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 Pitshanger 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.
Energy Saving Tips in The HomeLucy Symons, Director of Public Policy at Open Energi calls on policy makers to make regulation fit for purpose
This winter, the UK is expecting high demand for electricity supply and an increase in costs. Renewable power sources are starting to fill the gap left behind by closing coal power stations, but they generate more when the sun shines or the wind blows and are not necessarily available when people turn on their televisions in the evenings.
National Grid pays gas and coal plants and diesel farms to turn up or down their supply whenever there’s an increase or decrease in demand for electricity. This winter alone, keeping power plants going for peak demand is forecast to cost consumers £122 million, while an estimated £800 million in subsidies may be awarded to diesel projects under the Government’s Capacity Market. This is expensive, slow and not very green. Energy prices and security of supply are top political priorities, but when it takes four years and a lot of money to build a power station, there needs to be a more efficient solution.
The good news is that Great Britain has a thriving energy technology sector with a vast portfolio of innovations that can step up to this immediate challenge. Open Energi, a dynamic UK tech firm, uses technology to link together more than 3,000 machines — like air conditioners in your local supermarket or the pumps moving our water — and switches these machines on or off during the day to make power available when it’s needed by consumers, or to store electricity after a big gust of wind. This technology is already installed at over 350 industrial and commercial sites across the UK including Sainsbury’s, Tarmac, Aggregate Industries, United Utilities and University of East Anglia. Developed right here in Britain, this is powerful technology. On cold winter evenings, it can function just like an entire nuclear plant. Demand flexibility is the first line of defence in an energy security crisis, which is characterised by successive power plant failures rather than a lack of supply.
But this ‘demand-side’ energy tech faces major barriers in UK energy markets. Companies like Open Energi cannot prequalify for the government Capacity Market and cannot compete directly against gas plants in the balancing mechanism. The fast, flexible power they provide is instead only accessible via monthly tenders and procurements. Faced with a national energy security crunch on one hand and with the tech needed to solve it bound only by markets that aren’t fit for purpose, there is an immediate opportunity to unleash competition. Unlike other energy projects, demand flexibility requires no state subsidy at all. All that we ask at Open Energi is that the regulations are updated to ensure ‘demand side’ (when we turn demand up and down) is given the same treatment as ‘supply side’ (when new power is generated) in the existing energy markets.
Deploying demand flexibility and storage at speed to solve an energy crunch at scale is a proven path. In 2015, Californian policymakers were faced with a shutdown at the state’s biggest gas storage facility, threatening peak shortages and blackouts. To solve this immediate challenge with an immediately available solution, policy-makers fast-tracked 64.5MW of electricity storage and approved $11.5 million for demand response and dynamic pricing. Energy storage projects were constructed in less than four months, compared to a previous average of three and a half years.
Applying the same market mechanisms in the UK could dramatically change the game for energy security on the GB grid as early as next winter. With over 1GW of energy storage prequalified for National Grid’s recent Enhanced Frequency Response tender, of which only 200MW was purchased, it’s clear we have the appetite from investors to bring innovation to market. The challenge now rests with policy makers to make regulation fit for purpose in a modern age of energy technology innovation.
Lucy Symons is the Director of Public Policy for @openenergi and recently travelled to California as part of a delegation of female founders leading some of the UK’s fastest growing tech firms.