With the increase to the cost of living, and winter on its way, we've put together some tips to help you make carbon, energy and cost savings at home.
Money can have a big impact on mental health, if you're struggling with rising costs, find out if you’re eligible for any extra support from the gov.uk Help for Households website and what support is available in the BCP area. The Mind website also has lots of resources to help manage your money and organise your finances, along with mental health support. You can also visit Save the Student and our Financial wellbeing webpages for more information and advice on managing your budget, saving on food shopping, and what cost of living support is available.
Let your computer sleep during breaks
If you're using your own equipment, change the settings so your computer puts itself to sleep after, at most, 30 minutes of inactivity. You don't want to worry about wasted energy while enjoying a break.
“No lighty, no likey!”
When you’ve finished studying for the day, or after any use of your electronics, remember to switch off your equipment fully. If there are lights left on it means something is on standby so, remember to switch off all of them. You can save around £35 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode, and this process can also provide a clear mental signpost that your study time has finished to support your work-life balance.
Set your thermostat 1°c lower
This simple change can save £60 and 320kg of carbon emissions every year, it's almost too easy! Also, if you can, run your thermostat on a timer; Ensure it switches off when you are sleeping, cooking or at any other time when you don’t need it to save money and energy. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can save pennies really fast by setting it between 15C to 16C at night and between 18C and 20C degrees during the day. Depending on the temperature selected, it can save hundreds across a year.
Love your layers
Did you know over half of fuel bill prices go towards providing heating and hot water? If it’s getting a bit chilly, you could try putting on an extra layer before putting the heating on. Wear a jumper, snuggle up under a cosy winter duvet or go old school with a pair of long johns!
Get to know your radiators
Maximise the efficiency of your central heating system by bleeding your radiators and adjusting your settings. Top tip: the numbers on the valve (usually 1-5) don't have an impact on how hot the radiator is or how fast the room will heat up but rather limit how hot the room will be allowed to get. Rooms with little to no use are best set to one (or the snowflake symbol) to reduce the amount of gas used in the system. A programmer and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) can allow you to set the temperature for each area of your home and save even more energy and money. It may seem a strange investment, but it’ll be worth it when you’re nicely cosy and saving money!
A good thing to note is that if you’re only using one room in a house during the day, consider purchasing an electric convection heater. Though not as cost-effective as central heating, they create savings by heating only one room rather than an entire house.
Keep the heat in
Up to a third of homes' heat can be lost to draughty windows and doors. Feel around the edge of your windows and external doors and if you feel a cold draught, get some sticky back draught excluders to stop the wastage. For gaps under internal doors or around unused fireplaces use draught excluders and cover any keyholes or letterbox flaps to keep your home cosy. At the same time, take advantage of the sunlight; If it’s sunny, try keeping your curtains and blinds open and then close them after sundown. You’ll gain a lot of heat during the day and will keep it in at night, without the need for any additional heating.
Exercise keeps you warm, so try to get in as many steps or dance moves as possible during your day and enjoy a nice warm beverage to finish off.
Don't waste hot water
Set your hot water thermostat to around the 60C mark – this can save around £100 per year. You should also switch from baths to showers as well as boil kettles using only the water needed. Big water users in the form of dishwashers and washing machines should also only be used when full. Other tips to reduce your washing machine running costs include:
- Avoid running your machine repeatedly for small loads. If you can, wait longer to wash your clothes and fill your machine to about 80% full instead.
- If your clothes aren't stained, consider a 30°C wash – which will cut energy use by 38% on average compared to a 40°C wash – or even a 20°C wash, which will use 62% less energy.
- An energy efficient washing machine can be much cheaper than average to run.
Switch to LEDs
LED bulbs save around £10 a year compared 75-watt incandescent bulbs. That figure is based on 503.5 hours' average per year - the amount for a typical kitchen or lounge.
For more money saving tips check out:
- Money Saving Expert’s Energy saving checklist
- Which: 10 ways to save on energy bills and Guide to appliance running costs
- Energy Saving Trust: Quick tips to save energy and the Top 5 energy consuming appliances.
Whichever way you choose to save energy at home, even small changes can help you save costs, time and stress. If you have any questions or want more ideas, check out the Energy Saving Trust and Dorset based energy experts, Ridgewater Energy, or contact the Sustainability Team at [email protected].