Five Questions About: Saving energy

Why should I think about saving energy?

Your bills might seem manageable in the summer while the heating isn't on, but when winter comes having a more energy efficient home is likely to make a real difference, particularly as gas and electricity prices are on the up. Scottish Power is so far the only big supplier to announce hikes in prices, but the others are expected to follow suit. You can protect yourself from these increases by locking into a fixed tariff.

Where's the best place to start?

Start by making sure you don't leave lights on when you are not in the room, or appliances on standby when you are not around. The average home wastes £40 a year by switching appliances on to standby.

What other changes can I make that won't cost me much?

Make sure you have energy saving light bulbs installed throughout your home. According to The Energy Saving Trust, using these could save you up to £45 in energy costs over the lifetime of the bulb, or £70 if you're replacing a high wattage incandescent bulb.

What about bigger changes?

Check your boiler to see how energy efficient it is. The Energy Saving Trust says that by replacing an old G-rated boiler with a new high efficiency condensing boiler and improving your heating controls, you could save as much as £225 a year. You should also consider cavity wall insulation, as this could save you up to around £110 on your energy bills.

But won't these cost me both an arm and a leg?

A new boiler is likely to cost upwards of £1,000 once you've included installation, but this should pay for itself in a few years in energy savings. Contact your local Energy Saving Trust advice centre on 0800 512 012 for more information, or visit the website at energysavingtrust.org.uk.

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