Posts tagged "heating"

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 reuse or recycle old immersion heaters/boilers?

boilerNext up in a mini-theme week on heating and energy:

It may have been sparked by the turning of the seasons but there seem to be a lot of people in my life buying new boilers at the moment – my mum & dad’s 28 year old one is getting cranky and is going to be replaced by a much more efficient one; my best friend Katherine’s is slightly newer but even less reliable, which isn’t ideal given she’s got a 22 day old baby at home (hi again baby Joe!); and our boiler at the old house won’t make it through another winter and will have to be replaced by either us or the next people in there. (Both my mum & dad and Katherine have immersion heaters/tanks, we had a combi.)

They’ve got a high scrap value at the moment because they’re usually made from a whole lot of metal but are there any good reuses for them rather than just sending them for recycling?

Anyone turned them into giant barbecues or woodburners/stoves? I’ve seen metal barrels and gas canisters used for those things… I guess the immersion heater type tanks could be used for water butts in the garden, maybe?

Any other cool reuses?

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?