Cost of living increases are a reality for that none of us can ignore! This post is about the 11 meaningful ways you can cut your energy consumption without having to spend a fortune to do it!
Meaningful and sustainable
I’m all about sustainability I really am, but as long as it is meaningful. I have had the experience lately of speaking to a contractor involved in deep energy retrofitting of older houses in my area. With cost of living increases almost entirely as a result of increased fuel costs, making houses more energy efficient is a good idea for sure.
Creating Waste To Decrease Carbon Emissions?
What I have found out about energy retrofitting is that the waste generated to convert older houses into ‘eco houses’ is astronomical. Windows, doors, radiators, piping, wiring, ranges, stoves, fireplaces and oil boilers, and more, need to be removed from older houses to do the retrofit. External cladding and the removal of chimneys is also a part of the job. It seems that the waste generated now to save on carbon emissions in the future may take decades to take effect. The almost complete dependence on electricity in the current climate is not something that sits well with me either I must say.
Reduce Energy Consumption Without Creating Any Waste!
Without going too deep into the situation, it made me think about how I could cut my energy consumption without creating more waste or indeed without having to spend a fortune to make savings. Sometimes these things are just easier than we think. Anyway, these are the things I have been doing lately to save on rising energy costs. I hope you will find them useful.
In this post I will describe the following 11 tips on keeping your energy costs as low as you can;
- Use a clothes horse instead of a dryer most of the time.
- Save up to buy insulated/ thermal curtains and install them throughout your house.
- Cover your external doors with floor length curtains.
- Leave blankets on couches and armchairs to keep everyone cozy when sitting down in the evening.
- Close internal doors throughout the house to retain heat in specific rooms.
- Use draft excluders on internal and external doors.
- Reduce the temperature of your washing machine to 30 degrees.
- Use space heaters to save from turning on the central heating all of the time.
- Fill a flask with boiling water in the morning to use for cups of tea throughout the day
- When you are using the oven, fill it up!
- Leave warm cardigans and socks near your desk or work space to use if it gets a bit chilly
1.Use A Clothes Horse Instead Of A Dryer Most Of The Time.
Any appliance that generates heat is an electricity drain. Clothes dryers are no different. I use my dryer very sparingly now that the squeeze on energy costs is on. With the the UK energy price cap to be lifted in April and further rises expected in October, I know I am not the only one changing their behaviour in preparation for the rise in energy costs. I currently live in Ireland where electricity costs have risen by a staggering amount during the last year or so. The UK seem to be faced with an even steeper set of increases. We are moving to the UK in the summer so with an eye on both situations, I’m getting more serious about how I organise my days, to ensure that I can commit to these energy saving activities. This clothes horse pictured above is amazing and holds at least two loads of washing.
2. Save up to buy insulated/ thermal curtains and install them throughout your house.
After my no spend year in 2017, I decided to install thermal curtains throughout the house. Cost of living increases were not on my mind back then, but to say I am happy that I did this when there was less pressure on my budget, would be an understatement. They are absolutely amazing at keeping the heat in and the breeze out. Where I live is cold for much of the year so having these curtains really helps with energy saving. They were about €100 a pair for the ceiling to floor ones that I have on the doors and about €70 for the shorter ones. I’m pretty sure that they have paid for themselves over and over in the last 4 years. They have a rubber backing on them and the ‘room side’ of the curtain is a soft almost suede-like feel. The colours are rich and really make a room very cozy and stylish.
3.Cover your external doors with floor length curtains.
This is a tip I picked up from a friend who has had a set of curtains over her front door for as long as I can remember. It’s such a clever idea. I have patio doors on the back of my house too. As I’m sure you already know, windows and doors are one of the most likely places to lose heat from your house especially if they are bit older or in disrepair. This is a lovely house but the windows and doors are not good. Covering the doors with curtains has really helped to warm my house without having to use excessive amounts of heat to do so. Look out on buy and sell sites to see if you can pick up second-hand heavy curtains to cover your doors with. You might be able to turn down the thermostat if you do!
4.Leave blankets on couches and armchairs to keep everyone cozy when sitting down in the evening.
Whether it’s cold and blustery outside or whether its a fairly mild day here, when I sit in the sitting room I love to use a blanket. It really makes me feel relaxed. On the energy saving side of things, I have a fireplace in my sitting room that I light in the coldest part of the year. I find having blankets to cozy up with to means that I don’t need to burn as much fuel to keep nice and warm when watching telly. The cost of living increases are tied directly to sharply rising fuel costs so this is obviously going to save me some money as the less fuel I burn, the less I need to buy.
5.Close internal doors throughout the house to retain heat in specific rooms.
Does this remind you of being a child? This was the mantra in the winter in my house growing up. ‘Close the door after you!’. It must have been said a hundred times a day from October to April. It is an old tip but a seriously sensible tip. If you spend most of your time in one room during the day, such as your kitchen or your office, keeping the door closed will mean the room can reach a comfortable temperature more quickly and by using less energy. I put the fire on in the sitting room later in the day most days, ready for afterschool and then close that door for the evening. Anyone that wants to relax in the sitting room for the evening is always toasty…..behind a closed door!
6. Use draft excluders on internal and external doors to combat cost of living increases.
Draft excluders are a fantastic little tip to help with keeping your home warmer and helping you to reduce your energy consumption. I picked this one up in Primark years ago. It washes in the machine really well and was cheap as chips! A follower on Instagram told me that she makes them with old jeans legs and stuffs them with various materials. Talk about being seriously frugal! Such a great tip.
7. Reduce the temperature of your washing machine to 30 degrees.
I know, I know, if you have a farmer, a mechanic or a sportspersons living in your house, a 30 degree wash may not cut it. For light-moderately soiled clothes 30 degrees is working well in my house. I use Bold washing powder and try to keep the quantity of washing powder used per wash fairly low too. The wash is costing about 20 cent per load on energy (March 9th 2022). On the topic of laundry, just washing clothes less often is a big help too. Items like jeans and cardigans do not need to be washed very often. It can really help to preserve the fabric, and unless you are doing heavy or dirty work, your underwear and socks are the only clothes that need washing after each wear. This is especially true in colder climates.
8.Use space heaters to save from turning on the central heating all of the time.
I use space heaters throughout the day in my house and move them around from room to room depending on who is spending time in which room. I find that turning the heaters on low and closing the door is a great way to warm up a small space quickly. This is a no brainer for reducing heat consumption. These heaters are oil filled and are one of the safest space heaters you can use in your home. There is less fire risk as it does not produce a flame and there are no fumes as it runs off electricity. Both of my space heaters cost less than €100 in total.
9.Fill a flask with boiling water in the morning to use for cups of tea throughout the day
Why waste that water in the kettle in the morning when you have your first cup of tea? Dig out a flask and fill it up with the water for your next cup of tea in a few hours. It will still make you a lovely cup of hot tea without costing you any extra in energy consumption.
10.When you are using the oven, fill it up!
Cook once, eat several times! Double up on this evening’s dinner and keep half back for tomorrow’s dinner, or freeze the second half and have an evening off cooking next week. If you do this often enough you’ll have to turn on your oven less often. The oven is one of the most expensive electrical appliances to run in your house. Cost of living increases will be directly tied to heat producing appliances more than any other appliances. I like to pop a couple of breads in the oven at the same time. Some days Ill do brownies or sausages for tomorrow’s breakfast all at the same time. Fill the oven once it’s on to maximise the value you get from that high cost appliance.
11.Leave warn cardigans and socks near your desk or work space to use if it gets a bit chilly
I like to be cozy. You may have worked that out by now! Here is a very simple tip but one of my favourites. Sling a cardigan over your office chair and if you feel a little chilly your cozy cardi is just there waiting to be used! The cozy socks are a tip that I love too. If I’m particularly tired I find my feet get cold and I hate to have cold feet. These socks were a Christmas present from my daughter.