With the ongoing cost of living crisis still rearing its ugly head, keeping energy bills as low as possible is on everyone’s mind. Amidst this pressing need to cut back and be more energy-conscious, research from the Home Builders Federation found that a new house is 59% cheaper to heat than its older equivalents, resulting in cost savings of £395 over 12 months.
As well as opting for a new build, there are some easy, actionable ways in which homeowners can take matters into their own hands, making small switches and subtle changes to their lifestyle and daily habits to bring down energy consumption and costs. Mark Kershaw, Group Head of Sustainability at award-winning housebuilder Crest Nicholson, shares his tips on how homeowners can feel more in control of their household finances, whilst also leading a lower carbon lifestyle.
1. Monitor your consumption – As the saying goes, what gets measured gets managed. Installing a smart meter with an in-home energy display is a great way to give homeowners the much-needed control and oversight of their energy consumption in real time. Consumers can track their energy expenditure and adjust behaviours as needed, empowering them to make savings as a result. This transparency also means there should be no surprises when you get your energy bill through; you can say goodbye to often-inaccurate estimates in favour of accurate billing.
2. Wash on lower temperatures, and only do full loads – The majority of the energy consumed by a washing machine is used to heat the water. Opting for lower temperatures when washing your clothes (such as 30°C or lower) and choosing ‘eco’ settings for your dishwasher can therefore reduce bills and is better for the environment. Making sure your cycles are full helps further limit unnecessary water and electricity use. If you can’t avoid a half empty load, use a half load setting if available on your machine.
3. Increase the productivity of your appliances – There are several quick fixes when it comes to increasing the productivity of appliances, thereby ensuring they don’t have to work harder and/or longer to get the job done. For example, make sure you regularly clean your washing machine and dishwasher filters and do maintenance cycles to enable them to work their best. Elsewhere, bleeding your radiators, defrosting your freezer regularly, and checking refrigerator doors are properly sealed will help to enhance the respective devices’ efficacy so they don’t use unnecessary energy. This will ultimately lower their running costs, too.
4. Make the most of the outdoors – As we move into the summer months, it’s the perfect opportunity to cut back on tumble dryer costs by hanging your washing outside. You can easily get through three washing loads on a warm summer’s day. Even when the weather isn’t conducive to drying, opting to hang your clothes on a drying rack indoors can also reduce energy bills.
5. Control your thermostat – Heating and hot water account for a significant proportion of a home’s energy bills and make up the highest proportion of UK households’ carbon emissions. Needless to say, lowering the temperature of the heating in your home can save you money. Whilst the prospect of a cold home is not an appealing one, even a one-degree difference can save you money. You could try reducing the temperature by 1°C at a time to ensure you feel comfortable. The World Health Organisation notes that for the general population, 18°C is a safe and well-balanced indoor temperature. Crest Nicholson’s new house types have been meticulously designed to improve the home’s thermal efficiency and ability to retain heat, reducing the energy required to keep a home warm.
6. Manage water in the bathroom – There are plenty of opportunities to reduce the water used in the bathroom. This is particularly important with large parts of England under water stress. You can prevent drips (according to water.org.uk a dripping tap can waste more than 5,000 litres per year!), turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, invest in an efficient shower head, reduce the temperature of your shower, and choose dual flush toilets. Using less hot water will also reduce your energy consumption and associated bills.
7. Be shrewd in the kitchen – The kitchen is another source of unnecessary waste – but there are many small habits you can rethink. For example, an electric kettle consumes a lot of energy – only fill it with the amount of water you need to make your brew. Other simple actions include putting lids on pans to retain heat, batch cooking to bring down your overall cooking time, defrosting your food naturally and paying attention to how long it takes to pre-heat your oven – it may not be as long as you think!
8. Make the most of your energy efficient appliances – One of the benefits of buying a new home is that it comes with newer appliances that have much better efficiency ratings compared to their predecessors. All Crest Nicholson homes are fitted with energy efficient appliances as well as LED lightbulbs that have longer lifespans than halogens, leading to long term cost savings for homeowners.
9. Switch off lights and turn appliances off at the plug – Perhaps one of the most obvious actions is to turn appliances off at the wall wherever possible and switching lights off when you’re not using them. Electricity used by devices that are on standby mode is termed ‘Phantom load’ and while likely only consuming small amounts of energy, it can add up with the growing number of appliances in our homes.
To find out more information about the new build homes on offer at Crest Nicholson, please visit: https://www.crestnicholson.com/
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