Energy advice

Download article Print article
Choose from the index:
Your home and global warming

Almost half of the UK’s harmful greenhouse gases come from things we do every day. Surprisingly, we produce more of it in our homes than when we drive!

As well as reducing carbon emissions and helping the planet, it is estimated that the average household could save up to £300 per year on energy bills by being more energy efficient.

All of the tips in this guide cost a small amount or nothing at all and, as energy prices are rising all the time, there’s even more money to be saved!

Run your home for less

A few simple steps could help you run your home for less money, as well as produce fewer harmful CO2  missions. More than half of the energy we use at home is used for heating and hot water.

What can I do?

  • Turn your room thermostat down by just 1°C. This could cut your annual heating bill by 10%.
  • Close your curtains at night and make sure they are tucked behind the radiators to reduce the amount of heat escaping through your windows.
  • Draught proof your window frames, doors, keyholes and letterboxes. 15% of heat loss occurs through draughts.
  • Set heating controls so that your property is only heated when you are in the house.
  • Bleed radiators regularly to ensure they are working at maximum efficiency.
  • Drying clothes on radiators blocks heat from warming the room and causes condensation. Dry on a clothes horse/maiden instead.
  • Turn the pressure down on the power shower. A high pressure power shower is a great luxury to have but you’d be surprised how much water they use – sometimes even more than a bath.
  • Submit regular meter readings to your energy supplier to help keep your bills accurate. Estimated readings can sometimes lead to large bills.
Electricity and lighting

Our homes contain many appliances and gadgets, all of which consume electricity – increasing our bills and emissions. Much of this usage is unnecessary and there are things we can do to reduce our bills with minimal effort.

What can I do?

  • Switching from a 60W bulb to an energy efficient 20W bulb will save you money on your electricity bill. Energy efficient bulbs last 10 times longer than regular bulbs, which will save you even more money – and they can be recycled making them even more environmentally friendly!
  • In the UK we waste £140 million a year by leaving lights on unnecessarily. Remember to turn the lights off when you leave a room.
  • The average household wastes money every year by leaving appliances on standby. This amounts to almost £1bn pounds in the UK. Turn things off at the mains when not in use or fully charged, especially overnight.
  • Make sure pans are on the right size hob or you could waste up to 40% of the heat, and keep lids on to decrease cooking time and reduce condensation.
  • Most people overfill the kettle. Boiling the right amount of water is one of the easiest ways to cut your energy usage.
  • Walk around the house and feel windows and doors. If you can feel a draft you could be losing heat. Decent draught-proofing can cut 2% off energy bills.
  • Where possible, use your oven less. Other appliances such as microwaves, air fryers and slow cookers use less energy and therefore cost less.
  • Laptop computers use 5 -10 times less energy than desktops.
  • Look for appliances with the highest efficiency rating A++ and the energy saving recommended logo. The EU energy label rates products from A++ (the most efficient) to G (the
    least efficient) and by law the label must be shown on all refrigeration and laundry appliances and dishwashers.
  • Limit washing machine cycles to full loads. This is much more efficient than doing two half loads, even when using half load settings.
  • The dryer is one of the most energy intensive appliances in the home. If you must use it, spin or dry clothes as much as you can beforehand so you use it less.
  • Defrost freezers regularly and keep them full. If your freezer is not full, then putting newspaper or carrier bags in the gaps saves money by reducing air space.
  • Keep your fridge/freezer at the correct temperature. This is 2°C to 3°C for a fridge and -15°C for a freezer.

The Money saving expert has a useful energy saving guide, you can take a look here >> Energy Saving Guide


The average person uses 150 litres of water daily for hygiene, drinking, washing and flushing. The energy used in transporting and treating water is energy intensive and generates significant carbon emissions. Climate change leaves the UK at an increased risk of droughts and water shortages so it is crucial that we are not wasteful with this vital resource.

What can I do?

If you have a water cylinder you should turn it to 60°C. This is hot enough to kill harmful bacteria and heats your water sufficiently. If the temperature is any higher it is a waste of energy and there is an increased risk of scalding.

  • Avoid letting taps run when brushing your teeth or shaving. 10 minutes of running water a day could waste 22,000 litres per year.
  • A dripping tap can waste 140 litres a week – almost enough to fill two baths. Get leaks fixed; report them to us on 0300 011 or 1144 or 0300 111 1133.
  • Washing the car with a hose can use 15 times as much water as using a bucket.
  • Short showers use much less water than baths.
  • Bottled water has a carbon footprint 1,000 times higher than tap water.
  • Let the dishwasher do the dirty work. Avoid pre-rinsing the dishes in hot water. Save water and energy by just scraping the dishes before they go in.
Food Shopping

We can save money on our food budget by reducing waste. You might be surprised at the level of emissions generated by the food you eat. Where your food is sourced, the amount of packaging, how you purchase it and how you dispose of waste all has an impact on its carbon footprint.

What can I do?

  • If you do cook too much, make use of leftovers and store them in airtight containers. See recipe ideas at
  • If you have garden space you could try growing your own. Put your garden to work and save money. Even if you don’t have a garden you could still grow foods such as beetroot, radish and lettuce on your windowsill.


We use around 10 billion plastic bags a year in the UK. Most of these are not recycled and each bag takes approximately 1,000 years to degrade. More than a million birds and hundreds of thousands of mammals and turtles die every year from eating or getting entangled in plastic.

What can I do?

  • Re-using bags reduces the number of plastic bags that end up in landfill, in the oceans and as litter.
  • Much of our food comes with excessive plastic packaging that damages the environment; buy loose alternatives if possible. Sometimes lose fruit and veg can work out cheaper. Have a look at prices of pre-packaged products and compare the cost.
  • Compost your food waste. This will provide free fertiliser for your garden and reduce landfill waste.
  • Buying food that is in season and locally produced is usually cheaper, tastes better and has travelled fewer miles.

Transport is the biggest source of personal emissions for many people, especially if you drive, or fly regularly. Your driving style can have a big impact on fuel consumption and therefore what you spend on fuel.

What can I do?

  • Driving at 50mph uses 30% less fuel than at 70 mph.
  • It is thought that the average driver could save approximately 10% on fuel by driving more efficiently. You can do this by accelerating gently, driving more smoothly and changing into the highest appropriate gear as soon as you can. For maximum efficiency, this is when the engine is revving at around 2,000 rpm in a diesel car or around 2,500 rpm in a petrol car.
  • Removing excess weight if not needed e.g. a roof rack will reduce your fuel consumption.
  • Make sure your tyres are inflated to the right pressure and balanced; this will save fuel and reduce wear and tear.
  • Car sharing is an easy way of reducing your emissions and fuel costs. You can find car buddies using
  • Cycle! Cycling for 30 minutes a day can increase your life span by four years.
Re-use and re-cycle

Recycling reduces the carbon footprint of your waste and promotes wider environmental benefits. Every year in the UK, we send around 23 million tonnes of household waste to landfill, 60% of which could be recycled. Landfills are particularly bad sources of greenhouse emissions because waste is buried, which causes it to break down and release methane, which is 33 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In addition to what you might typically expect to be recycled e.g. paper, glass and aluminium, lots of other unwanted items can also be recycled from fridges to furniture.

What can I do?

  • The average person receives 19kg of junk mail a year. To opt-out of unsolicited direct mailing lists, register with the Mailing Preference Service at, or by phone at 0845 703 4599, or write to them at MPS, Freepost, London, W1E 0ZT.
  • Recycling has never been easier. Recycle at home using your recycling bins or communal facilities.
  • Donate unwanted clothes to friends, family or charity if they are in reasonable condition.
Helpful contacts and support

If you need advice or extra guidance to help tackle the rising cost of living, we are here to help. Our dedicated webpage has important information and useful links to services available to support you if you need an extra helping hand. Below you can find a list of organisations that might be able to offer additional support:


You can call the Citizens Advice consumer line on 0808 223 1133 for help and support with debt, income maximisation or your energy bills or visit their website here >> Citizens Advice
If you can’t hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0808 223 1133.

Debt or money worries

Our experienced Money Advice team is on hand to provide free and impartial advice.

If you are struggling with debt it can be difficult to know where to get the help that you can trust. The Money helper website has a list of free debt advice services that may be able to help including:

Stepchange Debt Charity
0800 138 1111

0800 280 2816

National Debtline
0808 808 4000


Income maximisation

You can complete a quick benefits check at home using Entitledto or Turn2Us If you need help with checking your benefit entitlement or making a claim then contact your local Citizens Advice or phone Adviceline (England) on 0800 144 8848 / Advicelink (Wales) 0800 702 2020


Emergency food and crisis support

Your local authority should be able to direct you to available crisis support. To find your nearest food bank visit the Trussel Trust website you will usually need to obtain a food voucher from a local agency or alternatively contact the free helpline on 0808 208 2138 to speak with a trained Citizens Advice adviser.

If you have a smart phone, apps like OLIO and TooGoodToGo will let you know if there is food being sold at a low cost near you.


Energy Efficiency

For guidance on available grants visit the Simple Energy Advice website or contact 0800 444 202 for help using the site.

Energy Saving Trust offers guidance on ways to save energy around the home. Visit their website here >> Energy Savings Trust

NEA’s Warm and Safe Homes advice service is available Monday – Friday 10-12 on 0800 304 7159.



If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak call the National Gas Emergency Service 24 hours a day on 0800 111 999. If you are D/deaf or hard of hearing a text phone service is available on 18001 then 0800 371 787.

If you have a power cut call the national power cut line on 105.

Most fire services offer a Safe and Well visit, also called a Home fire safety visit, especially for people who might be at higher risk such as people with health conditions or young children in the home. Contact your local fire service for more information. They will check your home for any fire risks and offer advice and guidance on how to reduce those risks.

Arabic translation - إرشادات حول الطاقة
Bengali translation - জ্বালানীশক্তি ক্তিষয়ক উপদেশ
Farsi translation - راهنمایی درباره انرژی
Kurdish translation - ڕێنمایی سەبارەت بە بەکارهێنانی وز ە
Polish translation - Porady dotyczące energii
Download article Print article
Related Articles