With January now upon us, many of us will be thinking about taking up a New Year’s resolution to kick off 2016. To save yourself agonising over whether to take out a gym membership or attempting to keep off social media however, we’ve got an alternative resolution that’ll help you save money over the entire year.
Although energy saving might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think ‘New Year’s resolution’, if you keep to cutting your energy consumption for a whole year, you can actually reap big rewards. However, since we all need a little encouragement when it comes to sticking to our resolutions, we thought getting the whole family involved might help the more weak-willed amongst us stay energy focussed beyond January.
In order to find out the best energy saving practices that apply to those of all ages, we’ve sourced the expert opinion of the of UK’s largest advice provider, Citizens Advice. Speaking to Jo Bowell from the Energy Advice Service in Manchester, the video below highlights five easy ways that families can pull together and save both money and energy throughout 2016.
Resolution 1: Turn off your lights
Although it’s not an easy habit to break, leaving lights switched on in rooms that aren’t in use wastes both energy and money. It’s always important to ensure there’s enough light to move around safely, however leaving bedrooms illuminated while you’re watching TV downstairs can start to take its toll on your energy bill.
Encouraging the whole family to turn off the lights can make a big difference. Star charts or little rewards can be a great incentive to galvanise younger children, as well as showing them the savings they’ve made on the energy bill. Switching off lights that aren’t in use and swapping any old-fashioned light bulbs to energy saving alternatives such as LEDs or CFLs can save families around £50 a year.
Resolution 2: Unplug gadgets and chargers
If you’ve got older children or teenagers in the home, it’s likely every member of the family will have a mobile phone. Leaving mobiles charging overnight leaves the charger guzzling energy for the whole time you’re asleep, and in a family household, this can soon start to add up. So, instead of leaving your phone plugged in overnight, charging it in the morning and unplugging it once charged is a great way to save energy.
This energy saving practice also extends beyond mobile phones to ensuring your TV isn’t left on standby, unplugging PlayStations and Xboxes, and shutting down computers and laptops which aren’t in use. Ensuring gadgets and chargers aren’t left sapping energy when not in use can save families up to £30 a year.
Resolution 3: Spend less time in the shower
Many of us are aware that having a shower instead of bath can save you energy, however what you may not have realised is how much you can save by simply reducing your time in the shower. If every member of a family of four reduced the time they spent in their daily shower by just one minute, they could save £40 annually. So, if you think you could probably cut your shower time in half, you could save yourself a lot of cash!
Resolution 4: Don’t overfill the kettle and use a washing up bowl
Boiling more water than you need to in the kettle not only means you have to wait longer for the kettle to boil but it also wastes a lot of energy. Likewise, not using a washing up bowl and just letting the hot water run down the sink while washing up also expends energy heating up wasted water. By simply only filling the kettle with the amount of water you need and using a washing up bowl, you could save your family up to £50 per year.
Resolution 5: Turn down your thermostat
Finally, turning down your household thermostat (and encouraging your family not to sneakily turn it back up) can save you a lot of money on your energy bill. Unless someone is in poor health, the advisable optimum temperature for a living room is 21˚C and turning your thermostat down by just one degree can save you from £85-£90 each year. Therefore, if your current thermostat is set much higher than 21˚C, it’s a good idea to turn it down gradually over a few weeks to acclimatise and save even more money.
As well as saving energy in the home, it’s also important to check you’re on the cheapest possible energy tariff and if it would be beneficial to switch energy supplier. Citizens Advice highlight that you could save yourself £200 if you’ve never switched before, so as we head into the New Year, just remember to check, switch and save.
Whether you think your family will only be able to stick to one energy saving resolution or you’re going to be ambitious and take on all five, saving energy in your home is one resolution your family can stick to this year.
Going to give it a go? Tweet us which energy saving resolution your family will be sticking to in 2016.