Powering the energy transition in SE London

Ways to bring down your energy usage…kitchen, bathroom, whole-house. Safe the planet and save cash.

If you are mystified by how your energy bills have risen, please see our other blog post here to learn more about it. In the meantime, you can contact Selce to get some advice about reducing your bills, managing any debt or accessing support to cope with it, including sometimes money off (if you’re lucky). If you’ve gone through all that, here are some ways you can save energy at home. A general principle is that if something heats up (shower/oven) or moves (washing machine/hoover) then it’s likely to use a lot of energy.

radiator reflector being installed in home
Radiator reflectors can help keep the heat in especially on external walls.

Saving energy in the kitchen

  • When cooking, always put the lid on pans
  • If you have an electric oven, try and avoid using it: use pans on the stovetop (gas is cheaper)
  • If you need to use the oven, try to fill it up and bake/roast several things together, for example, make a cake, and roast some veg at the same time to eat for dinner (it can be heated up later)
  • Turn the oven off a few minutes before your food is cooked as it retains a lot of heat for a short amount of time, so you save on a little bit of energy to finish off the cooking and take the food out as the oven just starts to cool down.
  • Make one-pot meals if you can: risottos are good (cook rice and add vegetables while cooking), or pasta where you can add veg to the water. An alternative is using a stacking steamer, when you can cook pasta, rice or potatoes (or anything) in water at the bottom and the rising steam can cook vegetables above. These save a lot of energy as you use one ring for a balanced meal.
  • Steam vegetables instead of boiling them. You use little water to cook them and the vitamins are held in them rather than washed away in the boiling water when you drain them. It’s healthier and saves on energy. If you’re worried about vegetables cooking then cut them up a bit smaller.
  • Try using a slow cooker: you can put food on before you go to work and it’s ready by the time you get home, using little electrical energy during the day.
  • Use a microwave as much as you can: it can cook a lot, or reheat swiftly, using relatively little energy. Jacket potatoes done in the microwave and finished off in the oven are great: they don’t take long, they are healthy and also quite low-cost food to eat.

In the bathroom

  • Take showers not baths, keep them for special but take showers for daily cleanliness
  • Question whether you need a shower every day: if you don’t exercise a lot you may not need one
  • If you take showers, get a timer (Selce can give you one) which limits your shower to four minutes.
  • For electric showers, you can get a ‘champagne’ shower head, which mixes air into the water that comes out. You still get nice and wet, but much less water is used.
  • Sometimes you can take your dirty clothes into the shower with you. Fresh sweat is water-soluable so can be easily rinsed under your feet while you shower, then hung out. This can significantly reduce your washing load, which is another place where energy is gobbled.

Washing your clothes

  • Wash sweaty clothes in the shower: they just need a rinse
  • Use the ‘eco’ cycle or the short cycle
  • Wash at 30 degrees, or even in cold water if your clothes are not very dirty
  • Make sure you fill up the washing machine. This may mean doing one wash a week (if you are a small household)
  • Hang out your washing on a rack or in the garden or balcony if you have one: it’s much better to use air to dry your clothes, and it’s free!
  • Washing clothes in the shower can also maintain the quality of clothes as washing in a machine stresses elastane fabrics and can damage the surface of some fabrics. Gentle rinsing will make them last longer.

The rest of the house

  • The most expensive part of your house is the heating. The weather is warming up now but when it gets colder try to avoid turning the heating on unless you have do. Wear more sweaters, and get some base layers to wear under your trousers, and warm socks. You can at least have the heating on low, and turn it on later.
  • Turn off ‘vampire’ appliances on standby when you’re not using them. They do suck energy unnecessarily and it mounts up on your bill. That includes computers, TVs, stereos and electronics.
  • Move large pieces of furniture away from the radiators: the radiators can heat the air in the room not the back of the sofa when they are on, and it’s much more economical.

Here’s a handy list of how much money you can save by doing some of these things on the Energy Saving Trust’s website: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/hub/quick-tips-to-save-energy/