Jellyfish, John Travolta's Saturday Night Fever and....coffee beans are the answer to lowering your electricity bills.
According to Eon, they feature amongst the most innovative (if a little unusual) potential alternative sources of producing electric power. So if you happen to have a jellyfish breeding water tank in your back garden or can stalk all of your neighbours to collect their used ground Arabica, you're sorted. For the rest of us, we're still bound to more traditional methods to save our pennies - because rather than wasting hard earned cash on electricity bills, I'm sure we'd be happier spending it on something more enjoyable, be it cool wearable tech or a winter cruise.
Read on and find out how you could save over £130.00 per year with simple changes (without any need for a giant fish tank).
We know the basics of how to reduce your electricity consumption at home:
*(source: Energy Saving Trust UK).
"Resist tumble drier temptation where possible. If the weather’s not good enough to hang washing out to dry, places like Lakeland do heated airing racks which cost pennies to run."
Faith also adds that full fridges and freezers cost less to run. Refill water bottles and keep them in the bottom of your fridge – you get cold water to drink and this also uses up space. One last tip from Faith is to charge up your mobile phone at work!
Most of these tips work whether you own your home, rent, share, or even live with your parents and pay them a nominal rent amount. There's even more you could do to boost your electricity savings.
Lighting accounts for 15 per cent of a typical household’s electricity bill. Although LED lights cost more to buy than standard bulbs, you'll be saving money in the long run as not only do they need less electricity to run, they are also less prone to breakage and naturally last longer.
According to lighting experts Lightbulbs-Direct, the lifespan of LED bulbs is approx 50,000 hours - compared to 15,000 hours for CFL lights, 2000 hours for halogen and just 1000 hours for incandescent (traditional) light bulbs. If you have the lights on in your home for 12 hours a day on average, LED bulbs can last you over 11 years.
How exactly are LED lights managing to run on about a tenth of the electricity needed for a traditional light bulb?
LEDs emit light in a specific direction, which reduces the need for reflectors and diffusers that can lower efficiency. Very little of the light they produce is lost or escapes in a direction that's not useful, or requires pricey and bulky solutions to get the light in the right place.
LED sources are also smarter, offering further ways to save on your electricity. You can easily dim them (if you buy the dimmable version), control them with a remote control, and you can pair them up with a motion sensor so they cut off if a room is not occupied. Plus you can create some cool mood lighting effects with LED lights or self adhesive strips like these from Screwfix. Those can easily be installed everywhere in your home to suit the time of day or even switch your home to 'party time'.
Check out this short demo video from the LEDHut on what effects you can create in your home with led strip lights
The Energy Saving Trust reckons that changing all your lights to LED lighting is, on average, an investment of £100, and can save you £35 a year in electricity. So let's do the maths:
Average lifetime LED bulbs 11.4 years
Initial replacement cost (swapping your existing light bulbs) £100
Annual savings on electricity bill £35 x 11.4 = £399
Total estimated net saving = £299
That said, it doesn't make sense just to throw away perfectly good halogen light bulbs into a landfill so you might want to simply replace them if and when they fail.
Whether you're home or not, you can now connect all your lighting, heating and plugs to one central system you control from an app on your phone.
There are more and more smart electricity and home safety monitoring companies coming to market, like Anyware Solutions.
Their solutions are really clever:
- Use the data you receive to monitor how much energy you use, not just for your whole house but by specific appliance (as long as you've got it connected to the mains via a smart socket that can identify it).
- Switch off all your lights when you leave home, from your phone.
- Create lighting schedules when you are away, which ensures all your lights are not on all the time and act as a way to keep your home and possessions safe.
What are the most energy greedy appliances in your home? According to Which?, fridge freezers are the most expensive appliance to run in terms of electricity use. Did you know they account for around a fifth of your electricity bills?
And that's with a standard model. The super wide, double doors, cool looking American models can ramp up your bills even more. We couldn't quite understand the logic behind this so we went digging for a technical explanation. It's all because of their design, and the fact the the compressor (the bit at the back that makes the cold air and keeps all your food chilled) sits closer to the freezer compartment. As the compressor gets hots when working, but can't impact on the freezer side of course, it needs to work extra hard to keep everything at the right temperature.
So look out for a A+++ model if you can, and opt for a standard model design too if you want to be kinder to your wallet. A great place to check for the best models is the TopTen website: Topten is a consumer platform that showcases the most energy-efficient household appliances and home products on the market including refrigerators, washing machines, lighting and TVs to help keep bills lower and reduce emissions.
By using less water and lower carbon emissions, smarter new washing machines can get your washing done for just £0.12- £0.18 per load. To put this into perspective, if you pay your kids a little pocket money for contributing to household chores, say £1 per load for them to do the whole "putting-on-the-line-taking-it-down-and-folding" thing, they could actually be the biggest cost of the whole operation, and more expensive to run than the smart washing machine!
Here are a few of the most energy efficient washing machines we have spotted:
Compared to one of the least energy efficient model like a HotPoint WMF740G 7Kgs (with a cost per smaller load of £0.2903 and costing £340), the 10kg LG would see you pocket a saving of £400.00 over the lifetime of your washing machine. That's 13 years apparently, before you ask.
This is based on doing 164 loads of washing per year by the way - just over 3 per week - about right for a medium sized family with 2 children?
On Sust-it.net you'll find more options to compare washing machine models by electricity and water costs.
There must be a lot more you can do to save on your electricity bills but we hope this will get you up to a good start.
If, like Faith Archer from Much More With Less, you have tips of your own that you feel we should mention here, get in touch to let us know or leave us a comment below.