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Green Living

Energy efficient households 'can save £270 a year'

The average home can save £270 a year by being energy efficient, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

The organisation offers these tips to help people cope with rising energy prices.

* Look for cavities - around 33% of the heat lost in an uninsulated home is through the walls, so insulating them can be one of the most cost-effective ways to save energy in the home. Not all buildings are suitable, but if a house was built between the 1920s and 1980s it could be a candidate for cavity wall insulation, saving up to £120 on annual heating bills.

In a house built before the 1920s, with solid wall construction, and if repairs are needed to walls or rooms, a householder could instal internal or external wall insulation, saving around £380 a year on heating bills.

* Have the boiler checked regularly. If it is not broken, it still might need fixing. Boilers usually break down in winter so it is essential to check it in the summer. If the boiler is more than 15 years old, it is probably time it was replaced with a new energy efficient one. High efficiency condensing boilers are the most energy efficient and will save around a third on heating bills straight away, and even more if upgraded to modern controls.

* Fridge freezers are the most hardworking appliances in kitchens - UK households use £1.8 billion worth of electricity on refrigeration and freezing alone every year. To help cut costs, do not leave the door open longer than necessary, as cold air will escape. Avoid putting hot food into the fridge, defrost the freezer regularly and check the door seals are working properly.

* Look out for the energy saving recommended logo when buying new electrical appliances. The logo appears on a growing range of products - from light bulbs to laundry appliances, indicating the most energy efficient appliances which are also cheaper to run. Replacing an old, energy inefficient fridge-freezer with a new energy saving recommended one could save up to £34 a year.

* An insulating jacket for hot water tanks costs only a few pounds and pays for itself within months. Fit one that is at least 75mm (3") thick to save around £30 a year. If every UK household fitted a jacket on their tank tomorrow, that would save around £130 million of energy every year.

* Close the curtains at dusk. That stops heat escaping through windows.

* Buy energy efficient light bulbs. Priced from just £2.00, energy efficient light bulbs last around 10 times longer.

* Double glazing cuts heat loss through windows by 50% and could cut heating bills by up to £110 a year.

* Loft insulation keeps the heat in a house. If a loft is uninsulated, about 15% of what a household is paying for heating could be escaping through the roof.