Summer energy-saving tips22nd April 2014
For many, the clocks going forward at the end of March is a highlight of the year. When you leave the office, it's unusually bright and you feel as if you've got a sizable chunk of the day left, as opposed to retreating home to avoid the perpetual darkness.
While the lighter evenings are definitely to be capitalised upon, this time of year also means it's important to start thinking about how you use energy, if you want to keep your bills as low as possible. While you may think winter is a bigger drain on your outgoings, you've still got to be careful with your energy consumption, as you could be tempted to use your air conditioning more and take longer showers to cool yourself down.
Here are some tips to help you save money and make your life a little easier:
Even though it's gradually been getting lighter in the evenings, you may still be on autopilot when it comes to turning the lights on when you come home or enter certain rooms.
Before you do, take a second to think whether or not you really need them on. This may seem difficult to implement at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. It might be you don't need them on for the first hour or so, but then you switch them on a bit later.
Additionally, if you've got more than one set of lights in a larger room, consider turning some – not all – of them on. Make sure you buy LED lights when your current ones stop working, as they're most efficient in the long term.
Open some windows to create a draft and wait for nature to cool you down instead of instinctively using your air conditioning unit as soon as you get a little hot. In regards to your air conditioning, make sure it's as energy-efficient as possible and consider installing a new one if it seems to be teetering towards the end of its life.
During the day, make the most of the nice weather and don't remain cooped up indoors all the time. This will help to cut your heating and lighting costs, while also meaning you capitalise on the improved weather. While you're out, draw the curtains to stop the sun's rays excessively heating your house and meaning it's akin to a sauna on your return.
If you're not already making the most of the fresh air, start strategically planning when you put a load of laundry on so you can capitalise on the sunlight's ability to dry your washing for you.
Check the weather forecast to see when the best times to hang your laundry outside would be – but always remember to keep an eye out to make sure that, if it does start raining, you're ready to run outside and retrieve your clothes.
If a traditional British summer where the heavens open frequently does occur, enjoy the smell that radiates throughout your house of your washing drying on airers and resist the temptation to use your tumble dryer wherever possible.
Cooking and eating
One aspect of Mediterranean lifestyle that many Brits love to adopt at this time of year is eating both later and outside. As well creating the illusion that you could be abroad, dining al fresco could actually help you to save on your energy costs.
By eating outside, you don't have to switch the lights on in your kitchen or dining room.
Additionally, why not consider having more barbecues? This way you can cut down on how much you use your oven, as it's the least energy-efficient method of cooking. So, where possible take the opportunity to invite some friends round for a good old-fashioned BBQ.
When you are using the oven, resist the temptation to open it to see how your food's getting on. If you are cooking a dish that requires a certain level of vigilance, ensure the door is regularly cleaned so you can see how well it's getting on.
Opening the door means the heat can escape and your oven will take longer to get back to the optimum temperature, meaning not only are you wasting energy, but your food will also take longer to cook than it needs to.
Furthermore, using the oven frequently in summer could heat up your kitchen, meaning you'll become too hot or be tempted to turn the air conditioning on. Utilise your microwave and the hobs as well to help to keep your monthly outgoings as low as possible.
Take cooler showers
When it's hot outside, it's only natural that you'd want a refreshing shower to help you to cool off. While generally we love a hot blast of water to help us to start the day, consider changing your routine so you shower in the evening when you may appreciate the cold water more, after a hot and muggy day outside.
Be careful about the length of your showers, especially if you're on a water meter, so you're not being inefficient with how much you use.
These tips will hopefully help you to make the most of the summer and have a little more money to spend on the things you love to do outside!