Easy wins are those measures which can be adopted without major cost, disruption and can often be installed yourself. They are often the measures which can make the biggest difference to your energy consumption. The interesting thing about starting with easy wins is that they are a slippery slope, but in a good way. Once you start thinking about them, your mindset changes and saving energy becomes part of your daily routine. It becomes less of a bother.
Here are some of our favourites:
Read the manufacturer’s instructions for ideal settings for thermostats, boilers, cylinders, fridges etc.. Many householders keep all of their settings on the highest possible one. This uses more energy than is necessary and might not necessarily produce the best results.
A recent DECC/DEFRA/EST study on household electricity usage suggested that the out of the households they studied, they spent between £50 – £86 per year on standby appliances. That doesn’t even include lights left on in empty rooms etc.. Ensure that at least at night, your appliances are turned off. We know that there are lots of fancy devices out there which will eventually allow you to turn the lights off with a flick on an iphone, but for now, it’s easy enough to just turn the switch off!
It’s much easier to reduce consumption if you know what you’re consuming in the first place. You can also pat yourself on the back when you can see the numbers coming down.
Adequate controls are extremely important. Thermostats for your heating system should be zoned where possible and also installed in rooms that are actually used. We can’t tell you how many houses have thermostats installed in hallways or stairwells, which are usually cooler than the living rooms. This results in higher energy consumption.
Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) should be fitted to radiators to allow room by room control. What’s the point in heating rooms which you are not using?
Use the timer on your heating system so that you don’t keep the heating on for longer than is necessary.
Draught-proofing prevents cold air from entering your property and warm air from escaping in an uncontrolled manner. It therefore makes your home more comfortable in the winter. Check windows, around doors (including basement doors), cracks in floorboards, suspended floorboards, pipework leading outside etc.. Chimneys that aren’t used should also be draught-proofed with e.g. Chimney Balloons (www. http://www.chimneyballoon.co.uk/).
When your existing bulbs go out replace them with LEDs or CFLs. They use less power and last longer. There are a number of things to watch out for though. Check the colour temperature, energy use in watts and lumens for brightness. In addition, if you’re replacing halogen bulbs with LEDs, you need to check that the LED works with your transformer, and that it works with any dimmers you have. The best thing to do is try a sample and see how well it works.
If your loft is easily accessible and has no damp or condensation problems, loft insulation is an easy win. You can even install it yourself. It will even give you a good reason to clear out your loft!
Once you’ve done the easy things, you’ll need to look at measures that require a bit more disruption and a bit more capital. There’re hundreds of measures that can be adopted and lots of different subsidies available. There’s no substitute for some expert advice. greentomatoenergy can provide you with an energy survey of your property which will analyse your consumption, point out easy wins and then look at larger items. We will help you to prioritise measures, taking account of the way you use your property, your future plans for the property, your budget and your appetite for disruption. We’ll also help you through the planning process and variety of different subsidies and financing mechanisms available.