Reduce the electricity you use

We are all guilty of taking electricity for granted. There are many simple things you can do to reduce what you use, significantly lower your impact on climate change and save money too!

Switch off appliances when you’ve finished

It makes no sense to leave appliances on if you’re not using them – you’re simply wasting energy, losing money and contributing to climate change. Turn that TV off when you’re not watching it!

Avoid leaving appliances on standby

Televisions, DVDs and other appliances left on standby pump one million tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year. The wasted energy could power 400,000 homes. Up to 85 per cent of power used by a video recorder is consumed on standby. Make sure you turn them off properly.

Don’t leave appliances charging unnecessarily

If you leave your phone or other gadgets charging they continue to use electricity even once charged. When the charger feels hot that’s because it’s wasting electricity. Make sure you unplug them as soon as they’ve finished.

Use timers to control when appliances are on

Some appliances – for example set-top-boxes, modems and digital radios – draw power even when you’re not using them. Why not use a timer switch to ensure they only come on at times when you’re in the house?

Switch off lights when you leave the room

It only takes a second to switch a light on when you re-enter a room so why leave it on when you leave? It wastes energy and harms the planet. Also check out the Energy-saving Light Bulb details in this section.

Make good use of natural lighting

There’s absolutely no point in having lights on when the sun is shining outside. By opening the curtains you’ll not only enjoy the natural daylight you’ll also reduce your energy use and save money.

Only fill the kettle with the water you need

The electricity used by boiling a kettle is proportional to the amount of water inside. So if you boil a full kettle for just one mug you can cause up to 8 times the carbon dioxide emissions. Think before your boil.

Use lower temperatures on your washing machine

Modern washing machines are just as effective at lower temperatures and washing clothes at 40°C rather than 60°C can reduce carbon emissions by a third. So do your washes at lower temperatures where possible.

Only put full loads in the washing machine

It’s simple – doing two washes instead of one has twice the impact on the planet. So wait until you’ve got a full load before washing, or else make sure you use the “economy” setting.

Dry clothes naturally rather than in a tumble dryer

Tumble driers use a large amount of energy so try to dry your clothes naturally to reduce carbon emissions. If you do tumble dry clothes then make sure you wring out or spin dry them first so they’re less wet.

Let food cool down before putting it in the fridge

The warmer something is when you put it in the fridge the more electricity the fridge has to use to cool it down. Before putting cooked food in the fridge make sure it’s cooled down properly.

Don’t leave the fridge door open

If you leave your fridge door open it tries to cool down your whole room, using vastly more energy. Make sure you keep the door shut and check that the door seals properly to keep the cold in.

Regularly defrost your fridge/freezer
By defrosting your fridge or freezer regularly you help it to run efficiently and cheaply. By reducing the amount of electricity it needs to use you’re also reducing your impact on climate change.

Keep refrigeration equipment away from heaters

If your fridge or freezer is next to a hot appliance then it has to work even harder to keep your food at the right temperature, using more energy, wasting your money and causing carbon dioxide emissions.

Save your 20%
By following the energy saving advice on this website it should be fairly straightforward to save 20% of your current energy use. Achieving this simple target will dramatically cut your carbon emissions, help prevent climate change and save you up to £250 per year on household bills.

The Energy Saving Trust provides a range of invaluable advice on energy saving. You can also call their free phone helpline on 0800 512 012 and do a simple “home energy check”.

Visit their Save Your 20% website for more details.