Being aware of our energy usage means we don’t get a shock when the bills arrive.
There is plenty of advice online on how to reduce energy usage. Here are some top tips:
- Control heating from an app – innovation in heating and hot water control could reduce bills by £150 per year*
- Cover all bare floors – by covering floors with rugs you can increase heat retention and insulation
- Don’t leave appliances on standby – statistics show you could save up to £30 a year* by turning off completely
- Lower your thermostat – you could save on your energy bills by reducing the temperature by just a few degrees, and turn it down when you leave the house
- Be efficient in the kitchen – only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need (so you’ll use less energy to boil it) and don’t use a full sink of water to wash up if its not necessary
- Replace lightbulbs - Save on lighting costs with energy efficient LED bulbs which come in all shapes and sizes
- Turn lights off – when you leave a room be sure to switch the lights off
The UK government has plans in place to reduce carbon emissions by helping people use energy more efficiently with the help of smart meters, which track energy use and cut out the need for meter readings. By the end of 2020 every home and business in the UK will be offered smart meters for their electricity and gas.
The main benefit of them is that they allow increased control and flexibility of heating settings. Using a wireless thermostat and wi-fi connection these following apps allow someone to control their heating from an app on their phone, tablet or laptop. Heating can be turned down or off when not at home and therefore help you to save money on bills.
The Nest product launched into the market in 2011 and is now owned by Google. It has functions to schedule heating remotely but recently has also started learning about the users patterns and adapting accordingly. Developed in the US initially for heating control, the brand has developed an ecosystem of connected devices including smoke alarms, security cameras and lighting.
A well-known brand in the UK market, Hive was set up by British Gas in 2012 and the app allows someone to schedule heating and has a holiday mode for when you are away from home. It also has a frost protection function which stops pipes from freezing by turning the heating on when the outside temperature is below 7 degrees.
The main feature of the Tado product is that is has a location based control and when the last person leaves the house it turns the temperature down automatically, therefore reducing bills. It also has the same mechanics of scheduling heating remotely.
This is a Honeywell product which can be set up to manage individual zones in a house to regulate the temperate of each room separately. A touchscreen unit in the house and an app can be used with the product.
An alternative to a smart meter is using an app like Meter Readings, which costs £1.49 on Apple devices or 99p on Android, and helps keep on top of your utility bills. Simply enter your meter readings and it will produce a graph to show you your energy use habits and costs. As well as highlighting where you might be using the most energy, it means you can compare your usage and costs with people around you, meaning you can see if you could be better off switching to a different supplier.
Smart meters can also be used to control lighting and security devices in your house. On the Hive app a person is able to control lights and plug switches, which could be especially useful whilst on holiday. Samsung’s SmartThings is also a product in the market that can be used to control lighting, monitor home security and can even detect leaks in your home. Belkin’s Wemo home automation works alongside Nest to control heating, lights and plugs in your home from an app.
With new technologies and the government’s focus to implement smart meters, we will all have a lot more information about our energy use. It is then up to each household to implement changes to reduce this usage and ultimately reduce our bills. The power is in your hands!