Five Questions About: Energy efficiency

Why is being energy efficient so important?

Five of the six big suppliers have now announced price hikes. Npower said on Tuesday that it is raising gas prices by 15.7 per cent, while electricity costs will go up by 7.2 per cent, from 1 October. With hikes from other suppliers already kicking in, preventing energy wastage will help keep bills down.

Which measures are most effective?

Simple things can make a difference. These include turning lights off when you leave a room, closing curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping and turning off electrical goods rather than leaving on standby.

What about generating your own energy?

If you are truly committed to saving money and doing your bit for the environment by becoming more energy efficient, you could invest in renewable technologies such as solar panels or wind turbines to produce your own electricity.

Are there grants available to help with the cost?

The Government provides grants for insulation or new boilers to households in receipt of certain benefits via the Warm Front scheme (known as the Energy Assistance Package in Scotland and NEST in Wales). You can also get financial help with the installation of energy generating technologies such as solar panels and biomass boilers through the renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme.Energy suppliers and local authorities can help too.

How else can I cut energy costs?

Make sure you are on the most competitive gas and electricity tariff – switching could save hundreds of pounds a year. You should also pay bills by monthly direct debit to spread the cost and avoid the 'bill shocks' that come after the costly winter months.