How to lower your energy bill and carbon footprint at home

Oct 07, 2021
How to lower your energy bill and carbon footprint at home
Over the last two weeks Google searches for “energy price” increased by a whopping 100%[1], as news and uncertainty surrounding the energy crisis emerged. The UK  turned to Google for the solution, with searches for “energy comparison” rising by 85%1 and “saving energy” increasing by an incredible 133%1.

Changing supplier will only help to save so much money. The solution to reducing energy bills is in adopting better energy-saving habits, which can help to lower your carbon emissions too – doing your bit for the planet.

We've teamed up with Energy Saving Trust (a trusted, independent, and impartial voice dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, low carbon transport and sustainable energy use to the British public) to release top tips to help the UK save money this autumn and winter, .

Four top tips to help save energy and the difference each action could make are:

1. Take control of your heating

Over the past week the temperature in the UK has dropped as autumn has started to set in, and the UK has turned their heating on to keep their homes cosy. In fact, mentions on Twitter of turning the heating or radiators on have increased by 300% over the past seven days[2], showing it’s once again that time of year. 

For most, the first step in cutting your carbon emissions – and bills – is to take control of your heating. With many debating the exact date to turn the heating on this year, now is the perfect time to think about controlling your heating this autumn and winter.

Make sure you understand your heating controls and set them to only heat the rooms you need, when you need them, and not above the required temperature. To do this effectively, you will need a good set of heating controls which, for most central heating systems, includes a timer or programmer, a room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves.

This may sound like a big change, but your system could already be fitted with most, if not all, of these. Fitting and using these heating controls properly could save you £70 a year on your bills. Not only this, but it could also reduce your carbon emissions by 300kg[3].

2. Switch to energy-efficient lighting 

LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient and durable lighting technology. They are suitable for all uses, including dimmable lights, spotlights, and outdoor lights, meaning they could be used anywhere at home.

Replacing every bulb in your home with LED bulbs will not only save you money, but it could save 63kg of carbon emissions a year – the equivalent to driving your car roughly 220 miles[4].

3. Stop leaving appliances on standby mode

You can quickly and easily reduce your energy use by making minor changes to your habits. This includes using ‘Eco’ modes on appliances (such as dishwashers and washing machines) and avoiding the use of standby.

The average UK household spends £35 each year powering appliances left on standby2, so switch these off where you can. 

4. Consider installing Solar panels

The use of solar energy is one of the best ways to cut down on emissions and energy costs. Although its high installation costs may put people off, many won't know that you can generate income by selling surplus energy to the grid, and that maintenance costs are low.

For those considering installing solar panels on your home, you should take advantage of the government's Green Homes Grant, due to end on the 31st of March 2022. The grant can cover up to two-thirds of the installation cost and, in some cases, will even cover the entire cost of installation, helping you to save money in the long term.

In addition, the Energy Saving Trust estimates the average UK home with a solar PV system could cut carbon emissions by approximately one tonne each year, depending on where you live in the UK[5].

Alongside the rise in searches around energy-saving, interest in how to be more eco-friendly has increased too. Over the past three months, “how to reduce carbon footprint” increased by an incredible 130%[6] and “how to be more eco-friendly” by 50%4.

In addition to the tips on saving energy, Barratt Homes has collated four top tips for helping to reduce carbon emissions at home:

1. Meal plan to help avoid food wastage

UK households waste 4.5bn tonnes of food each year which could be eaten, equating to £14bn[7]. This edible food waste causes 14 million tonnes of CO2 emissions – the same amount of greenhouse gas as flying from London to Perth more than 4.5 million times[8]! In fact, if every UK household avoided food waste for one day, it would have the same effect to greenhouse gas emissions as planting 640,000 trees6.

Meal planning and prepping is a great way to plan for the week, helping you to understand how much of everything you really need, and to prevent you from buying extra food that might otherwise end up in the bin. Keeping on top of expiry dates and using leftovers in new meals will also help reduce food waste.

For those who struggle with these things, apps like Nosh can be a lifesaver. Users of Nosh can track the expiry date of products, plan their weekly shop in the app and get recipe suggestions on items, so nothing ends up going to waste.

2. Compost any unavoidable food waste

According to a study, greenhouse gas emissions from composting are just 14% (estimated) of the emissions which would be caused by the food going to landfill[9].

For those who describe themselves as keen gardeners, composting your food waste, by scraping any leftover or unwanted food into a compost bin and letting nature take its course, is a great way to create your own homemade fertiliser. Not only will you be reducing carbon emissions, compost is also known to improve soil structure and help suppress plant disease.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle your plastic

At every step of its lifecycle, plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions – and it even continues to do so after it’s disposed of. Not only this, but plastic pollution is also having a devastating impact on the environment.

Just one single plastic bag generates approximately 33grams of CO2 emissions[10], therefore if you used five bags each week this would equate to 8.25kg each year. This is the same as charging your smartphone 973 times[11]! Reduce your use of single-use plastic packaging such as plastic carrier bags, and reuse where possible.

For any plastics you need to dispose of, make sure you recycle those you can to help do your bit for the planet. This reduces the need, and therefore energy, in creating new plastic, therefore reducing carbon emissions too.

4. Swap toxic cleaning products for natural alternatives

Cleaning is often complimented with products that claim to cut through grease and limescale with just one wipe. But the ingredients used to achieve this effect are responsible for the biggest share of greenhouse gas emissions across the lifecycle of the products.

If you’re looking to start the switch to more natural cleaning solutions, many cleaning products can be swapped for natural store cupboard essentials such as bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice and white vinegar. Not only could you save money on your household shop, but you could save energy at the treatment works and help the environment too.

[1] Google Search Trends (data collected 01/10/21 – average from two weeks prior to 21st Sept vs 21/09 to 28/09)

[2] BrandWatch – Twitter mentions (data collected 04/10/21 – mentions wc. 20/09 vs wc. 27/09)

[3] Typical savings for a typical three-bedroom semi-detached home heated by gas in England, Scotland, or Wales. Figures are based on fuel prices as of June 2021. 

[4] Energy Saving Trust


[6] Google Keyword Planner (data collected 01/10/21)

[7] Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) 2020





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