Tag

energy efficiency

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 new higher energy price cap taking effect from Friday 1st October, millions of householders across Scotland, England, and Wales are set to see their electricity and gas prices soar. It’s estimated that household energy bills will rise by a massive £139 a year. What’s more, prepayment meter customers (typically those who can least afford energy price hikes) will see an even bigger £153 increase.

At a time when many householders have had their finances battered by the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic, it’s poor timing. Particularly, as the days get colder and darker, we are all going to be using more heating and lighting. Not only that but food price rises are stretching household budgets, Christmas is not that far around the corner, and many people will be impacted by the withdrawal of Covid support schemes. 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 9 years here at Moral Fibres, and in that time I’ve covered a whole range of easy energy-saving tips. In a 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 involve 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 at 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’s some clever tips to pack your fridge and freezer efficiently – from filling water bottles and reusing styrofoam packing blocks to keep your bills down.
  • On 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 occuring.
  • 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. By turning down the brightness this 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, now that is is getting darker, 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!

Home, Home and Garden

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Blankets to Keep You Cosy

Searching for a sustainable, eco-friendly, or ethical blanket to keep you cosy this winter? I’ve got seven blankets for you today, that won’t pull the wool over your eyes with their eco-friendly credentials. From recycled to organic, and everything in-between, at all budgets, there’s sure to be something that needs your needs.

I’ve written about ethical bedding before, but what if you are looking for an eco-friendly blanket to cosy up to on the sofa with? With energy bills set to soar in 2021, finding ways to keep warm without having to have your heating on 24/7 have never been more important.

As someone who spends part of their working life freelancing from home, over the years I’ve developed a number of strategies to keep warm that don’t involve always having the heating on. From cosy socks and ethical slippers to keep my feet warm. To big cardigans, hot water bottles, and blankets draped over my knees to keep my core temperature cosy. The life of a freelance writer is certainly not a glamourous one! However, coupled with some clever energy-saving tips, it really helps keep our energy bills down. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of the humble blanket.

Where to Buy Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Blankets

Image of some folded tartan blankets with a blue text box that says the best eco-friendly blankets to keep warm with this winter

If you are looking for a blanket to cosy into this winter, then I’ve got a great selection of eco-friendly blankets for you today. I’ve specifically looked for blankets made of natural fibres, eco-friendly organic materials, or sustainable recycled materials.

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. This income helps keep this site running.

Frugi

Frugi's cuddle up blanket made from GOTS certified organic cotton

If you’re looking specifically for a baby or kid’s eco-friendly blanket, or a small blanket to go over your knees, then Frugi’s striped cuddle up blanket* (£35) is a good buy. It’s ethically made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, and is super soft and snuggly.

Oxfam Online

Oxfam Online has a great selection of ethical and eco-friendly blankets. This small recycled wool blanket*, for example, is woven from recycled fibres which have been re-spun to form the blanket. Not only that but it’s made in the UK too for a low carbon footprint. At only £12.99, it’s a planet-friendly bargain.

If you are looking for a larger ethical blanket, then this pure wool eco-friendly blanket* (£37.99) would be a colourful and cosy addition to any home.

If wool isn’t your thing, then Oxfam also caters to vegans. This recycled cotton blanket*, at £44.99, is a little more spendy, however, it is a thing of beauty. The blanket is made by a family-run Fair Trade business established in Jaipur, India that employs artisans to make beautiful products using recycled fabric. They aim to work as a platform for Indian artists and uneducated craftspeople who are in need of work, in order to keep traditional skills alive through their products. 

Purchases from Oxfam Online all support Oxfam’s work fighting global poverty.

Thrift Knit

Thrift Knit sells designer secondhand knitwear. However, for the sweaters and cardigans that are too damaged for them to sell, instead of ragging them, they turn these damaged knitwear items into fabulous recycled blankets.

To make these blankets, they take the damaged garments and removed the buttons, labels, and any trimmings. Thrift Knit then turns that wool back into yarn. The yarn is then woven into these beautiful, sustainable blankets by weavers based in Delph, on the Yorkshire/Lancashire Border.

These woollen blankets comprise 80% of Thrift Knit’s recycled wool. The remaining 20% comprises of pure new wool. This must be added to ensure the yarn keeps its length and strength.

Find these lovely blankets on Etsy* for £55 to £60.

Urbanara

Recycled eco-friendly blanket from Urbanara

Urbanara sells a wide range of pure wool and eco-friendly organic cotton blankets. However, the one that caught my eye was this recycled fibre blanket* (£60).

Made using only a blend of 100% GRS-certified recycled fibres – from recycled cotton to recycled polyamide, acrylic, linen, and silk fibres, it’s not only ecologically friendly but super soft and cosy too. Despite being made from some recycled synthetic fibres, the knit structure feels similar to pure cotton. At a 190 by 130 cm size, this makes for a cosy blanket, perfect for snuggling up in on chilly winter nights.

Weaver Green’s Eco-Friendly Recycled Blankets

Got dogs or little kids? Partial to a glass of red wine? Got allergies? Then you will want to know about Weaver Green blankets (available via the National Trust for Scotland webshop*) (£48). These are hand-woven from up to 300 recycled plastic bottles each. Despite being made of recycled plastic, their blankets are soft, warm, and luxurious like wool. What’s more, they are easy to clean, stain-resistant, and suitable for outdoor use. They’re also water-resistant, hard-wearing and moth resistant. And if you have allergies, then the good news is that dust mites won’t live in them.

The one downside? Recycled plastic isn’t great to wash in the washing machine, as it does release microplastic which ends up in the food chain. Try to spot clean any marks/stains before washing the whole blanket.

Got any other good sustainable blanket tips? Do share!