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Quick tips to save energy

Follow our tips and advice for straightforward ways to save energy, lower your bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

Whether you’re a homeowner, private or social renter, student, or you live at home with your parents, there are many things you can do to reduce how much energy you use and how much is spent.

We’re all responsible for the energy we use in our homes. Take a look at our quick tips and see if you’re saving as much energy as you could be.


Understand your energy bill

The information on a typical energy bill can be confusing, but understanding it can go a long way to helping you get to grips with your energy usage at home.

This video from Home Energy Scotland provides a helpful guide.


Switch off standby

You can save around £40 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.

Almost all electrical and electronic appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. You may want to think about getting a standby saver which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.

Check the instructions for any appliances you aren’t sure about. Some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record.

Find out which appliances use most energy in your home.


Careful in your kitchen

You can save around £28 a year from your energy bill just by using your kitchen appliances more carefully:

  • Cut back your dishwasher use by just one cycle per week and save £10 a year on energy.
  • Cut back your washing machine use by just one cycle per week and save £10 a year on energy.
  • Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need and save around £8 a year.

Get a head

If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower), fit a water efficient shower head. This will reduce your hot water usage while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower.

A water efficient shower head could save a four person household (eg a family of four or even a shared student flat) as much as £35 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £45 a year on water bills if they have a water meter.

Calculation is based on the assumption that a family of four takes 20 showers a week and replaces a 10 litre/minute power-shower head with a 7.7 litre/min water efficient shower head, and the family are charged £2.68 per cubic meter of water used (includes sewage charge).


Spend less time in the shower

Spending one minute less in the shower each day will save up to £5 a year off your energy bills, per person. With a water meter this could save a further £7 off annual water and sewerage bills.

If everyone in a four-person household did this it would lead to a total saving of £50 a year.

Find out more about why we should all be saving water .



Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney.

Professional draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can cost around £200, but can save around £30 a year on energy bills. DIY draught proofing can be much cheaper.

Installing a chimney draught excluder could save around £20 a year as well.

Find out more about reducing home heat loss.


Take control of your heating

More than half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water.

Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves and using these controls efficiently could save you around £85 a year and cut your carbon emissions by 305kg.

If you already have a full set of controls, turning down your room thermostat by just one degree can save around £65 a year and reduce your carbon footprint by 300kg.

Whatever the age of your boiler the right controls will allow you to:

  • Set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need them.
  • Heat only the areas of your home that need heating.
  • Set the temperature for each area of your home.

Read more about thermostats and heating controls.


Get savvy with smart controls

Smart heating controls are the latest innovation to help you control your heating and understand your energy use.

They allow you to control your heating remotely via a mobile app, meaning that you can manage the temperature of your home from wherever you are, at whatever time of day.

smart meter with in-home display or energy monitor can help householders save energy by increasing awareness of energy use, helping to cut waste. Government estimates that a display or monitor could typically help reduce a household’s electricity use by 3% and gas use by 2%.

Find out more about smart meters.


Switch to LEDs

You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs). They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings.

If the average household replaced all of their bulbs with LEDs, it would cost about £145 and save about £35 a year on bills.

Save more on your lighting.


Turn off lights

Turn your lights off when you’re not using them. If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, regardless of the type of light.

This will save you around £14 a year on your annual energy bills.


Last updated: 26 November 2021