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How to save energy at home

Saving energy and money at home begins with a good look around each room. Think about the gas and electricity you use for heating and lighting and to power appliances. It all adds up to a lot of energy.

A third of Scottish Households have already been offered free help and advice about how to use less energy and save money on fuel bills. You could join them too, just make one call to Home Energy Scotland – that’s all it takes to find out more.

Figures from Energy Saving Trust, 2014. 

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Ten top tips

Read our ten top tips to save energy at home to help you become more energy efficient and also save you money.

1: Manage home heating

 

Turning down the thermostat by 1°C can cut your heating bill by £80 to £95 a year in a typical, gas-heated semi. Turn on radiators and heat up hot water only when needed. Bleed radiators so they perform at their best.

2: Insulate your home

You won’t use as much energy to heat your home if you can keep the warmth in better. See our Insulation pages for more insulation advice, including details of the various types of insulation available. You can also call the Home Energy Scotland hotline free on 0808 808 2282 for more information.

3: Upgrade your boiler

If your boiler is on its last legs, replace it with a more energy efficient boiler. If your boiler is on its last legs, replace it with a more energy efficient boiler. Swapping a G-rated boiler with no controls for an A-rated condensing boiler with heating controls could knock up to 29% off your annual gas bill. You may be eligible for support, such as a grant or interest free loan, to help you upgrade. Call the Home Energy Scotland hotline free on 0808 808 2282 to find out.

4: Choose low energy lighting

There are two main kinds of energy-saving light bulb available. Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs use far less energy than traditional light bulbs. Light emitting diode (LED) lights also use less power and can often run for a long time from a battery, making them ideal for lighting sheds, under kitchen cabinets and inside cupboards. Although they sometimes cost more than traditional bulbs, they last a lot longer – and you’ll make your money back in electricity savings. One energy-saving lamp might save you up to £50 over its lifetime. Swap over to low energy lighting indoors and outside to start saving energy at home now.

5: Switch off, not standby

Leaving appliances on standby saps energy without giving any great benefit. Switching off and on again only takes a minute or two more and some newer devices will do it automatically. And saying goodbye to standby could cut your electricity bill by around £30 a year. Remember to turn off chargers as soon as they’ve done their job too.

6: Switch off and replace lights

Switch off lights when you leave a room. Turning off unneccesary lights could save you up to £15 a year in electricity costs. It would also save up to 50kg of CO2, that's enough to fill 100 wheelie bins every year.

7: Boil only the water you need

Fill the kettle for the right amount of cups – though make sure that an electric kettle is at least at its minimum capacity.

8: Wash clothes at 30°

Your washing powder will do the job just as well, but you’ll cut electricity use by around 40% each time compared to higher temperatures. Try to only switch on with a full load – whether it’s the washing machine or dishwasher. Two half loads will use more energy than a single full load.

9: Buy energy efficient appliances

All appliances now come with energy efficiency ratings. If you need to buy a new fridge, oven or washing machine, buying the most energy efficient model you can afford can be a wise buy in the long run. Second-hand appliances can sometimes be energy efficient too.

10: Save water

Saving water may not seem like a big issue in Scotland where our average annual rainfall is often more than 1,000mm. But to make rainwater fit for drinking requires energy, chemicals and pipes, pumping stations and reservoirs. Even more energy is used to treat waste water. And a tap that drips hot water sends the energy – and money – you used to heat it straight down the drain. Fix leaks and turn off taps. Take short showers instead of baths. Use a water butt in the garden. Saving water helps to save energy at home, and can help save you money too – around 20% of the average gas bill of a home goes towards heating water. So little changes can have a big effect.

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More tips on saving energy

For more information on how to save energy at home, visit the Energy Saving Trust's tips page. You’ll find hints for every room and even a section to get the kids saving energy. And, of course, make sure you are on the most cost-effective tariff by using online tools to find the best deal.