With all that is going on in the energy world, we understand you’re tired of tips thrown at you as we know you’re doing all you can. However, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce one of our lovely customers Andrew and share some thoughts and changes he has done to reduce his energy. Andrew and his lovable cat live alone, he decided to make some significant changes over the years including some interesting ones like using a 2 kW oil filled radiator to heat a room (by accident!). “I wanted to spoil my cat with a portable 2 kW oil filled radiator so that I could put it in whichever room she wanted to sleep in at night and she’d always be nice and warm. But if you know anything about cats, you would know that they just are not that predictable so I had left the radiator in the living room.
This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, this oil radiator warmed up the room leaving me only using 400 kWh a month of electricity on the night rate, during those cold winter months.” Let’s all be honest no one would have thought it. We spoke to Andrew on a number of things about how he managed to keep reducing his electricity consumption by more than a half and what his main objective was. “I monitor my energy usage more out of principle. Like water, you need gas and electricity, my main objective is to pay as little as I can for them.” Read on to see how Andrew achieved this:
Learning about kWh.
"You cannot measure energy savings in pounds because energy prices/tariffs change and if you’re like me you pay by monthly direct debit your usage costs are smoothed out over the year.”
Track your usage.
“I’ve taken my meter readings every month since 2007, recording them in an Excel spreadsheet to help me compare year on year usage. This helps me see what energy savings I’ve made. My spreadsheet also has columns for the Standing Charge, VAT etc and the Gas is converted into kWh from Cubic Metres. I put the meter readings in and the total cost matches my bills. Utility bills aren’t complicated if you approach it logically and analyse it in a way that suits you. Personally, I think that it’s going to be difficult for anyone to make savings if they only ever look at their bills in pounds."
Using the weather forecast.
“My house faces south so if it’s a mild March for example and we’re in for a few sunny days at 15C but the nights are around 1 or 2C, I’ll leave the heating off. The sun warms the front of the house sufficiently and wont need heating."
Switching off lights.
“My living room has four 60 watt spots, I rarely use them unless I have visitors. The bulk of my TV watching is in the early mornings and the evenings, so my 49” TV throws out sufficient light for me to not need the lights on. Elsewhere around the house, I only put the lights on where I really need them, i.e. if I’m going upstairs I’ll put the landing light on but not the Hall light."
Upgrade appliances and boilers.
“A new fridge/freezer saved me a further 40 kWh per month. It’s important to note that new appliances do not pay back in a short space of time but what it does show is how much electricity some older appliances do use. I also ended up replacing the boiler, radiators and all pipework 4 years ago. All these made a difference."
“If I’m not using something, I switch it off. I’ve always done this and it seems obvious to me, but I know people who leave a lot of lights on, the TV etc. It all adds up."
Turn down the thermostat.
“This is probably the most obvious but it makes a difference. I also recommend a programmable 7 day thermostat/timer which I override based on my experience as to whether I want it on for longer or shorter – again depending on what the weather’s likely to do."
Using a steamer for cooking.
Using a steamer when cooking helps, one gas/electric ring can do potatoes and vegetables at the same time. Vegetables cook a bit quicker and taste better."
“Whilst I was top of my energy, smart meters helped me see the kWh increase for each appliance. Even then it’s obvious that a 3kw kettle is going to increase consumption by 3kw." Andrew was really adamant about being able to understand kWh, we all need to be realising how much exactly we are using. He spoke about how “As a youngster when bills were quarterly and based on each quarter’s usage, I remember my Dad reading his meters and checking his bills the old fashioned way – paper and a pen as calculators weren’t around then. This is probably when smart meters come into use, they do all the calculations for you and show exactly how much you are using but without the hassle."
Still feel like you need that extra help with lowering your energy? Our Energy Specialists have accumulated proven energy-saving tips that could make a real difference to reducing your bill and put them in one place.
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