How to Conserve Energy in the Home (and Produce Your Own)

Utility bills are among the highest monthly expenses for many of us. With record 54% energy bill hikes in the UK, they are only set to get even more expensive.  Taking into account the energy we waste in our homes, particularly electricity, these bills could become unsustainable for our pockets and our planet.

In this post, we look at ways to reduce home energy use and options for how to produce energy yourself.

Conserving energy

There are lots of little steps to take to conserve energy, waste less, and cut back on utility bills.  Here are a few you can start looking at today.

Use natural lighting and air conditioning

The best source of light is also free – the sun.  While it might not always be around, it makes sense to make use of it when it is.  Natural light is the best way to light your home and doesn’t cost anything.  So open up those blinds, pull those curtains back, and ensure plenty of that natural light pours into your home. 

In the same way, open windows and let the fresh air drift through the home rather than using air conditioning systems.  Open windows in warmer weather don’t cost anything, and the airflow is less likely to contain any bugs that can build up in air-con units.

Turn off lights when leaving the room

An oldie but a goodie! A simple way to conserve energy is to turn off lights when leaving a room.  This means they aren’t using power lighting an empty room and this will enable the bulb to last longer.  If you are a fan of smart tech, you can even get connected lightbulbs with motion sensors, which turn out automatically when you leave the room!

Switch to LED bulbs

There are a few reasons that experts are advocating switching to LED bulbs.  For starters, they last a lot longer than conventional bulbs.  The initial cost is a little higher but they are much more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, not to mention they can last up to 25 times longer.

Energy-efficient appliances

When it comes to replacing an appliance that uses electricity, look at the energy efficiency rating of a new one before committing to it.  From kettles to fridges, washing machines and dishwashers, even boilers, they all have to have a rating, with A being the best. By picking an appliance with the best rating, you’re starting off on the right foot!

Use your appliances sensibly

It’s not unusual for us to use the same program setting for every use be it with the dishwasher or washing machine, After all, it’s convenient and you know it works! It can also be tempting to run a dishwasher or washing machine when it’s half full. 

The problem here is that you could waste water and energy. Instead, make sure you use appliances at full capacity, even if it means leaving some dirty dishes from lunch lying in the dishwasher until dinner.  Take a little time to learn about the programs on your machines and select the one that uses the minimum energy required for the task.

Check your home’s insulation

One of the biggest causes of wasted energy is poor insulation.  Heat rises. If you have poor insulation in your loft, that heat escapes through the roof and is lost.  This is a disaster where your heating bills are concerned. Looking at the quality and thickness of the insulation in your loft can be key to improving your home’s energy efficiency and shaving essential pounds off your winter bills.

Producing your own power

If you’ve applied all of the above steps and want to go a little further, you could look into creating your own electricity.  There are various renewable options that can be used in almost any home to generate electricity, cut down utility bills, and even make a little money.

Solar thermal

A solar panel can be used to heat hot water alongside an existing system.  When there is sunlight, the panel generates the energy to heat water. In other words, you do not need to use gas and electricity to do so.  You may need to get a new tank that works with this kind of system and you need a roof facing within 90 degrees of south.

Photovoltaic

This is another type of solar panel that creates electricity from sunlight.  The panels are fitted to the roof so again a 90 degree of south angle is needed.  It can be expensive to set up but if you generate more power than you need, there are schemes to sell it back to utility companies; this means you can create your own electricity and sell any excess.

Wind turbines

Most wind turbines we picture are are massive structures seen in hilly fields or at sea.  However, smaller versions for home use are becoming available and if you live in the right kind of area, they may be worth considering.  There can be restrictions about where you can put them with planning permission or local regulations so check this first.

Heat pumps

These use the principles of refrigeration (vapour compression) to create heat from water, ground, or air. It is then transferred to an electric pump.  Little maintenance is available but the cost is variable depending on what source you use.  You need to ensure your home is well insulated if you go with this idea, and take time to consider the best placement of the unit as they’re not always as quiet as they’re promised to be.

Not everyone will be able to produce their own electricity but we can all do something to make our homes more energy-efficient.  Just applying a few of these ideas will reduce your energy use and your bills.

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