Here are lots of ways to save energy, to help you prevent climate change, and bring your bills down too. Visiting comparison sites does not make much difference (you just pay the premiums they have to pay to list there). It’s more empowering to simply find ways to drastically reduce energy yourself, without any major lifestyle changes. Also see where to find affordable green energy).
Choose oil-filled radiators (fan heaters blow hot air around and can cause heatstroke in people and pets). Have real fireplaces swept on a regular basis. Read how to naturally cool your home.
Paint rooms in pale colours to reflect light. Choose flicker-free bulbs (so as not to disturb pets).
Replace clock radios with real ones, electric blankets with hot water bottles.
Don’t turn thermostats for older people and pets, could cause hypothermia. Treat people who feel the cold to a thick organic cotton jumper.
Use a letterbox draught excluder
Draughtex (for floors) and Gapseal for sash windows) are good. Magnetic glazing (Magneglaze, eco-ease or extraglaze) is simple to fit. For period homes, Mitchell & Dickenson is good for older sash windows.
Homeowner Energy Handbook has self-build projects like solar hot water collectors and bicycle generators.
Insulate your home. Many people qualify for grants .
Download Mukti Mitchell’s free carbon calculator which will reduce your energy by around 10% in a year, without big lifestyle changes. Co-founder of Carbon Savvy, an online guide to reducing your carbon footprint. This is a bit techy, but nothing you can’t handle!You can buy insulation made from recycled cellulose.
Climate-Wise Landscaping is a book to show how you can naturally landscape to feel more comfortable in various weathers. See pet-friendly garden tips, including toxic plants & mulches to avoid. Using no-dig gardening methods also protects wildlife, and saves you have to use machines if you don’t manually dig. The less tools you have in your garden, the better.
- Garden lawnmowers and power tools use a lot of energy, and are not safe for wildlife. Get fit and use a manual mower (or at least garden shears for the edging – all frogs and hedgehogs will thank you – they are often killed or injured, as people don’t sweep through before strimming). Organic lawns need less ‘machinery’.
- When time comes to replace, choose wind-up lanterns, radios and torches. You can recycle batteries (choking hazards) at any store that sells them (it’s the law). Also use solar-powered chargers for phones and laptops.
- Use retractable clothes lines (fit flush against wall) to dry clothes (secure rotary lines after use, for safety). If you dry clothes indoors, use a good airer in the bathroom to avoid mould, never dry clothes on radiators in lounges, it’s also a fire hazard.
- If you use outdoor lights, go for solar-powered ones. But be sure not to use ones unless you need them. Too much outdoor lighting (especially near glass) can confuse birds. See how to stop birds flying into windows. Also inside, turn off unwanted lights, use tasks lights, draw the curtains and avoid foliage displayed near the windows.
Log Saver is an invention to help you make logs from old newspapers, junk mail or even telephone directories. Saving up to a third on your fuel costs, you can then just wedge them alongside normal logs, for an hour of burn time. Allow to cool before removing. Good for open fires, multi-fuel stoves, garden chimineas and firepits.