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October 2022

Solar Panels on Roof


Ten easy things that cost nothing and save a bit 

  1. Turn off lights in rooms not being used 

  1. Turn down radiators in rooms not being used 

  1. Keep your central heating thermostat around 18-21 degrees.  Turn off heating at night and when out 

  1. Keep your fridge around 3-5 degrees and defrost regularly (ice makes it work harder to keep things cool) 

  1. Wash laundry at 30 degrees except for bedding and towels (the NHS advises washing these at 60 degrees) 

  1. Fill the kettle with only the amount of water you need to use 

  1. Have showers rather than a bath and keep them short 

  1. Avoid standby – switch off at the plug items like DVD players, TVs, phone chargers, printers that are not in constant use.  The Centre for Sustainable Energy calculates that ‘a typical household could save between £50 and £90 a year just by remembering to turn off appliances left on standby’ (However, note that newer devices such as smart TVs are subject to EU rules and have very low standby power consumption and software updates are carried out on standby and may be missed if the TV is always turned off at the plug.)  

  1. Close curtains at night 

  1. Set up an outside clothesline or indoor drying rack (if humidity indoors is a problem, put this in a room that’s not being used, near an open window, and close the door to the rest of the house) 

Low cost DIY energy saving that also keeps you warm 

Look for cold air coming into the house and fill the gaps: 

  • Draught-proof windows and doors with foam strips or brush strips – but remember your home needs some ventilation so don’t seal kitchen or bathroom windows. Extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens help avoid excessive moisture.  More advice   

Low cost energy saving measures 

  • Replace old lightbulbs with LED 

  • If you have single glazed windows add another layer – plastic film is cheap and available 

  • If you have cold floors, carpet or rugs can help, and often are available cheaply from charity shops and Freegle / Freecycle  

  • Get a warmer duvet for winter 

  • Put reflective panels behind radiators 

  • Consider using an electric room heater if you only need to heat one room at a time (see also item below regarding electric infrared heating panels) 

  • If you have a hot water tank make sure it has a jacket on (or integral insulation) to keep hot water hot 

  • Use a slow cooker and/or a microwave, which are cheaper to use than an oven 

Energy saving actions that cost more but also save more 

  • Insulate loft, walls, floors if you can.  A quarter of household heat is lost through poorly insulated lofts and roofs and a third through uninsulated walls 

  • Double or triple glaze all windows 

  • When your boiler needs replacing consider options like a heat pump that save energy long-term. Good review of options here

  • When you need to replace failing appliances look for the most energy efficient models (e.g. A***); these may cost more upfront but will save you money over their lifetime 

  • Replace old style house thermostat and TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves) with modern ‘smart’ type, which allow improved control of your heating, including individual temperature control for each room (with option of control from your smartphone).  

  • Use electric infrared heating panels (or single portable infrared heater) to provide comfortable heating at reduced room air temperatures (for example a single 500 watt portable heating panel can provide comfortable conditions while watching TV with central heating turned down).  Infrared panels can also be used for full house heating as an alternative to a heat pump.      

Help and advice for energy saving 

Financial support – National programmes 

Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme - If anyone in your household is receiving benefits your energy company is obliged to install energy efficiency measures.  Contact your energy supplier and ask what help they can provide through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). 

Warm Home Discount Scheme - £140 off energy bill for those on low income or in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit.

Flexible Home Improvement Loan (FHIL): a loan for homeowners aged 60+ to improve the warmth, comfort, condition, safety or security of their homes. See here.

Financial support – Local programmes 

Warmer Homes programme available across West Sussex with the aim to improve the energy efficiency of low income and low energy performance homes. More information here:  

Energy advice 

‘Find ways to save energy in your home’ – an online government resource to help you identify home improvements that can save energy and keep you warm: More 

Useful websites: 

Energy Saving Trust -  

Low Carbon West Oxford -  

West Sussex County Council, Solar Together group buying scheme for solar panels and batteries -

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