Where ever you live in the UK from the far north to your location and all the way to the south, energy suppliers are a constant cause of stress and financial drain. We all want to pay less for our energy but with costs and tariffs changing all the time, it can be very difficult to make the right decision. This page will point you in the right direction for help in Brent and much more.
When people are looking for ways to reduce expenses or make better use of their money, they often look at common household expenses like utilities, subscriptions and even those associated with entertainment and recreation. The biggest monthly outgoing is usually food and energy bills.
In order to get the best gas and electricity deals available you need to understand how the gas and electricity suppliers are set up and how they calculate your bills. Many people don’t have a clue about the structure of the utility market in the UK and as a consequence end up spending way over the odds for their heating and lighting.
If you are looking for a better deal on your utilities then it’s pretty likely you were not too happy with your last bill. Especially in these tough economic times, you need to make sure you are not paying more than you have to. Just recently there have been further reports in the press of how the wholesale price of fuels is coming down yet the suppliers are not passing on these savings to their customers.
The easiest way to find the best gas and electricity for your area is to use a price comparison website, this takes all the guesswork, sales hype and confusion out of the process and lets your quickly see who can give you a better deal. I have consistently found energylinx to get the best prices and I would recommend you check them out. Utility bills often have a high monthly price, and reducing your spending on this can mean having more money that you can allocate toward other things.
You might also want to consider downsizing your lawn by using more hard surfaces to reduce electricity use with your lawnmower. Or perhaps you use a timer for your winter heating when leaving the heat on at a low level has been shown to reduce consumption. Cooking individual meals for families that could eat together is also an energy waste that can be recovered. Installing solar panels can produce energy for use in your home but the amount generated and the saving made depends on the position of your home and the time scale you need to recover the initial outlay. New smart meters claim to save you money by making you more aware of the energy you consume each day. However, these are not available everywhere in the country and there have been some issues with the technology.
After covering saving energy used for cooking and heating water in your home or office, we can make the transition to reducing the amount of electricity used for refrigeration, washing and lighting. Remember, up to 25% of total energy consumption in a home comes from these three areas. But don’t feel overwhelmed. Here are a few easy to implement strategies that can save on energy bills going forward.
Start With Heating.
The lowest cost method for reducing consumption is utilising programmable thermostats. Every degree that you adjust by equal a 4–5% reduction in energy usage for that system. Also, don’t forget to program thermostats to turn on and off at the proper times and you will begin to see a reduction in usage. Add strip curtains and automatic door closers to walks ins and Installing ECM’s on evaporator and condenser fans can reduce usage by approximately 2/3rds. On the lighting side, you have options as well. Start by adding occupancy sensors in select areas such as closets, storage rooms, staff bathrooms, etc. Also adding high-efficiency LED bulbs can reduce lighting consumption by up to 50%. Many utilities will cover a percentage (my local utility covers up to 70%) of the cost to purchase the bulbs, significantly improving ROI.
By implementing these simple strategies we have covered, you are well on your way to energy savings by reducing consumption which is a key element in any energy management plan.
(A little from each one of us means a lot for our planet).
Today there are various ways to help save our planet and generate our own electricity. Wind power, solar power and so on. The information is readily available all around the globe. Many countries have great incentives and power companies will buy the energy you produce but one thing is for sure: you have to make the initial investment yourself, whether it's through a loan or from your own savings. It is one of the best investments today and the payback period is relatively short.
But there are many ways that we can save on our energy costs within our own home without spending a dime:
Here are some great energy saving tips:
Replace Incandescent Bulbs - Old fashioned, incandescent bulbs are a huge money waster, both in energy and in the cost of the bulbs. Modern fluorescent bulbs can last up to 5 years and use a fraction of the energy. If you're aiming for even bigger savings, go with LED light bulbs, which can last twenty-five times longer than incandescent bulbs and use even less energy than fluorescents.
Unplug Your Devices - Most people figure that when they hit the power button, their appliance or electronic stops sucking juice from the wall. Unfortunately, it doesn't really work like that. Electricity may not be flowing and getting consumed, but it is very much being used. So, don't just turn your devices off, unplug them when not in use.
Turn Off Lights - This is a simple one that you've likely heard since you were ten years old. Turn the lights off when not in the room. I'll do it one further. Turn them off at all times unless you specifically need that light to do something.
Use Power Strips to Control Use - Use power strips on every outlet that you can. They not only reduce direct energy use, they allow you to turn off the power being used without having to unplug every appliance individually. It's also a good idea to have power strips to avoid surges that can harm your devices.
Don't Idle Your Car Unnecessarily - Idling a car wastes gasoline. Most cars can be warmed up by driving them. Instead of sitting in your car and idling without moving, drive it to warm it up while not on the highway. Additionally, avoid city streets whenever possible to improve gas mileage.
Tune Up Your Car Regularly - Regular tune ups and oil changes in your car will improve gas mileage and reduce the need for costly repairs. Even if you have a new car with no problems, make sure you stick to your regular maintenance schedule to reduce potentially massive bills.
Reduce Weight in the Car - Take out any unnecessary weight from your trunk or back seat. Extra weight reduces gas mileage and slows your car down, also putting a heavier burden on the engine which can cost you later.
Have Your Home Inspected - Have someone take a look at your home to find any leaks, insulation problems, old wiring, or other energy wasting issues. Many times, energy draining issues can be masked by walls, flooring, or a simple lack of knowledge. Look for an impartial third party that won't try to sell you on unnecessary repairs.
Saving More On Energy Costs For Residents of Brent
According to the UK Department of Energy, almost 50 percent of a typical home's utility bill is attributed to heating and air conditioning, 30 percent to appliances and lighting, and 20 percent to the water heater and refrigerator. This equates to almost £1,500 in energy bills for a typical household.
Following are ways to reduce your utility bills:
Tune it. A pre-season tune-up and filter is a good investment for removing dirty air that clogs your heating system, improving airflow and helping your system run efficiently. A tune-up also reduces the chances of a central heating breakdown in mid-winter and improves safety. Keeping your system running at peak efficiency equates to less energy use and lower utility bills.
Seal it. Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter will result in higher energy bills. Check for air leaks near windows, doors, outlets and switches by holding a lit incense stick next to them on a windy day. If the smoke stream moves horizontally, you have located an air leak. Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air. Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring penetrates through walls, floors or ceilings. Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
Take these steps to increase your comfort and reduce your utility bills.
If your local Utility company is one of the big six energy suppliers you probably aren’t getting the best deal possible. Most of the cheaper tariffs are offered by smaller, often unfamiliar companies. These are typically hidden or don’t feature prominently on the major energy comparison websites that compare the market.
There is a long way before EVs become mainstream but there is clear sign of growth and clear steps for us to take action to accelerate the market.
Electric vehicles are zero emissions during its use. They need to be recharged by connecting it to an electricity supply and so the CO2 impact depends on how green is the grid electricity. Electric vehicles will be better for local air quality as no emissions are produced by the car, except generation of electricity which will likely be from a power station.
This brilliant analysis by CarbonCounter by MIT helps us understand each car models against climate targets. Lifetime cost of each vehicle per mile driven is compared against greenhouse gas emission target of 2 degrees C global warming.
Lifetime costs of EV in yellow vs Internal Combustion Engine Cars in black (http://carboncounter.com/)Our results show that you don’t have to pay more for a low-carbon-emitting vehicle. Many electric vehicles are the same price, or cheaper, than similar gasoline cars. The average greenhouse gas emissions of all cars shown here are more than 50% higher than the 2030 climate target, with no internal combustion vehicles meeting the target. Most hybrid and electric vehicles, on the other hand, already meet the 2030 goal today, with today’s electricity mix.— CarbonCounter.com MIT Trancik Lab
With nearly 1 in 6 people in Europe considering buying an electric vehicle, there are more options available and a growing number of services becoming available. There are calculators to help compare electric vs petrol/diesel fuel cost and websites to guide you through comparisons of different electric vehicle such as Next Green Car.
EV Charge Points
We have seen the growth of apps for EV charge point maps such as Zap-Map, PlugShare, and Open Charge Map. Plug share is mainly based in the US and Canada. Zap-Map has the most comprehensive map of the UK. Open Charge Map is a global non-commercial, open source project.
They each have communities of EV drivers using the apps. Data source varies but they mainly crowdsource charging point information from their community of EV drivers onto their map or partner directly with networks of charge point providers or installers to list the charge points.
Zap-map provides a comprehensive comparison of charging networks and their cost structure. For instance, Ecotricity provides green electricity on their network of Electric Highway. Tesla provides Tesla Model S and Model X owners free access to their network. Most network would require a RFID card for payment and access to the charge points. The networks too have their own apps.
These aggregated charge point apps generally allow you to selects or register your electric vehicle and helps you find the charging points that are compatible to your vehicle. They will also display live data on the of availability or status of the charge points and can allows reporting to the owners if faulty. Charge points vary by type charging speed (slow, fast, AC, DC) and connectors. Users can even add photos of the charge point to the app and rate and review the charge points.
For people who are not EV car owners but may want to enjoy a zero emissions journey, there is the option of EV car clubs.
E-Car is UK’s first entirely electric pay-per-use EV car club in the UK, now part of Europcar. They offer last minute self-service booking via their app and you can access the car by holding the membership card on the windscreen and the door unlocks. They operate a mixed-use model and partner with business parks, local authorities and universities. They are also the world’s first equity crowdfunding exit when acquired by Europcar in 2015, proving a great success for the cleantech crowdfunding market.
Other alternatives include Co-wheels Car Club which is a social enterprise with a bigger fleet of low-emissions electric cars, hybrids and vans for rental.
The benefit of allowing people to try out a range of electric cars is that this will encourage people to buy electric cars which will help accelerate the move towards EV.
For those who are not into the driving, there are services out there to access EV. Gliide is a London-based taxi service apps that work with a fleet of Teslas. Thrive another taxi service app operates with a fully electric vehicle fleet composed of Chinese manufactured EV’s BYD. Bookings and payments are done via the app. Newcomers Hoopoe-Electric also operate a small fleet of Teslas.
EV Secondary Market
We can also expect the rise of the secondary market for EV-related items. Online marketplaces such as Eco-Car.net where people buy and sell EVs and related accessories such as EV cables will continue to grow, not to mention the emergence of the second hand EV battery market when this battery capacity becomes not road worthy but good enough to be repurposed for home energy storage e.g. Project Aceleron.
So let us know what you think of the EV market. Are there any new EV related services that you have seen?
If you have missed it, head back to read here:
Day 1 of XMas — Food Waste Apps
Day 2 of XMas — Air Quality Apps
Day 3 of XMas — Transport Services
For more about IYWTo head over to here or get in touch with Woon at [email protected]
This series is written in collaboration with the 6heads community. 6heads is dedicated to shared learning at the join of sustainability and innovation.
When the electronics are all unplugged and you're left considering whether you can unplug the refrigerator without your spouse noticing, it may be time to investigate another way to lower your electric bill. There's more you can do!
Besides potentially wreaking havoc on your family's refrigerated foods and feeling your wife's swift slap on the back of the head-- there are plenty of ways to obtain energy savings in London. Let's start with the home energy audit. When an energy expert conducts a home energy audit they're actually performing tests to identify those areas in your home that are costing you the most money. Many times, this energy expert will recommend different light bulbs or light fixtures.
According to ENERGY STAR you can lower your annual energy bill by £70 if you replace the five most frequently used light fixtures in your home and use ENERGY STAR qualified products.
Energy Saving Qualified Fixtures
Have you ever gotten frustrated by the insufficient performance of the supposed "energy efficient" product compared to the regular version? Unfortunately, that does happen, but it doesn't have to happen when you purchase LED lighting. Keep these traits in mind when you're buying your next LED light.
- Brightness: Equal or better!
- Light Output: Consistent color and brightness, no fading over time.
- Efficiency: No fluttering; turns on instantly, no energy wasted when turned off.
What the U.S. Dept. of Energy Says About LED
One way the U.K. can save gobs of money and electricity over the next 20 years is by utilising LED lights instead of other lighting options. The UK Office of Energy claims a savings of £265 billion over the next 20 years and a reduction in lighting electricity by 33 percent by 2027. Also, the production of about 40 new power plants will be prevented!