The Energy Saving Trust website has general energy saving advice and useful information on a range of energy efficiency improvements. More specific advice on home energy efficiency improvements, based on where you live, is now provided through the Government’s Simple Energy Advice service.
In response to the recent rise in energy costs, in early 2022 our friends at Low Carbon West Oxford compiled a helpful checklist of “energy-busting tips” that can help save money and cut emissions.
The Low Carbon Hub’s Warmer Winter Checklist similarly includes lots of advice including long and short-term actions you can take as well as direction for where to get further support.
Better Housing Better Health is a free service, supported by Oxfordshire County Council, that provides a single point of contact for expert advice to improve the energy efficiency of your home, reduce energy consumption, manage energy bills, and give you better home comfort. Their experienced team provides tailored solutions to meet a home’s specific circumstances including switching energy suppliers, signing up to the Priority Services Register, and accessing funding. Some Oxfordshire residents can also benefit from an additional free home visit, where a specially trained advisor offers impartial advice to ensure more suitable housing conditions and reduce housing-related health issues. To speak to the team visit www.bhbh.org.uk or call 0800 107 0044. Better Housing Better Health have also compiled a list of ‘quick wins’ on saving energy, see: https://www.bhbh.org.uk/10-quick-wins-to-save-energy/.
No-cost energy saving measures
There are some simple actions householders can take which don’t cost money or involve a landlord. Most are simple behaviour changes such as switching off lights and appliances when not needed, using heating or boiler controls more effectively, using the washing machine at lower temperatures, and monitoring your energy use by taking regular meter readings. You can find more information on energy saving ‘quick wins’ and advice on understanding your energy bill on the Energy Saving Trust’s website and on Low Carbon West Oxford’s “energy-busting tips” checklist.
Low-cost energy saving measures
Examples include: fitting thermostatic radiator valves; using radiator reflective foil; draught-proofing; ensuring you have an insulation jacket around a hot water tank; using low energy- lightbulbs; choosing energy efficient appliances; fitting thick curtains and using an energy display monitor (smart meter).
Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways of saving energy in any type of building. See Energy Saving Trust advice here and Low Carbon West Oxford’s “energy-busting tips” checklist for further suggestions and guidance.
Higher cost energy efficiency measures
Increasing the energy efficiency of your house will mean you use less energy to heat and power your home, and can also reduce any condensation and mould problems. The most effective measures are loft and cavity wall insulation, an energy efficient condensing boiler and installing double-glazing. You can find out more about the range of energy efficiency measures on the Government’s Simple Energy Advice website.
Switching energy suppliers
The variety of energy tariffs can be confusing but it’s worth checking with your supplier that you are on the most appropriate option – they are required to tell you if you are on their cheapest tariff. An even cheaper tariff might be available with an alternative supplier.
And if you want the energy you use to be green, there are a growing number of companies offering clean energy from renewable sources (e.g. wind, solar, water). Compared with electricity generated by burning fossil fuels, clean power has far less impact in terms of climate change and air pollution. For help with switching, visit the Oxford Big Clean Switch, supported by LCON and other Oxford organisations.
In addition, Citizens Advice can assist with general problems with your energy bills, if your supplier cannot help.
Finally, if you live in rented accommodation, many structural energy efficiency improvements are the landlord’s responsibility. Oxford City Council’s website gives information on energy efficiency in the private rented sector and legal requirements.
Join our Housewarming programme
And if you are looking to make longer-term improvements to your home, take a look at our comprehensive Housewarming guides and/ or join us at any or all of our monthly ‘Housewarmings’. Housewarmings are structured meetings with our ‘Housewarming Group’ network. Everyone who lives in North Oxford is warmly invited. You can find out more on our website, including dates and specific topics, and how to book your place. Please spread the word among friends and neighbours!