For many Londoners, the cost of living is already very high. Monthly energy bills for their gas and electricity are unavoidable but switching regularly can reduce those outgoings significantly. Comparing your last year’s bill every twelve months might seem like a chore but it could pay for your holiday each year if you play your cards right and do the leg work. It really doesn’t take that long, especially if once you’ve done it a few times. Find your favourite comparison site covering the Ealing area and set a yearly reminder on your phone. Then act on it each year to make the most saving possible.
To find the lowest tariff you might need to look at your gas bill and your electricity bill separately. This is easier than you might think at first. Ove you’ve selected the best tariff for both services your gas and electric bills will be lower and you can start to plan that summer holiday.
More Energy Saving Tips
As we all know running the home central heating during the winter months can be expensive, but did you know there are some simple things you can do that can help bring down those costs. Your central heating boiler is an essential part of your home, it supplies you with unlimited hot water when you need it, and it keeps you warm in the colder months.
First, make sure that you have your boiler serviced each year, preferably before the winter kicks in. Your central heating boiler is just like a car engine, if left unserviced, over time things will start to go wrong, the same goes for the central heating boiler.
If your central heating boiler is not serviced and something is starting to go wrong your energy bills will start to rise, your boiler may need to work harder to reach that desired temperature thus higher bills, if the boiler is maintained and checked over, anything that needs adjusting or replacing can be carried out.
Another simple way to save money is to make sure the radiator itself has nothing around it, keep it clear so the heat can penetrate the room, don’t put clothes that you want to dry on the radiator put them on a clothes horse close by they will still dry. When you put clothes on the radiator all the heat is lost into the clothes and the room takes longer to heat up. Pipe insulation is another way of cutting down those energy bills. Any pipework that you can visibly see should be insulated. By fitting insulation to the pipes you are reducing the heat loss from that pipe, you can buy pipe insulation from the local DIY store.
These are just a few of the ways you can save on those central heating bills, and remember when you have the central heating boiler serviced, only use a registered gas safe company or engineer.
Now that you’ve saved money on your gas and electricity bill why not look at the other monthly costs that eat into your usable reserves and save even more money each month.
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.
How Does the Wholesale Price of Gas Affect Household Energy Bills? Q and A
As global demand for electricity grows, are there alternatives to building more power stations which make smarter use of existing infrastructure? And in an industry renowned for high levels of consumer mistrust, could an Airbnb of energy finally deliver a consumer-centric energy market?
Technology is shaping our lives like never before, making our world smarter, more efficient and more connected. In the last decade, it has fuelled an explosion of sharing economy business models — adopted by the likes of Uber, Airbnb and Zipcar — who in just a few short years have revolutionised established industries. But can a sharing economy approach help to tackle one of man-kind’s greatest challenges and deliver clean, affordable and secure energy to all?
Sharing economies are a consumer-led phenomenon which work by exploiting excess capacity or inefficiencies in existing systems for mutual benefit. Take Airbnb for example. The wasted asset is your property and the excess capacity is the space you are not using. By creating a user-friendly platform and giving homeowners the security they need Airbnb have built the biggest hotel chain in the world, surpassing the Intercontinental Group in less than four years. They have achieved this because they haven’t needed to construct a single thing.
So how could this apply to the energy industry? As global demand for electricity grows, are there alternatives to building more power stations which make smarter use of existing infrastructure? And in an industry renowned for high levels of consumer mistrust, could an Airbnb of energy finally deliver a consumer-centric energy market?
Since the world’s first power station was built in 1882 the global energy system has worked on the basis that supply must follow demand. Consumers — businesses and households — have been passive users of power, paying to use what they want when they want, whilst electricity supply has adapted to ensure the lights stay on. This has created inefficient systems built for periods of peak demand — in the UK this is typically between 4–7pm on a cold winter evening — which most of the time are massively underused.
But this is no longer the case. Today, our ability to connect and control anything from anywhere means we can manage our demand for electricity in previously unimaginable ways, and consumers are emerging as a driving force for change.
By connecting everyday equipment to a smart platform (just as you might upload your property to Airbnb), it’s now possible for consumers to take advantage of small amounts of “flexible demand” in their existing assets and processes — be it a fridge, a water pump, or an office air con unit — and sell it to organisations tasked with keeping the lights on — like National Grid.
Applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to govern when and for how long assets may respond gives consumers confidence their equipment’s performance will not be affected, and in return for sharing their “flexible demand”, they benefit from cost savings or direct payments.
This sharing economy approach relies on the power of tech and our ability to orchestrate many thousands of consumer devices at scale. Any one piece of equipment can only make small changes to the timing of its electricity consumption — e.g. delaying when a fridge motor comes on for a few minutes during a spike in electricity demand at the end of a football match — but collectively, the impact is transformational.
It means that when electricity demand is greater than supply, we don’t need to fire up fossil-fuelled power stations. Instead, we can reduce demand by asking non-time critical assets to power down for a short while.
If the wind is blowing and too much electricity is being supplied, we don’t need to let this clean, abundant power go to waste, but can ask equipment to shift its demand and make use of this power as it is available.
And we don’t need to keep building more power stations to meet occasional peaks in demand. Instead, we can distribute demand more intelligently throughout the day, reducing the size of these peaks and making better use of existing capacity.
In the UK, Open Energi’s analysis suggests there is 6 gigawatts of peak demand which can be shifted for up to an hour without impacting end users. Put into context, this is equivalent to roughly 10% of peak winter demand and larger than the expected output of the planned Hinkley Point C — the UK’s first new nuclear power station in generations.
This doesn’t make it easy. Unlike other sharing economy success stories, energy is a public good. The need for incredibly robust solutions means the barriers to entry are high. But, if we can get it right, the prize is enormous; a cleaner, cheaper, more secure energy system which gives consumers control of how, when, and from where they consume their energy.
Businesses have already recognised the power they hold and the benefits it can bring, with the likes of Sainsbury’s, Tarmac, United Utilities and Aggregate Industries adopting the tech and demonstrating what’s possible. Households look set to follow, but wherever the flexibility comes from, it’s clear that consumers and the environment will benefit from a sharing economy approach to energy.
David Hill is strategy director of Open Energi. He is an expert on electricity markets and demand-side flexibility, including demand-side response and energy storage. He joined Open Energi in 2010 after completing an MSc Energy, Trade & Finance at Cass Business School.