We are a family of three in a two bedroom first floor flat. We have an electric only home with night storage heaters which I am yet to turn on and hopefully won’t be for quite some time yet. We have a pre-payment electricity metre which costs us between £12-£15 per week. These are are tips and tricks for conserving as much energy as possible. My flat is fully insulated with double glazing and the like and the benefit of being in a flat is that you can steal the warmth from the buildings around you. I’m lucky that they’re very cosy in the colder months.
- Keep Your Furnishings Warm
I love my blankets. I love cosying on up in them in the evening with a good book and a hot drink. My daughter has a few lovely warm fleecy blankets that she can transport around our flat and that line her bed in the nights. I also have two lovely thick warm dressing gowns, as does my daughter and comfy cotton PJ’s not to mention lovely warm slipper boots. These are all great for keeping us warm although we’ve only recently had to get them all out. I have just moved all my jumpers and cardigans to the front of my wardrobe for the autumn season. We also have a medium tog duvet on our kingsize bed which works well in the summer and winter months, although I change the type of sheets depending on the season. Autumn and Winter means thicker, cotton sheets keeping me lovely and toasty at night. The use of thick curtains also provides much use by keeping the room warm, the cold out although it does make it a little dark. Hopefully this will mean I get to keep those heaters off for quite a while yet. I have also prepared our warm winter hats, scarves and gloves in case I am feeling far too tight!
- Warming Food and Drinks
To save a little energy when it comes to cooking and warm drinks I’ve invested in a slow cooker, which takes up about as much energy as a light bulb, and creates delicious home cooked hearty soups, stews, casseroles, chilli and the like (well, I create, but you know what I mean) and a thermo-flask thing. I like my tea and coffee throughout the day so to save on water and to save constantly boiling the kettle I either make a huge pot of tea in the morning, fully thought out with tea cosy to keep it lasting, or use a flask to keep the coffee hot so I can enjoy it for that little bit longer. It obviously gradually gets cooler but it does keep for a fair amount of time, at least long enough for me to get through most of the morning therefore saving energy and a little water too.
- Keep One Room Warm
When it does come to turning on the heating I recommend just trying to keep the room you use the most warm. Kitchens and Bathrooms will heat up nicely when cooking or running hot water so no need to worry about that. I also like a cool bedroom so that I can properly snuggle up into my quilt at night, otherwise I find myself getting too hot in the middle of the night. My daughter has a great selection of onesies and fleece pyjamas which keep her cosy but if it’s particularly cold I put her heating on for around thirty minutes before she’s due to go to bed. We mostly use our living room so when it comes to keeping somewhere warm that will be my room of choice. However before it comes to that I have invested in more fluffy throws for my sofa for the family to use at their leisure. I also think keeping doors closed makes a big difference. We’re lucky in that we have an entrance hall and a doorway that leads into the rest of our flat which helps keep the warmth in.
- Turn it all off when it’s not in use
We don’t keep things on standby and the only things that are left on at the switch are the fridge, the broadband, a phone charger if needed and a fan again, if needed. We have energy saving light bulbs and I try not to turn on any lights until I absolutely have to. I also tend to charge things like my Kindle and iPhone through my laptop rather than wasting plug point energy. I’m not sure if this actually makes a difference but I like to think it does. My daughter has a lovely comfort light which is battery operated and we use rechargeable batteries when we can which I think makes a bit of difference.
My last tip to help save a little energy is that sharing is caring. We will share baths when we can to save a little hot water which is powered by our boiler and therefore on a metre which can become quite costly. We are thinking of getting a shower installed as I believe that’s cheaper to run and again I have no doubt we will be shower sharing too! There’s also nothing like cuddling up together under all those fluffy blankets to keep warm with a good film. I’ll try and get us to do activities all together in one room so that we can keep it warm as well as limiting all the electrical activity to one room – again, something I’m not sure if it helps but I like to think it is.
If I could to save more energy and money I would love to have more eco-friendly ways of heating our home. I think it is something I will consider more when I have my own home rather than a council flat!