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How to save energy when working from home

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By Christopher Appleby
24 Mar 2020
Woman working on laptop
Working from home

On 16 March the UK government announced that everyone should now be socially distancing themselves from others and in some cases self-isolating to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Many people who have the capability of working from are being urged to do so over the coming weeks and months. Not going into the office is considered to be an effective way of preventing the spread of the virus because it reduces the risk of people coming into contact with others.

However, spending more and more time at home, unfortunately goes hand-in-hand with a number of concerns like childcare, food, mental health, money and using more energy.

We understand that using more gas and electricity while working from home is inevitable which is why we have some energy saving tips to share with you, to help you reduce your energy consumption.

As a result of staying at home, many of us are using more energy just by simply being there;

  • Rather than leaving the house and sitting in a warm, bright office, we’ll be at home with the lights and heating on

  • Instead of using the office electricity to boil the kettle or buy a drink we will be boiling the kettle at home

  • Instead of going out for walk or going to the local shop on our lunch break, we might watch tv for half an hour (yes you are still allowed a lunch break even if you’re working from home!)

All things we wouldn’t normally be doing during the day.

How can you work from home and use less energy?

The health and well-being of our customers and communities is our number one priority so we thought we’d share some top tips for saving energy around your home.

1. Turn off standby

You can save up to £30 a year just by turning your appliances off at the mains.

And remember to unplug your phone, tablet, or laptop once they’re fully charged – that way, you avoid using unnecessary energy and your battery life will last longer.

a. Most electrical appliances can be turned off at the plug without affecting their programming

b. You could also opt for a standby saver which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go

c. If you’re unsure - check the instructions. You may need to keep things like your satellite recorders like Sky, BT or Virgin boxes on standby so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record. We’d hate for you to miss your favourite TV shows!

2. Turn your heating down

More than half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water. You can save up to £80 a year by turning your heating down by just 1°C!

a. Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves in each room (TRVs) will allow you to;

i. Set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need it, so you don’t waste energy when you’re out of the house

ii. Only heat the rooms that need heating – think about turning off radiators in guest bedrooms that aren’t being used

b. Set the temperature for each area of your home – you can stay warm and cosy in your living room if you keep the temperature around 20°C, and your bedrooms a bit cooler around 16°C

3. Turn off lights & fit energy saving light bulbs

You can save up to £49 on your annual energy bills by switching off the lights and switching to energy saving light bulbs.

(£14 turning off the lights and £35 switching to energy saving light bulbs)

a. Turn off your lights when you leave a room

b. Lighting our homes makes up about 10-15% of our annual energy bills, switching from traditional bulbs to energy saving bulbs can reduce this by a quarter

4. Do laundry on a cool wash

You could save up to £52 a year just by dropping to a 30°C wash

a. Lots of washing detergents these days are just as good at cleaning your clothes at 30oC as 40°C or 60°C – you could always run a hotter cycle once in a while to keep your washing machine sparkling.

b. Hang your washing out to dry (assuming it’s not raining of course) or use a free-standing airer, instead of a tumble dryer.

5. Block up those draughts

According to Which?, you can save up to £20 a year by draught proofing windows and doors

a. For your windows, consider fitting draught-proofing strips or brush strips for sash windows

b. For the doors, draught-proofing strips for gaps around the edges, and brush or hinged flap draught excluders on the bottom of doors – you can find these on Ethical Superstore or John Lewis or you can get creative and make one.

For an even bigger saving you could always consider professional draught-proofing.

6. Save energy in the kitchen

You can save up to £31 a year by using your kitchen appliances more efficiently.

a. By using a bowl when washing up instead of keeping the tap running you could save up to £25 a year

b. By only filling the kettle with the amount of water that you need rather than filling it up and save around £6 a year – the more water you heat up the more energy it uses up

c. Use a microwave to heat your food – a microwave is far more efficient than using a traditional gas or electric hob when heating up small amounts of food

d. Use a kettle before the stove – when boiling anything like vegetable on stove, boil the water in a kettle first and then transfer it to the pan. Just be careful not to heat the pan up too much when there’s nothing in it

e. Don’t open the oven too soon - you’ll let out hot air and waste energy. If you can, take a look through the oven door instead and see if your food looks ready

f. Batch cooking – this is a great way to save money on ingredients and energy. Cooking a few meals at the same time means you’ll only need to use the stove or the oven once. This saves time and energy.

According the Energy Savings Trust there are lots of things you can do around the home to improve your energy efficiently and reduce your energy bills. You can check out their full list of energy saving tips on their website but we’d thought we show you the potential savings below.

Potential savings per person per year for each energy saving action*.

Switch off standby - £30

Use a bowl for washing up - £20

Do one less wash a week - £5

Only fill the kettle with what you need - £6

Fit a water efficient shower head - £18

Spend 1 min less in your daily shower - £7

Draught proof doors and windows - £20

Install chimney draught excluder - £15

Use smart heating controls - £75

Turn your thermostat down 1 degree - £80

Replace all bulbs with LEDs - £35

Turn off your lights - £14

*Source: Energy Savings Trust

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