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Home and Garden

Energy Saving, Home and Garden

14 Easy Ways to Save Energy (And Money!) In The Home

living room with grey sofa, cream rug and plants

Looking for easy ways to save energy and money to help beat the energy price rises? I’ve got you covered with my handy, useful, and practical renter-friendly tips to help cut your bills and keep you warm.

With the energy price cap rise taking effect from Friday 1st April 2022, millions of householders across the UK are set to see their electricity and gas prices soar. It’s estimated that household energy bills will rise by a massive £700 a year.

At a time when many householders have had their finances battered by the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic, it’s poor timing. Petrol and gas costs are rising, along with food price rises which are stretching already stretched household budgets. In short, it’s a financial sh*t storm for many, many householders.

Easy Ways to Save On Your Energy Bills At Home

Image of a living room with a blue text box that says easy ways to save energy and money at home.

I’ve been writing for almost 10 years here at Moral Fibres, and in that time I’ve covered a whole range of easy energy-saving tips. In my former life, I worked in a local Energy Saving Trust advice hub. I also hold a City & Guilds energy-saving qualification, so energy saving is something I know more than a little about.

There are so many ideas on easy ways to save energy contained in these here archives. So much, that I thought it might be really useful if I collated them in one post for old and new Moral Fibres readers alike.  Here you can learn ways to save money on both your electricity and gas bills, without compromising on the comfort levels of your home. I promise none of my tips involves wearing multiple jumpers, hats, scarves, and gloves at all times. However, it is of course good practice to pop a jumper on when you are cold, before cranking up the thermostat!

Many energy-saving tips focus on the big stuff. Things like insulating your walls, or switching to double or even triple glazing. These are very valid energy-saving tips. However, as someone who rented for many years, I remember the frustration of having ambivalent landlords who didn’t care that my energy bills were sky-high. I also remember the frustration at lacking the autonomy to be able to make these improvements. So, for these tips, I’ve focused on the more accessible energy-saving tips that almost anyone can implement.

Let’s crack on with the tips!

Easy Ways to Save Energy In Your Kitchen

Cream kitchen with wooden worktops and white exposed brick walls

Here are some of my easy ways to save energy and money in the kitchen:

Food Storage

  • Did you know that freezers work best when they are full?  This is because freezers expend most energy when they have to cool down the warm air that gets in when you open the door to take food out. Here are some clever tips to pack your fridge and freezer efficiently – from filling water bottles and reusing styrofoam packing blocks to keep your bills down.
  • In a similar vein, defrosting your freezer is a pain but so worth it! Frost buildup in your freezer increases the amount of work your freezer’s motor has to do. If the motor is working harder, then this means it’s using more energy.  Keeping it fairly frost-free means savings for the environment and for you. Not convinced? This Is Money says you can save £100 to £200 a year just by defrosting your freezer.
  • Whilst you are defrosting your freezer, you may want to dust your fridge.  Specifically, the coils at the back of the fridge, if you are able to do so. This is a surprising but effective tip, as when dust gathers on the condenser coils, it means your fridge has to work a lot harder.  A harder working fridge means more energy is being consumed by it to do its job. This, in turn, results in bigger electricity bills for you.  And it can shorten the life of your fridge, so you may have to fork out for a new fridge much earlier than if you’d been a bit more vigilant with the feather duster. According to Friends of the Earth, keeping your fridge’s coils clean can improve your fridge’s efficiency by up to a whopping 30%. 

How To Save Energy When You Are Cooking

  • Why using your microwave can be more efficient at cooking small portions of food. You can save 80% of energy compared to using an oven.
  • Similarly, why you should switch your microwave off at the wall when you aren’t using it. A typical microwave is on for 70 hours a year. Yet a microwave draws power for more than 100 times as long, just to keep the clock and electronic controls powered. That means you are using energy and paying extra on your bills for appliances you are not even using.
  • When you’re using your hob, it’s good practice to use a lid on your pans. This is because the lid keeps the heat in the pan, where it’s needed, rather than escaping into the air. Your food will cook faster this way, saving energy on your gas or electricity bills.

Cleaning

  • Open your dishwasher door before it starts the drying cycle to air dry your dishes. This can save up to 50% of your dishwasher’s energy.
  • Use a clothes horse instead of drying clothes on radiators. Hanging wet clothes on your radiator makes your boiler work harder, to get your room to your desired temperature. This means it takes longer to heat your home. In turn, this uses more energy to heat your home and costs you more money. That being said, ventilation is crucially important to help prevent health issues. If you can, dry your clothes in a room where you can open a window and close the door on it, to allow the air to circulate freely. If that’s not possible, opening your windows every day for at least fifteen minutes helps fresh air to freely circulate, reducing the chance of dampness occurring.
  • Why you should turn down your hot water thermostat to 60ºC The average boiler hot water thermostat in the UK is set to 65ºC. This is very inefficient and a waste of energy and money. At this temperature, you have to cool the water that you’ve spent money heating to be able to use it. Heat loss from your boiler/hot water cylinder is also increased at this temperature. You can save around £30 a year if you turn your boiler temperature down from 65ºC to 60ºC. Don’t set it below 60ºC though. You need your hot water to be at this heat to kill bacteria associated with Legionnaires’ Disease. This is a potentially fatal lung infection spread through the inhalation of water bourne particles.

Ways to Save In Your Living Room

living room with grey sofa, cream rug and plants

Looking for easy ways to save energy in your living room? I’ve got heaps of ideas for you:

  • Rearrange your furniture. Yes, really! If your sofa or any other bulky item of furniture is in front of your radiator then it will absorb a high percentage of the heat being emitted from your radiator.  This means you’ll have to run your heating for longer for your room to warm up.  Moving your sofa allows heat to circulate freely.
  • Why you should turn the brightness down on your TV. When TV sets are packaged for sale or display, they are set at much higher levels of brightness and contrast than really necessary. Manufacturers do this bit of trickery so the screens look all bright and jazzy in illuminated shop displays. However, the default brightness settings are too bright for most living rooms. Increased brightness and contrast on your TV means increased power consumption. Turning down the brightness saves a surprising amount of energy.
  • Why it’s a good idea to get into the practice of charging your mobile phone during the day. Did you know that to charge an iPhone, it takes under an hour for a flat battery to reach 80% battery levels? Then it takes another 60 to 90 minutes to reach 100%. That’s 1.5 hours maximum, to recharge your phone’s battery. But if you sleep for around 8 hours on a good night, you are using 6.5 hours of extra power that doesn’t need to be used.  Leaving your phone on charge when it’s fully charged can also decrease the battery’s lifespan.
  • Finally, here’s why you should close your curtains at dusk (and open them again as soon as you get up).

Have you got any easy ways to save energy?  Share with other readers in the comments below!

What To Do If You Are Struggling To Pay Your Bills

Remember, if you are struggling with your energy bills, do seek help. Speak to your supplier first – some energy suppliers offer hardship funds that you can access. Citizens Advice have details on grants and benefits that might be available to you to help you pay your energy bills too. And you can also contact your local council. In the Spring Budget, it was announced that local councils would receive additional funding to help support those struggling with the costs of living. None of this is nowhere near enough, but after the incredibly disappointing Spring Budget, I desperately hope that some of this can help.

Home, Home and Garden

The Best Eco-Friendly Stationery For A Sustainable Home Office

Are you looking for sustainable and eco-friendly stationery and office supplies? Here’s my guide to supplies, including notebooks, folders, pens, printer paper, and more.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. Some brands have also paid to be featured here. This is denoted by **. Moral Fibres only works with brands that we think are doing good things.

Are you one of many who are still working from home? My partner and I are both still working from home, with my partner looking like he might be working from home on a permanent basis. I work in my home under stairs office, and to be honest, I’m not complaining.

Regardless of your setup, the chances are you are reading this page because you are looking to green your home office supplies. Well, the good news is that I have a heap of eco-friendly stationery and office supplies suggestions for you, to make that work-from-home life more sustainable.

The Best Eco-Friendly Stationery And Office Supplies

A home office set up with a white desk and gold lamp, and the caption "guide to eco-friendly stationery and home office supplies".

Here are my top picks for green stationery for your eco-friendly home office. I’ve prioritised reusable products, products made from recycled materials, and products that are fully recyclable and/or compostable at the end of their life to help green your working day.

Eco-Friendly Notebooks

Concerned about paper waste? Enter Wipebook**, who seek to make stationery more sustainable through their clever reusable notebooks.

Wipebooks are paper notebooks that erase just like your own personal and portable whiteboard. With multiple sheets in a book, you aren’t limited to just one page. Meanwhile, their small size allows you to bring them anywhere.

Whether you are taking notes in a meeting, working out problems, or sketching down ideas, the Wipebook is a great solution for an eco-friendly home office. Once you’ve typed up your notes, simply erase them and start again, without any waste.

For notes or doodles that you don’t want to erase, then Wipebook has thought of that. The free Wipebook Scan App saves your work and uploads it to your favorite cloud service. This includes services like Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, and Onedrive, so you don’t lose your work.

Buy directly from Wipebook**, with notebooks starting at around £25. Use the exclusive discount code moral20 at the checkout for 20% off your first Wipebook purchase! 

Eco-Friendly Folders, Ring Binders and Stationery Storage

Paperchase kraft collection

For many of us, we’re not quite at the paperless office yet. There are still documents and bits of paper that need to be filled away for future reference.

For eco-friendly folders and ring binders, and other types of paper storage, then I’m a long-standing fan of the Paperchase Kraft Collection*. If you take a peek at my home office, you’ll see I’ve got a few of their folders on my shelf. I purchased these quite some years ago and they are still going strong.

All of Paperchase’s kraft collection is made from kraft paper, sourced from FSC approved suppliers. These eco-friendly stationery products come at an affordable price point and can easily be recycled at the end of their life.

Buy Paperchase’s Kraft Collection* directly from Paperchase, starting from £2.

Printer Paper

recycled printer paper

Talking of paper, if you need to print out documents then do consider shifting away from standard printer paper, to using recycled printer paper.

Xerox’s 80 gsm recycled printer paper is made from 100% recycled paper. Unlike some recycled paper, this has been processed without bleaching and it is free from chemically derived optical brightening agents. And for that extra sustainable touch, the reams of paper have been wrapped and packed in recycled material.

Granted, this paper is not bright white. It does have more of a beige tone to it. However, unless you are a graphic designer looking to proof design work, then it hopefully shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for you.

I’m working on finding eco-friendly printer ink, so I’ll be sure to update this article when I find some that I recommend.

Buy Xerox recycled printer paper from Ryman or from Amazon*. Try as I might, I have not yet been able to find an ethical supplier of recycled printer paper. I’ll update here when I hit the jackpot!

Eco-Friendly Pens

pack of two eco-friendly pens for your stationery collection.

When it comes to eco-friendly stationery, it’s challenging to find a truly sustainable pen, because like in many areas of life, none on the market are perfectly sustainable.

Having tried using fountain pens, let’s just say I can see why the world moved on to ballpoint pens. There’s definitely a learning curve associated with fountain pens. I have to say I just never mastered it. I would say, if you are new to refillable fountain pens, then the best option is to try a secondhand one from somewhere like eBay, to see if it could be an option for you.

If you don’t want inky fingers, I quite like these VENT for Change pens* from &Keep. These are made from recycled plastic and can be recycled again.

They also have a charitable aspect. VENT for Change supports children’s education projects around the world.  This means that proceeds from every VENT product sold go towards global education projects getting children back into school.

Buy VENT for Change pens from &Keep* for £3.95.

Plastic-Free Tape

four rolls of plastic-free sellotape

Once your regular plastic-based tape runs out, then may I recommend upgrading to plastic-free paper tape. It’s just as effective as regular plastic tape, but it is fully recyclable and home compostable.

This fancy floral print paper tape* is £5.75 from The Ethical Home Shop. But if floral is not your thing, then you can find lots of other patterns or just plain brown tape on Etsy*.

Buy paper tape from Etsy* from £0.99.

Eco-Friendly Highlighter Pens

a box of four plastic-free highlighter pencils for your eco friendly stationery collection.

Highlighter pens have also had an eco-friendly makeover, so you can now add them to your sustainable stationery collection.

Instead of the plastic pens of old, these jumbo highlighter pencils are made from wood. This means the shavings and stubs can be fully composted. What’s more, they won’t bleed through thin pages, leak, or dry out, making them much more durable.

Each box contains a pink, orange, yellow, and green highlighter pencil, packaged in a plastic-free box.

Buy a pack of 4 highlighter pencils from Etsy* for £5.99.

Have I missed anything crucial to your home office needs? Let me know and I’ll see what I can find!