Posts tagged "energy"

How can I reduce my energy usage/heating bills? Super tips!

winter-houseFollowing on in our few days of very seasonal heating & energy themed posts, I thought it would be worthwhile for us to share our super-greenie tips for reducing energy consumption (and bills!).

Whenever I read/hear mainstream media advice on cutting back on energy usage, it’s always the same basic stuff: put on a jumper, close your curtains and turn down your thermostat – very useful tips but when you’re already in your woollies, with your heavy lined curtains closed and your thermostat as low as it will go, they’re not that much help.

I’m presuming that most of the people that read this site – particularly the regulars (hi beloved regulars!) – will already be doing more than the basics — so what are your green+ tips for reducing your heating and electric bills?

Have you installed solar panels or some other expensive-but-more-sustainable heating alternative? Have you installed fake ceilings or partitioned rooms to make them easier to heat?

Have you insulated somewhere out of the ordinary? Ceilings? Floors? Walls? Did you insulate with something different to normal (and/or recycled)?

Have you modified your windows to make them less of an energy leak? The other day Lizzy mentioned using cling film to make secondary glazing – any other secondary glazing tips? Anyone gone for triple-glaze or the equivalent? Did it make a difference?

What about smaller, less-expensive things too? Wrist warmers, snuggy slippers, hooded scarves for around the house? A strategically positioned cat or loved one to stop your feet getting cold? Cutting down drafts between rooms with curtains/draft excluders?

What else?

How can I save energy around the home reusing/recycling stuff?

Lizzy left a comment on the Suggestions page, asking:

How about Recycling things into energy saving things? For example, I use leftover cheapo clingfilm as secondary glazing on all single-glazed windows in winter – stick it round the edges with no gaps and hairdry it to make it pull tight and go ‘invisible’.

Also, the shiny silver insides of food packaging (cleaned) can be stuck on a piece of cardboard to be used as a radiator reflector panel. Living in a house that loses heat like a sieve (no cavity walls *shakes fist at builders* ) I would love to hear more ideas from all the imaginative people out there :)

I’m there with Lizzie on this one – I’m amazed by how few energy saving measures the previous owners of our new house have implemented and we’ll have a few busy weeks ahead getting the house into a better, warmer state before winter properly kicks in.

So any suggestions? I like Lizzy’s idea and will certainly be investigating a secondary glazing option for our chilly (single-glazed!) porch. I’ll also be making sure all our hot water pipes are insulated – people have previous suggested using old yoga mats, waffle foam or foam drink holders for doing that.

Old bedding can be used to add another lining layer to curtains and fabric scraps/old clothes can be turned into draft excluders for the bottom of doors. Also don’t forget to turn old woollies into slipper socks and/or wrist warmers so you don’t feel the cold quite so much.

Other ideas?

How can I reduce the energy wasted in my office?

radiatorWe’ve had an email from Lynda:

How can I get my colleagues to waste less energy without being seen as a nag? Everyone always turns the heating on instead of bringing a jumper and then when it gets too hot, they open a window instead of turning the heating down! It drives me mad!

It would drive me mad too but AT LEAST they’re opening a window instead of cranking up the air conditioning at the same time as the heating ;)

When I used to work full time in an office, I always made sure I had a cardigan over the back of my chair for those chilly days – but it’s not like you can forceably wrap an office-mate in a woolly when the temperature drops.

I’d possibly try talking to management about it – in a general way rather than tattle-tailing. If you’re in a small company, you can appeal to them on a financial level since all that wasted energy is wasted money. Bigger companies might not care about that because it’s such a small proportion of their turnover – but most big companies have an environmental policy now and that might sway them.

Of course getting management on board doesn’t mean that the rest of the staff will comply and in some places, a management decree will do the opposite… so what else could Lynda try?

Has anyone had any experience of encouraging reluctant colleagues to change their ways? What works without getting people’s backs up? What doesn’t?

How can I reduce the amount of energy I use while cooking?

stove-frontAlice’s last “Reduce This” question is:

How to reduce the energy I use in cooking.

I’ve started putting any extra water I boil in the kettle into a thermos flask ready for the next cup of tea, but there must be loads of other ways to cut this down too.

We talked about ways to make the most out of boiled water back during our water week for World Water Day in March but I like this new focus on energy.

The biggest thing I think is using pan lids where possible – it amazes me how much less gas is needed to keep something at a rolling boil when there is a lid on the pan. I’d also recommend getting a range of pan sizes and using the most appropriate one for the task in hand particularly when boiling things in water – boiling eggs (which required a certain depth of water no matter what the diameter of the pan) being a prime example.

What have you tried? What works? What doesn’t?

Has anyone tried alternative cooking methods to cut down on fossil fuel use such as solar ovens?