Most people think of environmentally friendly living as an expensive thing to do; – buying local or organic food at a high cost or spending more money on chemical-free cleaning products for example, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Most green behaviour is about using less energy and reducing waste: two things that will save you money. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Having a well-insulated house is a must if you want to reduce heating bills. Adequate loft and cavity wall insulation can go a long way to making sure no heat escapes and keeping your house toasty in the winter, and the initial cost will soon be set off by all the savings. Double glazing helps as well, but if you don’t have it, investing in draught excluders or weather stripping to fill any cracks around windows and doors is a cheap and effective solution, as is installing heavy curtains or Roman Blinds to keep the heat in after dark.
Use Washing Machines…
85% of the energy used in doing a load of laundry goes on heating the water. Washing everything 30 degrees will cut the amount of energy used right down. Unless there are really stubborn stains, cold washes are just as effective as hot ones, but if you’re worried you can buy detergents that are extra effective in cold water. Avoid the tumble-drier; dry inside if it’s raining, and do large loads instead of lots of little ones; colours won’t run on a cold wash. This should cut down a bit on the time and effort you spend doing laundry, too!
… And Dishwashers
Following on from the last point, if you’ve got a dishwasher – use it! It might not seem very environmentally friendly, but on a full-load, it’s been proven that most modern dishwashers use half the water and about a sixth of the energy of doing everything by hand; less soap too. So stack the dishwasher full and then relax whilst it does its thing.
Turn Up The Fridge
Go online and buy a cheap fridge thermometer, then test the temperatures of your fridge and freezer. A fridge should be between 37-40F – any higher and bacteria can breed – and a freezer should be running at 0-5F. Many of us have them set lower than this in the belief that it’ll help the food keep for longer, but this isn’t the case, and in fact keeping them just 10 degrees colder than necessary can boost your energy consumption by up to 25%.
And Turn Down The Boiler
We all know that throwing on a jumper or two and turning down our thermostats goes a long way to saving energy, but did you know that you can also save money by turning down the hot water temperature on your boiler? Having the water temperature at anything over 140F is wasting both money and energy, and as a bonus, a lower water temperature means no more accidentally scalding hot showers! You can buy insulated jackets to put around your boiler to stop heat escaping from it too, meaning it doesn’t have to work quite so hard – this should help it last a bit longer as well as saving energy.
Liberty-Belle Howard is a UK blogger with a keen interest in green issues. She is currently blogging on behalf of Hillary’s Blinds.