No-cost energy saving measures
There are many 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. The Energy Saving Trust is a useful mine of information.
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 at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-insulation/draught-proofing. The Energy Saving Trust has a wealth of other guidance, for example, energy efficiency ‘quick wins’ and cost savings www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency/energy-saving-quick-wins
The ‘Better Housing, Better Health’ project which covers Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire offers free advice, and help may be available to people on low incomes – see Oxford City Council’s 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. A cheaper tariff may be available or it might be time to think about switching suppliers. 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. LCON is promoting the Oxford Big Clean Switch www.bigcleanswitch.org/oxford
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 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.
Information on each of these options is available from the Energy Saving Trust http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-insulation
Better Housing Better Health is a free and impartial advice service, including a telephone helpline (0800 107 0044).
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. https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20277/energy_efficiency_in_private_housing/1220/energy_efficiency_in_private_rented_housing/