Home energy saving tips

The price of home energy is high and many of us are considering how we can reduce our energy use and energy bills. By reducing our home energy usage we can also make a difference to the planet.

Appliances that use the most energy in the home

Energy Saving Trust has a handy list of the five appliances that consume the most energy in the home. They are (in order of consumption):

  • Washing machines & dishwashers
  • Fridges and freezers
  • Laptops, TVs and game consoles
  • Lights
  • Cookers, microwaves and kettles

Let’s look at ways that you can save on energy for each of these appliances. 

Saving energy in the home

Turn down the temperature of your washing machine and use any eco settings on your dishwasher. A washing machine uses more energy for a longer 60°C cycle than a shorter 30°C cycle. Batch bigger loads of washing together, rather than doing lots of little washes with fewer clothes in them. Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it. 

Fridges and freezers use more energy if they are full and if the door is opened all the time!  Check that your fridge is running at the right temperature (between 1°C-5°C according to Energy Saving Trust. Remind the kids (and the adults) not to open the fridge door. Posting a quick list on the fridge door can help. 

Laptops and computers are being used more frequently, particularly by those of us who work from home. Uswitch suggests that newer laptops use less energy than older desktop computers. Use energy saving features on your laptop like sleep mode when you are away from your screen. Turn off the printer and any external devices you have, unless you need to use them. And, of course, reduce the amount you print. 

We are watching more television than ever before, so TVs are a big contributor to energy use in the home. This is particularly true when you leave a television on in the background while you listen to music or fall asleep. Uswitch reminds us that a bigger television will consume more energy than a smaller unit, but even if you are not willing to swap out your big plasma screen, turn it off or use the standby feature on a newer model (on older models, standby was not as efficient). 

Turn the lights off when you leave the room.  This one is pretty obvious. Swap out energy hungry halogen light bulbs for efficient LED bulbs. Note, the initial cost of these bulbs is high and it might take a few years to recoup the investment but LED bulbs can last up to 25x longer. 

Use less water in the kettle and only boil it when you need it. Microwaves are more energy efficient than cookers. Think about investing in a slow cooker if you love slow cooked food, as a slow cooker uses around the same amount of energy as a light bulb (0.7kWh over an 8 hour day according to Conserve Energy Future), in comparison to an oven which uses 2.0-2.2kWh of energy every hour (Centre for Sustainable Energy). 

No article about energy saving tips for the home could be complete without a mention of central heating. Central heating and water heating using a gas boiler are the biggest uses of energy in a UK home. Turn down the thermostat. Turn down the water temperature. Turn off the heating when you don’t need it and turn off radiators in rooms when you don’t use them. If you need to, consider investing in a more modern boiler. Insulate your hot water cylinder, if you have one. 

These tips for making energy savings by using your appliances wisely are only the start of your energy saving journey. There is so much more you can do to save energy in the home. We recommend that you check out the Energy Saving Trust for more ideas. 

Annette Clubley

Annette is a keen wildlife conservationist, mindful of sustainability and our impact on the environment. Outside of work, family is her focus and she loves teaching the next generation to enjoy the outdoors.