The Renewable Energy Centre’s Helps to Combat Fuel Poverty - Practical Tips for Households on Any Budget
A recent report commissioned by the Energy Efficiency Partnership has discovered that around 3 million households currently spend over 10% of their income on electricity and gas bills. This is a percentage 3 times higher than the average household and is defined as ‘Fuel Poverty’.
In 2001 the Government publicly pledged that they would eliminate fuel poverty in vulnerable households by 2010 and all other UK households by 2016. However, the estimated number of households often having to sacrifice other essentials just to keep warm has risen by around 1.7 million in the past 3 years.
Although the Government has been actively working towards meeting their targets by providing grants, offering advice and promoting energy saving ideas, it appears to have made little impact. Many are linking the steep increase in fuel poor households to the significant rise in utility prices between 2003 and 2006. Electricity prices have increased by 39 per cent and gas prices by 61 per cent over the past 3 years.
Low incomes and poorly insulated homes are also a major factor. The National Consumer Council says around 80% of the fuel poor population are living in homes that are below average in energy efficiency.
Visitng TheRenewableEnergyCentre.co.uk is the first step for any individual wishing to combat fuel poverty and make energy saving improvements to their home. It contains a fully comprehensive national and local directory of specialist products and suppliers in this arena. There are pages of advice and information on all areas of renewable energy which is particularly useful for property owners researching the possible options available and will help them make an informed decision.
For those on a budget, The Renewable Energy Centre has published its top tips for cutting electricity and gas bills and significantly improving the energy efficiency of the home.
No Cost Tips
Appliances left on standby are still using up to 70% of their usual electricity, and could account for up to 6% of all electricity usage in the home. It is vital that all appliances are switched off when they are not being used!
Fridges and Freezers should be defrosted regularly as when they are filled with frost they have to work harder to stay cold.
The average standard kettle in the UK is used to boil water seven times per day so each time make sure you only boil as much water as you need.
Keeping your kettle limescale free will also increase its efficiency as the build up of limescale will mean the kettle will need to use more energy to raise the temperature of the water. Limescale can easily be removed by leaving a cup full of vinegar in your kettle overnight.
Turn the thermostat down by 1 degree can cut heating bills by 10 per cent and save around £30 per year.
Close your curtains at dusk stops heat escaping through windows.
Washing your laundry at 30 degrees can save you 40% of the electricity used to wash the load at a higher temperature.
Always try and do a full load of washing as this will uses less water than 2 half loads
Try and use your tumble dryer as little as possible. Either dry clothes outside in the summer or place on a clothes rail in an unheated room. Open the window slightly to allow damp escape and shut the door to stop heat being drawn into that room.
Lighting counts for 15% of the average electricity bill. Always switch of the light before you leave a room.
Low Cost Tips
• Light Bulbs
Switch to energy saving light bulbs. Although they are slightly more expensive than standard bulbs they last up to 12 times longer and each bulb will cut £7 off your annual electricity bill.
Fit a British Standard insulating jacket for your hot water tank. They are around 7.5cm thick, only cost around £10 and you cut bills by up to £15 a year.
Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators and make sure curtains or furniture are not in front of any of the radiators.
Invest in draft excluders for windows, doors and to stop warm air escaping.
• Wall Insulation
Up to 33% of heat is lost through exterior walls. Filling wall cavities is one of the most cost-effective means to saving energy and could cut heating bills by up to £160 per year.
• Loft Insulation
A further 25% of a homes heating can also be lost through the loft. Loft insulation could cut your heating bills by up to 20% and is one of the easiest ways of reducing bills. It can even be installed yourself and there are government grants available.
Nearly a fifth of your homes heat will escape through windows if they are singled glazed. Although double-glazing can be expensive it has great benefits for reducing heat loss and noise. For those on a tight budget, secondary glazing using polythene sheeting still helps.
• New Boiler
After 15 years a boiler will begin to lose its efficiency. Although one of the more expensive energy saving options, a modern ‘A’ rated boiler can save you up to £180 a year and halve your home’s carbon emissions.
Visit www.therenewableenergycentre.co.uk today for further suggestions and advice.
----- ENDS -----
About the Renewable Energy Centre:
The Renewable Energy Centre: Saving Money, Saving Energy and Saving the Planet
The Renewable Energy Centre is committed to informing all online users about energy saving and renewable energy in order to:
• increase public awareness through accurate and informative resources
• create business opportunities throughout the UK through its’ local and national directories.
For more information:
Contact: Tim Ovens (sales) or Angela Gallacher (press)
1 Alpha House, Farmer Ward Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2ED Tel: 01926 865835
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