Ten great ways to save energy: Back to basics

Saving energy is not only for those in the environmentally-friendly camp - saving energy can make a difference to your utility bills, too!

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The Independent Online

One of the key complaints students have is: "I don't have any money!" While this might not always be strictly true, it’s true that students tend to face larger outgoings than they ever dealt with before they left home. Utility bills are a big addition to your outgoings, and energy bills are not getting any cheaper, so it makes sense to try and minimise the amount you spend on them.

An issue with being a student is that you’re not likely to own your own home, so it’s much more difficult to change your energy supplier, which might lead to slightly smaller bills. All you can do is be careful about how you use water and electricity.

Some of these suggestions may be fairly obvious – we’re not promising anything revelatory, but we hope they serve as a reminder to think about the way you consume energy. Less energy means less money, and does wonders for your green credentials too.

  1. The first thing you should do is grab a few freebies from your water provider. SaveMoneySaveWater have a great list of the water-saving products available to you from your water supplier. You could get a water-saving widget for your shower, your tap, or a save-a-flush bag which saves the amount of water you use each time you flush.
  2. Use radiator valves to control the temperature of individual rooms – they close when the room is at the right temperature. Keeping the heating at a stable temperature (ie only moving the thermostat by one or two degrees) is much more efficient than turning it right up and then right down.
  3. Don’t bother using what you don’t actually need - turn the heating off in rooms that you don’t use a lot. Get into the habit of turning lights and electrical equipment off – at the plug - when you leave the room. If you have the heating on, make sure all of your windows are shut so the heat doesn’t escape. Turn off the taps when you brush your teeth, shave, or wash your hands.
  4. Cook several varieties of food using the same ring by using a steamer – these can normally be stacked so you can cook multiple foods. Only cook what you can eat, or save the rest for later by storing it in the freezer.
  5. When washing up, don’t leave the tap running – if you have two sinks, fill one with wash water, and the other with water to rinse. If you only have one, invest in a washing up bowl. If you have a dishwasher, you’re very lucky as these tend to use less water than washing by hand, but only if the dishwasher is full.
  6. Use the washing machine at a lower temperature, and on a shorter wash cycle. It’s widely thought that 30 degrees is enough to clean off every day dirt. Also, hold off on the washing until you have a full load. Is it summer, or does it get warm in one room of your house? – hang your clothes up to dry rather than using the tumble dryer.
  7. Keep a bottle of water in the fridge so that you don’t have to keep the tap running until it goes cold. Don’t leave the fridge open for too long, either.
  8. If you have an upstairs, turn down the temperature of the radiators up there – heat rises, and the upstairs will naturally get heated by the downstairs radiators anyway
  9. Have a shower rather than a bath, as this uses a third of the amount of water – unless it’s a power shower. If you shower already, try cutting down the time you spend in there.
  10. The minute you spot a leaky faucet or shower head, get your landlord to sort it as a matter of urgency – leaky taps can waste at least 5,500 litres of water a year.

Do you have any great tips for students who want to start saving energy?