Advice on saving money and energy

Changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on energy and fuel.

Advice on saving energy

There are many ways you can save energy in your everyday life. Here are some ideas:


To improve the energy efficiency of your home and cut heating bills:

  • Turn your thermostat down by 1°C to cut your heating bill by ten per cent and your CO2 emissions by 242kg
  • Draught-proof your window frames, doors, keyholes and letterboxes to cut down up to 15 per cent of heat-loss
  • Draw curtains at night to reduce heat loss through windows
  • Turn radiators in un-used rooms down to their lowest settings
  • Bleed radiators regularly to make sure that they are working at maximum efficiency
  • Dry clothes outside or on a clothes' horse, as drying clothes on radiators causes condensation and blocks heat
  • Fit tin foil behind radiators to reflect heat into the room

Electricity - lighting and appliances

Choose the right appliances to save energy:

  • Look for appliances with the highest energy efficiency rating (A++) and the Energy Saving Trust logo on recommended products
  • Turn appliances off standby when not in use - this could save the average household up to £37 a year
  • Switch from traditional bulbs to energy efficient bulbs - this will save you between £5 and £10 per bulb a year
  • Only use your washing machine when you have a full load. Also, washing at 40°C uses half the energy of washing at 60°C and works just as well for most loads
  • Dryers are one of the highest energy-using appliances in the home, so avoid them if you can by hanging washing on lines or racks. If you have no choice, wring out or spin clothes as much as you can before drying
  • When cooking, make sure pans are on the right size hob ring and keep lids on to reduce cooking times. This could save up to 40 per cent of the heat
  • Keep freezers full and defrost them regularly
  • Boiling just enough water needed in your kettle could save as much as £25 a year
  • Switch to a laptop computer - they use between five to ten times less energy than desktops
  • Generate your own electricity. Find out more about the choices available on the Energy Saving Trust website.


To use less water daily:

  • Don't let the tap run when brushing your teeth or shaving - it uses six litres of water every minute
  • Get dripping taps repaired - these can use up to 140 litres in a week (enough for two full baths.)
  • Washing your car with a hose can use up to 15 times more water than using a bucket
  • Short showers use much less water than baths
  • Bottled water has a carbon footprint 1,000 times higher than tap water!

Food and shopping

To reduce the carbon footprint of your shopping:

  • Buy local foods where possible to reduce food miles
  • Buy loose rather than packaged foods where they are available
  • Use leftovers - 8.3 million tonnes of food is thrown out in the UK every year emitting 20 million tonnes of carbon
  • Grow your own, if you can
  • Compost food waste
  • Avoid plastic bags in favour of durable re-usable bags - the UK uses 10 billion plastic bags a year


To reduce fuel use and carbon emissions:

  • A quarter of car journeys are under two miles and more than half are less than five miles. Walking, cycling or using public transport will significantly reduce your carbon emissions
  • Car sharing is an easy way to reduce emission and fuel costs
  • Improving your driving style can save lots of fuel
  • Avoid aggressive acceleration and braking
  • Driving at 50mph uses 30 per cent less fuel than driving at 70mph
  • Driving in fifth gear uses 25 per cent less fuel than third gear
  • Opening the windows increases 'drag' and fuel consumption
  • Reduce excess weight if not needed (such as roof racks)
  • Keep tyres inflated to the right pressure and balanced
  • Long distance coaches have lower carbon footprints than cars or trains
  • Taking a holiday in the UK is much more environmentally friendly

Recycling and re-use

Every year in the UK we send around 23 million tonnes of household waste to landfill. About 60 per cent of household waste could be recycled. It is easy to reduce your waste:

  • We collect paper and card, plastic bottles and glass - check on our rubbish and recycling web pages to find out more
  • Take old furniture, clothes, CDs, DVDs, toys and unwanted gifts to local charity shops
  • Opt-out of receiving junk mail - register with the  Mailing Preference Service or phone 0207 291 3310
  • Sell or auction high value items on websites such as eBay
  • Donate items not wanted by charity shops using Freecycle-type websites
  • Compost food waste

Green ideas booklet

An information  booklet is available containing a wealth of great ideas to save money and help you lead a 'greener' lifestyle.

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