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Easy Energy Saving Tips to Be A Carbon Reducing Hero | AD

This guide to easy energy saving tips is paid-for content in association with Worcester Bosch.

In 2021, the average UK household’s energy bill was £1138 a year. And with energy bills expected to rise further in 2022, it makes good financial sense to save energy where you can.

And not only does it make good financial sense, but it also makes good environmental sense. This is because on average, electricity and gas use creates about a quarter of all carbon emissions from our homes. Cut our electricity and gas use, and we cut our carbon emissions. Cutting carbon emissions helps to tackle climate change. It’s a win-win all round.

78% of us worry about climate change every day. But, while in reality there are lots of ways we can make a difference, knowing how to do so is often a real difficulty. As such, in association with the UK’s leading boiler manufacturer Worcester Bosch, I am sharing my top energy saving tips to help both the planet and your wallet.

Easy Energy Saving Tips To Implement

Image of a stylish living room with a blue text box that says easy energy saving tips to help you become a carbon hero.

Think Like A Carbon Hero

One of the best ways to save energy is to think like a carbon hero. Feeling a bit chilly? Rather than upping your thermostat, pop on a jumper first. If you’re still cold after putting on your jumper, then put the thermostat on. Cold feet? Pop on a pair of socks and/or a pair of slippers before putting on the heating. Can you hang your laundry outside to dry rather than using the tumble drier? Simple little lifestyle tweaks like these can make all the difference to your energy usage and your bills.

Upgrade Your Boiler

If your boiler is reaching the end of its life, then upgrading your boiler to a new A-rated condensing boiler with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls (TRVs) could save you as much £300 per year, based on fuel prices as of June 2021.

We upgraded our 20-year-old boiler to a Worcester Bosch Greenstar A-rated boiler two years ago, and it was one of the best investments we made when renovating our home. Not only does it heat our home much more efficiently and is so much quieter to run, but we know it’s saving us so much energy, and money on our bills compared to our old boiler. With guarantees of up to 12-years on Greenstar Lifestyle boilers (Ts & Cs apply), they also offer great peace of mind.

The other great thing about Worcester Bosch’s new Greenstar boilers is that they are capable of running on a 20% hydrogen blend.  This means your boiler will continue to run even when the government begins to increase the amount of ‘green gases’ into the UK gas grid. This could be a great way to future-proof your investment in your boiler to an extent and could help to save even more carbon. If a move to 100% hydrogen is made, however, you’ll need to switch to a hydrogen boiler to be carbon-free, a technology being developed by Worcester Bosch in trials. 

Choose Smart Controls to Save Energy

Even if you aren’t looking to upgrade your boiler, then an easy energy saving tip is to consider investing in smart heating controls. These clever devices allow you to control your heating remotely using your smartphone. This means you can manage your home temperature wherever and whenever you are, so you’re not using energy where and when it isn’t needed and could save you as much as £75 a year.

You can also even go further, and make your home super smart. Smart TRVs, alongside a smart control, for example, will even monitor each individual room’s temperature for you. This means they will automatically switch your boiler on if it drops below your preferred level, and will switch it off again once the desired temperature is reached. You don’t even have to lift a finger. Even carbon heroes need a rest now and again!

Set Your Thermostat Correctly

Speaking of thermostats, it’s important to set your hot water thermostat correctly. The average boiler hot water thermostat in the UK is set to 65ºC. However, 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 simply by turning your boiler temperature down from 65ºC to 60ºC. Don’t get too carried away though. Whatever you do, don’t set your hot water thermostat to be below 60ºC. You need your hot water to be at this heat to kill any nasty bacteria in your water.

Get Energy Saving Smart In The Kitchen

The kitchen is the one room in our house where our energy use is often the highest. Thankfully there are some easy and clever energy saving tips and techniques that you can implement.

For example, 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. Apparently, you can save £100 to £200 a year just by defrosting your freezer – a figure not to be sneezed at.

If defrosting your freezer sounds like too much work, you can also save energy just by switching off your microwave at the wall when you are not 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.

And 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 energy bills.

Looking For More Inspiration?

If you are looking for more easy energy saving tips and inspiration then do check out Worcester Bosch’s Green Hero page. Here you’ll find advice on the future of heating, as well as carbon saving top tips to help homeowners along the road to Net Zero 2050.

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Simple, Joyful Ways To Be Carbon Savvy | AD

This post on how to be carbon savvy is paid-for content in association with Zero Waste Scotland.

I tweeted something once about cutting carbon, and someone sarcastically replied that I must be terribly fun at parties. And I get it, talking carbon can be a particularly dry topic. However, something that I feel is very much overlooked – in fact, ignored – is the simple joy and pleasure that can be taken from finding alternatives to consumerism.

Zero Waste Scotland recently launched its first responsible consumption campaign, encouraging consumers to be “carbon savvy” when shopping.

Zero Waste Scotland says that around 80% of our carbon footprint in Scotland comes from our consumption habits. Yet, according to their research, only one-fifth of the Scottish population is fully aware of the negative impact consuming new products has on the climate.

When everything we buy, be that goods, materials, or services, has a carbon cost, then it is important that we try to minimise our consumption. This sounds like we have to give things up, and lead spartan lives. However, I would argue that adopting carbon-savvy behaviours can actually enrich our lives in unexpected ways.

Simple Ways To Be Carbon Savvy And Spark Joy

Image of scissors and mending tools, with a blue text box that says how to be carbon savvy and spark joy

Consumer behaviour doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of individuals. However, in what was a huge missed opportunity, consumption reduction was not a key theme at this year’s COP26 event in Glasgow. It is clear that until Governments and corporations take the lead on this, then tackling consumption is something that needs to begin at home.

Here are some ways that being carbon savvy can bring sparkle and joy to your life, and help the environment.

Reduce What You Buy

One way to be carbon savvy is simply to reduce what we buy. It is really difficult when we see advertisements in almost every part of our lives – from scrolling social media, to watching TV, to listening to music, to going on a walk. When advertising expenditure in the United Kingdom in 2020 alone amounted to £23.46 billion you know you are up against it.

It can be hard to stop shopping for things you don’t particularly need. Saying no to consumerism is something I liken to starting a new sport. At first, it’s really difficult, as your muscles are weak. However, the more times you practice and say to yourself, no I don’t actually need that item that’s being marketed to me, the stronger that muscle gets, and the easier it is to resist.

Learning to say no to even the very cleverest of marketing feels incredibly empowering. And your bank balance will feel the benefit too. My number one tip is when adopting a more carbon savvy approach is to try setting a savings goal. Set small incremental targets, and celebrate every time you hit your savings targets. You are guaranteed to feel amazing as your savings grow.

Learning To Say No

As I mentioned, saying no to mindless consumerism can be tricky at first. To help you out, I have a conversation I run through in my head that might be useful to you.

If I feel like I need something, I ask myself if I actually need the item, or if I just want the item. I always find there’s a huge difference between needing and wanting. If I need an item, then I can’t do without it. Whereas, if I want an item, then it’s obvious I can do without it.

If I decide that yes, I do need the item, I then ask myself where that need came from. Do I need it because I don’t have anything else that would work? Or do I need it because I saw some clever advertising that has convinced me that I do need it in my life?

If I do actually need something because of a genuine need, then instead of buying new, could I shop differently? Could I borrow the item from a friend or family member? Could I buy the item second-hand? Or could I rent the item instead? Or could I visit my local tool library?

The act of having that mental conversation has prevented a number of purchases. And in borrowing or buying secondhand, that act centres community rather than consumption.

Be Carbon Savvy By Reusing What You Have

Reusing what you have is another great way to be carbon savvy. I implement this in many different ways in my life. To take just a couple of examples, you can see how reusing can bring happiness in ways that buying things just can’t compete.

One example is when my oldest daughter outgrows her clothes, I store them away in my cupboard for my younger daughter to wear when the time comes. And when my youngest is done with them, I pass them on to friends. I always feel that something that isn’t talked about enough in society is the immense joy in seeing clothes which were once worn by your child, on another younger child – whether that’s a sibling or a friend’s kid. From the memories it brings, to the emotions that it stirs, it is all such a joy. This joy simply cannot be replicated by buying clothes new from a shop.

At Christmas, I also often repurpose last year’s Christmas cards to make gift tags. There’s nothing quite like the warm fuzzy joy of reading kind words from friends, as you make up your own tags. Again, there’s no way to replicate this when you buy a pack of plastic-wrapped gift tags. Reuse all the way!

Repair

One of the most useful skills I ever learned was how to sew a button back onto my clothes.

My Granny Graham taught me this skill when I was a little girl. She had this old biscuit tin, full of buttons from years gone by. She had this wonderful habit, long before sustainability was a thing, where she would cut the buttons off of any clothes that couldn’t be mended so that they could be reused. As a child, rummaging through that tin was like finding treasure, never knowing what jewel you would uncover next. It sparked a huge love of repair.

If you don’t have a Granny Graham in your life to teach you these skills, then if you can, why not spend a little time watching some YouTube videos to teach you basic mending skills.

If the repair is beyond you, search for a local mender. Much like the joy The Repair Shop participants get when they are reunited with their repaired family heirloom, that pleasure you get from getting a much-loved item back from being expertly mended is so much greater than any retail high.

Be Carbon Savvy By Looking After What You Have

Of course, sometimes it isn’t practical or possible to buy secondhand, or borrow, or repair. Even the most carbon-savvy of people have to buy new things sometimes. If you do need to buy something new, then try to buy ethically, and then look after your belongings.

This could be as simple as learning what the care labels on your clothing mean, and following those directions. I have to say I get a great sense of satisfaction from washing my woolen items the correct way. Simply knowing that I am looking after my clothes and helping to prolong their lifespan feels good.

Dispose Responsibly

Finally, when your items come to the end of their life, or you no longer need them then you can still be carbon savvy by disposing of them responsibly.

Could the item be recycled or upcycled? Could it be sold? Or could it be passed on to someone else? Could it be donated to charity? Any way that you can extend the lifespan of an item helps to save carbon. Therefore it is well worth spending a little time to think about what you could do with your item, rather than sending it to landfill. Disposing of something responsibly, rather than chucking it in the bin, also makes you feel a whole lot better.

Do More

Adopting these mindful reduce, reuse, and repair behaviours will save you carbon emissions and money and could bring you a whole manner of joy. If you want to do more, then wherever you are based, do follow Zero Waste Scotland’s How to Waste Less Instagram account. It’s full of easy tips and ideas for living sustainably.