Energy Saving Tips

How to be energy efficient in your home


Energy Efficient House

Be smart about saving energy, but don’t turn your house upside down.

Making your home energy efficient is a great way to bring down the cost of your energy bills. These are the simplest and most effective energy saving tips you can use to reduce your consumption.

Start with your household appliances


It costs roughly 3.5p to boil a full kettle depending on what kind you use, this might not seem like a lot but the smallest of things add up. Assuming you do this 2 times per day it will cost around £25 for a full year. Simply making sure you only fill the kettle with as much water as you need will save energy as the less water in the kettle the faster it will boil.

This tip goes for using the stove while cooking as well; make sure you put just enough water to cover your chicken, eggs or whatever it is you are boiling instead of filling the pot unnecessarily, the more water you use the longer it takes to boil and the more energy you use.

Washing Machine and Dishwasher

Take what was just said about the kettle and do the exact opposite with these kitchen appliances. Unlike the kettle which will automatically turn off once the water boils, washing machines and dishwashers typically have a preset run time regardless of how full they are, so make sure to put a full load on if possible. Doing one full load of dishes instead of two half loads per day will reduce your dishwasher’s energy usage by half.

Also consider washing your clothes at lower temperatures, unless they are really dirty, washing at 30 degrees instead of hotter temperatures will reduce a washing machines energy usage by about 40%. This is because most of the energy used by a washing machine is on heating the water.

Tumble Dryer

  • Before putting a wash in the tumble dryer, use a high spin cycle in your washing machine. This will reduce the amount of time they need to be in the dryer.
  • Also, don’t overload your tumble dryer! As a general rule, the max load should fill roughly half of the drum. The reason is that air needs to be able to flow around your laundry for the machine to work efficiently. Items of clothing have to be able to move around inside the dryer or it will take longer to dry them and more energy will be used.
  • Finally make sure you clear the air filter on your tumble dryer after each use, again this will disturb the airflow if left unchecked. There are also plenty of ways overloading will damage your tumble dryer.

If possible switch off your appliances at the socket when not in use, they still use energy while on standby.

Energy Advice Cartoon

A lot of the other energy saving tips online recommend hanging your washing outside, whilst this will save energy and your clothes will smell nicer it’s not really a very thought provoking/useful piece of advice for someone that owns and uses a tumble dryer regularly. It basically equates to being told (*at the end of a very pointy finger) to “stop using your tumble dryer”. They may as well tell you to disconnect all your electrical cables and go ‘off grid’ while you’re at it; like that guy in Mexico who built his own Island out of plastic bottles. Okay, that might be a bit extreme, but the point is made, moving on…

Next, take a look at your lighting

Probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about energy being wasted; a room brightly lit with no one in it. It goes without saying to always turn off the lights when you leave a room, most people get a stern reminder to do so at some point while growing up, but let’s look at why.

Energy Saving Tips

According to the energy saving trust, lighting accounts for about 15% of UK household electricity bills. Assuming you haven’t already, switching to energy efficient light bulbs (LEDs) could save around about £35 per year on your electricity bills. Check out the article if you’re interested (they even did a review of old and new lighting technologies).

The River Clyde at night, Glasgow.

The River Clyde at night, Glasgow.

This tip only applies when you leave a room, please don’t insist on sitting in darkness to save energy. If you are using an LED to light a room the saving from turning it off will be less than 1p per hour.

When buying light bulbs make sure you get the latest generation LED 4-watt bulbs. They will produce as much light as old 60-watt incandescent bulbs. Previous generation LEDs were dimmer, took time to warm up and sometimes flickered.

*In recent years the cost of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) has come down significantly – 85% drop in prices from 2010 to 2016 in the UK.

Heating your home effectively


Open Wood Fire

An open wood fire in action.

The majority of your energy use will be on heating and hot water. This is where you can make the biggest energy efficiency savings. If you are going to spend money improving the energy efficiency of your home. Heating should be the first thing on the list.

Boiler and Insulation

Your heating system works by topping up the heat in your home, adding to it as heat escapes. The best way to save energy here is to limit as much as possible the heat escaping from your home. This means insulation, insulation and more insulation.

  • Start off by simply draught proofing your windows and doors. Check out this DIY guide if you want to have a go.
  • Loft and wall insulation will give you the biggest energy savings. did a great article on what grants are available for insulation and the energy saving trust has great detailed information on the various types of insulation available. 
  • Fit a boiler jacket to your boiler to improve its efficiency.

Properly insulating your home will save hundreds of pounds a year on your energy bills.

Heating and hot water account for about 53% of energy bills in Scotland.


As a general rule for every 1°C, you reduce your thermostat temperature, you will save £60 per year on your energy bills. Experiment reducing it slightly and try using an extra blanket in bed at night. This will be more efficient at keeping you warm than heating your home at a slightly higher temperature. Also, consider getting a ‘programmable (smart) thermostat‘ so you can set a hotter temperature in the rooms you use more. You will also be able to avoid discomfort by turning the heating on before you arrive home. And save energy by not turning it on if you’re having a late night.

Please don’t sit in a cold house. Always stick with a temperature you find comfortable and turn the heating up when you need it during winter months.

If you’re going on holiday it comes in handy to have a smart thermostat. You can turn the heating on and off remotely to avoid frozen pipes and costly repair bills.


Generating your own energy – a good idea but do your homework

There are now lots of technologies available that can generate energy for homeowners. Plenty of businesses will install these various types of solar panels, small wind turbines, and heat pumps. But a word of caution. While they will reduce your carbon footprint and energy bills, they are expensive and may not be financially worthwhile depending on your circumstances. Make sure to research thoroughly and never commit to anything you’re unsure of.

Dunnottar Castle

Viewpoint at Dunnottar Castle in Scotland, August 2017. Definitely worth a visit!

If you have any more energy saving tips, I would love to hear from you. Send me an email and I’ll add them to the article. A lot of work went into making this content. If you found it useful give it a share.