This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Who isn’t concerned about the cost of living at the moment? Food, petrol and council tax are all set to be more expensive and, of course, our utilities are about to go sky high thanks to gas prices and Putin. I’m sure many A&G readers will know at least a few of the following energy saving tips, but there has to be comfort in knowing we are doing all we can to increase energy efficiency, reduce our overheads and maintain our standard of living. So here’s hoping a couple of these will be useful for you to know…
Marvellous-Mother-In-Law lives in a lovely house on the edge of a Sussex village but it’s prone to power cuts, thank you Storm Eunice and the like. Anyhow over a recent lockdown lunch (yes, we’re still doing them) she told me about her Power Box . Apparently it contains an analogue phone, a few (non-fragranced) candles, matches, a powerful torch and an Anker Power Bank. She uses the power bank to charge up her phone and iPad as it’s comforting to continue to be in touch with the outside world.
Two power sources If like me you only have an electric oven and hob, then a power outage means no hot food or drink… unless you have one of these camping gas stoves stashed in the cupboard for such emergencies. Not a bad investment at £22.90 including four gas bottles.
Check your heating is on only when you really need it When I looked at my programmer, I discovered I could easily have less hours and not really notice it. I also went around the house changing the radiator controls – down for the bedrooms on the top floor (on the premise that heat rises and we’ll be tucked up under a warm duvet at night), on lowest setting for rooms I don’t use very often (ie the spare bathroom). Plus I now close the door of the sitting room so it’s snug when I sit down to watch the latest Netflix blockbusters or am having supper with friends. Thanks to my kind neighbour Janet who reset the programmer for me (am hopeless at that kind of thing!)
You might like to think about using one of these spritz sprays which will mean less washing / saving energy. The No 12 Clothing Spritz is specially designed to target impurities and remove odours from your garments (it works particularly well on synthetic fabrics). It contains the uplifting fragrance of white tea combined with the exhilarating scent of mint – ingredients which are known for their refreshing and deodorising properties as well as anti-bacterial benefits.
Cleansing agents in the spray mean you don’t have to wash your garments as often, which is fantastic for the longevity of your favourite pieces. Use A&G15 to obtain 15% discount (one use per reader, expires end June 2022) at the Clothes Doctor
It’s World Water Day on 22 March so an appropriate time to think about how you can save water . If you wait for the water to get warm before hopping in the shower, collect it and use it to water your plants. For those of us who have a driveway or a garage, use a broom rather than a hose or jet washer to clean it. When cleaning cars, best to use buckets of water rather than the hosepipe or jet washer. Try to avoid half loads of dishes or laundry – many dishwashers and washing machines use the same amount of water regardless of the amount of dirty stuff inside them.
Save money when cooking – some of these energy saving tips might sound obvious but it’s worth reminding ourselves of them.
Always put a lid on a pan when boiling water on the hob. Better still, boil the water in an electric kettle and then pour into the pan – this is more energy efficient than using your stove to heat it up. And if you have any hot water left over, you can store it in a thermos for later. Using the right size pan on the correct size ring also helps too. These last few tips can save up to 30% of the energy you’d usually use. Other cooking tips including steaming fresh veg above, for example, a pan of boiling pasta.
Always fill your oven – or use a smaller second oven if you have one – perhaps by planning some batch cooking. If you cook two meals at once, you can heat the second one up the next day. Or knock up a pudding to eat later in the week. Turn your oven off 5 – 10 mins before you would normally and use the residual heat to finish cooking the dish. Then leave the oven door open to help heat the kitchen. I also often put food in the oven as I switch it on – prevents me having the oven on full blast for some time before I remember to pop the food in!
Last but not least, how about a Wonderbag for your next casserole or slow cooked dish? It is a simple but revolutionary non-electric slow cooker . After bringing a pot of food to the boil and placing it in a Wonderbag, the food will continue cooking for up to 8 hours without an additional energy source, using only 10% of the energy that an oven would do.
Apparently we could all save at least £20 a month if we implement the above tricks. Worth considering…
More water saving tips can be found here