Please note that many of these articles were originally written for the old GB Wildlife site in between 2008 – 2010 and organisations may have changed since then.

 

Eco-Living – Save Energy and Money

Writing this most of the country is covered in a blanket of snow. The daytime temperatures in many places are remaining below zero and at night they plummet even lower. Even in these wintery conditions there are some tricks we can employ to save energy and money whilst still remaining warm.

Central Heating

Turning central heating down by just 1 degree can mean a big saving on your fuel bills with each degree saving up to 10%.

Refrain from setting the automatic timer on the central heating, especially in the evening and at the weekend. Why not just switch it on as needed instead of wasting fuel when you may not be in. If you set the heating so that the house is warm for when you get home from work how many times do you find that you end up popping to the shop or to visit a relative or getting stuck in traffic and end up arriving home much later than expected? Why not do an experiment to see how long it takes for the house to warm up to a reasonable temperature. I expect you will find it is not as long as you originally thought. Our house heats up nicely within half and hour so we just pop the heating on when we arrive home. This experiment also helps you if you want the house to be warm for when you wake up. It gives you a good idea of what time the heating should be set for.

Turn off radiators in any rooms you are not using. If you end up needing to use the room you can always switch it back on. Our radiators upstairs, including in the office are always switched off as we like fresh air and at least one window is always open so it is pointless wasting energy.

If you sleep with a window open why not turn the radiator off in the bedroom. I know this means it is cold when you first go into the bedroom but you can always get ready for bed in a warm room such as the bathroom. Not having heating on in the bedroom also helps to prevent the dry and sore throats many people complain about during winter.

If your radiator is under the window ensure your curtains don’t cover it as most of the heat will be wasted. If you have long curtains why not lift them up onto the windowsill whilst the radiator is on.

Rather than turn the thermostat up why not invest in a couple of fleece throws to help keep warm. These can be bought from any home store for a few pounds.

Insulation

It is best to have loft, cavity wall and under floor insulation to save heat escaping but this article is focusing on how to reduce carbon emissions and save some money so if you do not already have these in place and you don’t want to have it installed this year then try to keep heat in as best as possible by using old towels or blankets as draft excluders under doors. If you do not have double glazing line your curtains and fill and gaps around the frames.

Clothing

The best way to keep warm and reduce your heating bills is to wear an extra layer of clothes. Invest in some thick socks and pull on a warm jumper. Children can be kept warm in the evening with fleecy dressing gowns or with fleece all-in-one sleep suits.
Although traditionally seen in stores for babies, all-in-one fleece suits come in a range of sizes and keep children warm throughout the night. Always be careful not to let young children and babies overheat, fleece sleep suits may not be suitable if you leave the heating on all night.

The suits even come in adult sizes! I took delivery of one last week and it is fantastic. Very comfy and certainly very warm. I wear it round the house to keep warm before bed and I can see that during the really cold months I’ll be sat at my desk typing whilst wearing it. It’s not the height of fashion but I know of a few other people ordering them so that this winter they can stay warm without having to put the heating on. An unwelcome side effect of my multi-coloured frog suit (!!!) is that Andrew bursts into uncontrollable laughter whenever he sees me in it!

On a serious note if you know of anyone who is likely to be left vulnerable by the cold weather, in particularly elderly people, a suit like this would be ideal. You can see a range of designs and sizes for all ages here.