Today we catch up with Mrs Energy Saving, who won an energy saving monitor in our Energy Saving Week competition last year. She kindly wrote us a blog back in December sharing her findings from the energy monitor. She has generously written us another blog about her energy savings during the big freeze we’ve had. How did Mrs Energy Saving handle the snow and sub-zero temperatures? Keep on reading to find out.
Back in December, I was fortunate enough to win an energy saving pack from Anglian Home Improvements. In just a week of actively making my way through the pack, I was made aware of ways in which to save energy (and reduce my carbon footprint – we can’t forget about that!) simply around my own home. Two months later, I’m still using the energy saving light bulbs, and putting good use to the smart monitor, but we’ve had a bizarre month of weather here in the UK and I wanted to share with you my latest discoveries.
Firstly, the smart monitor is wonderful. As I mentioned in my last post, it really is a great way of seeing for yourself just how much energy you are using – and wasting! It’s easy to not know your exact usage, particularly if you’ve already made the effort to go paperless for your bills! From December, I’ve been making a conscious effort to unplug appliances, and trying to encourage my kids to do the same. I’m hoping that these habits will stay with them, particularly for when they get their own homes in many years to come.
Here in the UK, we’ve had a reasonable amount of snow, and I do love the way it makes my garden look. It means my kids can play outdoors (and not in front of the TV – an automatic energy saving right there you might say!) trying to build a snowman, but it also brings with it a cold chill throughout the house. I actually consider myself to be quite savvy when it comes to the environment – my work depends on it after all but in addition, I’m a true believer in renewable energy, recycling, and re-using. Saying that however, as a mum, I’m guilty of a few things such as: Leaving the central heating on for longer than necessary and overusing the washing machine and tumble dryer.
When the kids come in on a rainy day or rush in with their soggy wellies and coats from making snow angels, it’s easier to throw their cold damp clothes straight into the wash and get them dried quickly ready for the next school day. Well, I’m making a conscious effort to no longer do this. It’s wasteful to fill these machines only half way, and they do have a spare school uniform and coat after all! I’ve also changed the timings on our central heating so it is only in use when we are in the house, and not all day long. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t realise it was on so often – a stark reminder to regularly check your settings! Whilst reflecting on my energy usage, I thought more about the snow and what is has really taught me. I came up with 2 main answers:
1. We need to walk more. Cars are wasteful and expensive. If the snowy roads have caused you to leave your car at home, why not do the same when it’s sunny out too? If you haven’t got far to go, walk or use public transport to reduce your carbon footprint.
2. Insulation is absolutely vital to a warm home.
Here’s a tip. If you see a house and the snow is melting particularly fast on its roof, it’s because the heat is escaping and melting that snow. With the central heating usage now reduced in our home, we could feel where the drafts in our house were. We started closing the doors more often to only heat the rooms in which were being used, and we have re-caulked one of our windows which was letting in a frightening breeze in the lounge. Furthermore, upon visiting a friend who has recently moved into a home she plans to renovate, I can’t stress how much of a difference double glazed windows make. Our house has double glazing but hers doesn’t as of yet. The difference was crystal clear and I thanked my lucky stars I had worn my woolly jumper upon my visit!
Thankfully, I have some wonderful loft insulation already and so this is helping our central heating warmth stay in the home for longer. But for those that don’t, it doesn’t take a lot of money to implement and many may be eligible for a grant.
I hope this gives you all some tips and ideas of how to stay warm on the last leg of this UK winter. It’s always a good idea to sit back and re-evaluate you energy usage in your own home. Even someone like me who considers herself to be eco-savvy still has plenty to learn. For more energy savings advice click here.