Energy efficiency for Island homes
With energy bills having risen by a further 54% in April 2022, making small changes to your home or to how you use energy can help you to save money on your bills. Most of the actions below will also help you to reduce your carbon footprint, as they will decrease the amount of energy you use.
Insulate your home
Free home insulation is available at no cost to households who meet certain eligibility criteria via the Warm Up Wight scheme. Estimated savings by type of insulation can be seen below. (Source: Energy Saving Trust, 2021)
||Annual cost saving
| Cavity wall
|| Up to £210
| Solid wall
|| Up to £255
|| Up to £50
| Hot water tank jacket
|| Up to £90
|| Up to £165
Get in touch with The Footprint Trust or Citizens Advice
The Footprint Trust works with the Isle of Wight's community to promote the benefits of sustainable living. They offer impartial advice on saving both energy and water at home, and on average can help households to reduce energy bills by £200 to £300 per year. You can get in touch by calling them on 01983 822282 or emailing email@example.com
Citizens Advice are a UK-wide service providing advice about consumer rights. They have a number of pages dedicated to energy, including advice around grants and benefits, ensuring your home is energy efficient, and a number of other topics, including some advice for small businesses.
Consider solar energy
While installing solar PV on your home is an expensive measure, with energy prices increasing it could have a drastic impact on your energy bills.
You can check whether your home's rooftop is suitable for solar PV using the SolarSim tool.
There are currently no government grants available for installing solar PV at home, but no VAT is being charged on solar panels as of May 2022.
If you install solar panels at home and do not use all of the energy they generate, you can sell this back to the UK grid under a scheme called the Smart Export Guarantee. This has replaced the Feed-In Tariff, although those who installed solar panels previously may still receive payments under the Feed-In Tariff.
As solar PV only generates electricity during daylight hours, if you install solar panels you may also wish to investigate battery storage to help with electricity use during the evenings and overnight. Solar panels will charge your battery during the day, allowing you to make the most of solar energy around the clock.
Switching energy suppliers
Although previous advice has stated shopping around to find the best energy deals, Ofgem, Money Saving Expert, and USwitch are currently advising that customers should stick with their current suppliers. This advice will be reviewed and updated in line with any new guidance later in 2022.
Check your energy payments and metering
If your home uses a pre-paid energy meter, contact your energy company to see if you can change to a standard meter. Pre-paid meters are often on expensive tariffs. If you pay bills by cash, bank transfer, or cheque you may wish to switch to direct debit for the cheapest payment option.
If your home uses both electricity and gas, ensure you purchase both from the same provider as you will usually receive a discount on dual fuel from one energy company.
A smart meter may help you to understand your energy use. These will show accurate, to the minute energy use data, which can tell you the times of day or appliances in your home that use the most energy. You can contact your energy provider to request a smart meter.
Review your energy bill payments
The UK's energy regulator, Ofgem, has various rules around energy bills and affordability (Ofgem, 2022).
Suppliers must offer payment plans that their customers can afford. For those on pre-payment meters, emergency credit can be requested if you are unable to top up. You can contact your energy supplier to discuss payment plans if you are concerned about meeting your current payments, or to request emergency pre-payment credit.
If you cannot agree a way to pay with your energy supplier, Ofgem recommends contacting Citizens Advice.
Ofgem also suggest checking available grants and loans to help with paying energy bills. You can see a list of available grants and loans on the Ofgem website, and you can check your eligibility for these using the Charis grants and benefits eligibility checker.
Draught-proof windows, doors, and floorboards
Check for cracks or gaps around the edges of your doors and windows and between floorboards. Draught-proofing can prevent heat escaping a room as well as stopping cold draughts.
You may be able to caulk windows, use foam tape, or use a draught excluder by doors for a fairly easy fix.
Draught-proofing could save up to £45 a year on bills (Energy Saving Trust, 2022)
Think about how you use your radiators
Turn your heating down by 1°c. This could save up to £105 a year (Energy Saving Trust, 2021)
Keep doors and windows closed when your heating is on. This will ensure that heat stays in the room, so you will need to use less energy to keep the space warm.
Switch radiators off when you are not in the room.
Place radiator foil (or standard tin foil) behind your radiators to ensure that heat is reflected into the room. This may be particularly effective if your radiator is attached to an external wall.
Avoid hanging clothes on radiators to dry or warm up as this prevents heat from circulating around the room.
Where possible, do not place furniture directly in front of radiators as this will prevent heat from circulating around the room. If this is unavoidable, pulling furniture forwards by a few inches while radiators are switched on will allow the heat to circulate more freely.
Install double-glazing or seek a lower-cost alternative
Double- or triple-glazing is a very expensive option but will save the most energy.
Secondary glazing may be a more affordable alternative to double-glazing.
Alternatively, you could look into thermal curtains or blinds, or shutters, all of which will help trap heat in a room.
You could also try double glazing insulation film, which you apply directly to your windows (N.B. this comes under several similar names. If unsure what to look for, check with your local DIY store).
Double-glazing could save up to £175 a year, depending on its type (Energy Saving Trust, 2021)
Aim to use less energy in general to reduce your bills
- Only boil the water you need to reduce the amount of time the kettle takes to boil. When making hot drinks, use your mug to measure out the correct amount of cold water
- Take shorter showers wherever possible
- Turn off appliances instead of leaving them on standby. Unplug chargers when not in use.
- Switch lights off when not using them, and switch lightbulbs to LEDs
- Wash clothing at a lower temperature and on a shorter cycle when possible.
- Aim to use your tumble dryer less frequently and make sure you clean the lint filter regularly to speed up drying. Hang clothes outside to dry or use a clothes horse indoors.
- Ensure washing machines and dishwashers are full before switching them on – this will lead to you needing fewer washes and therefore using less energy
- Don’t leave fridge or freezer doors open while cooking. This will allow cold air to escape, and the appliance will use more energy to cool down again when the doors are closed.
- Ensure the condenser coils at the back of your fridge/freezer are clean (use a vacuum cleaner, not water, to clean them) as dirt and dust can reduce their efficiency by a quarter.
Some estimated annual cost savings for the above actions can be seen in the following table. Source: Energy Saving Trust, 2022
||Annual cost saving
| Less water in kettle
|| Up to £36
| Turn off/unplug appliances
|| Up to £55
| Switch lights off
|| Up to £20
| Switch to LED lightbulbs
|| Up to £60
| Wash clothing at 30°c
|| Up to £28
| Don’t tumble dry
|| Up to £60
| Reduce dishwasher use
|| Up to £14
| Take a 4-minute shower
|| Up to £70
Please note: All savings stated are best-case estimates for an average-sized semi-detached house. Figures will vary in real life according to the type and size of your home, and the energy tariff you are on. Variables such as current insulation, existing energy efficiency measures, the energy efficiency of your appliances, and how much you use appliances will also affect real-world savings.
The cost savings estimates have been updated in May 2022 to reflect increasing energy prices. These will be reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis.