill or 550 kg of CO2.

It’s a good idea to keep future energy efficiency in mind when you’re undertaking any major home improvements. Installing effective insulation or upgrading your energy system will pay dividends over the years in terms of effective operation and reduced bills.

For example, insulating a flat roof effectively will cost £1,400 but it will save 3,600 kWh of energy or £175 a year, which adds up to 710 kg of CO2 annually.

Replacing an old inefficient E-rated boiler with an A-rated condensing gas boiler and thermostatic controls requires an initial layout of around £2,000. The payback comes in the form of £220 a year reduction in your bills as it saves 5,300 kWh or 990 kg of CO2 each year. That might ease the pain a little when you next need to replace your boiler.

All of these energy efficiency measures add up: so whatever you’ve got your budget – even if it’s nothing at all – you can contribute to greater energy efficiency across the UK, which all helps cut down on our carbon emissions.

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