What you can do...
Defrost your freezer
Not only will defrosting your freezer free up oodles of space, but it will also make it run more efficiently and prolong its lifespan. Now that is eco-friendly! Freezers are a major drain on your eco-conscience as not only do they use power to cool inside, they also kick out a lot of heat outside. Re-packing your freezer more efficiently and filling up any air gaps can also make it run better and use less power.
Wash clothes at 30 degrees
Less energy, less heat, less cost, clean clothes! Cynics of this idea claim that germs cannot be killed at such a low temperature. In fact, you can now pick up 'extra germ killing' washing tablets at the supermarket, which are designed to work at lower temperatures. Perfect!
This is especially useful for those with water meters installed in their property. Instead of running the tap when peeling potatoes, why not fill a large bowl and use to peel? When brushing your teeth, why not turn the tap off whilst you brush? Showers use less water than baths. In fact, a five-minute shower uses around 45 litres less water than a standard bath. Saving water is great for the environment, and for your energy bills when it comes to hot water!
Install energy efficient light bulbs
Replacing old light bulbs with energy efficient ones can save you massively in the long run. Some energy efficient light bulbs can last as long as 20 years, whilst traditional filament bulbs have an average lifespan of around 6 months. Tesla light bulbs may be in style at the minute, but they're pushing up your energy bills and your carbon footprint. Energy efficient lightbulbs are no longer the ugly, awkward-shaped beasts they once were. Today they are available in an array of more elegant shapes and sizes. Make the change!
What your landlord can do...
Is your landlord aware that making their property eco-friendly could be in their best interest? Eco-friendly properties are considered more desirable for many potential tenants, and are more likely to stay longer-term in a property that is eco-conscious. This is partially because of the money they save on energy bills, but also because it shows that a landlord cares about the property and instils trust. Such properties are generally finished to a higher standard with care and attention put in and visible to all. Perhaps you could point your landlord in the direction of grants and loans that are available to them to make the house more energy efficient, such as the Green Deal. There are a number of things that landlords can do to improve the house on an economic level, including:
Installing new windows
Triple glazing is best but if that's out of budget, good quality double-glazing will do the trick. New windows eliminate drafts that old windows may have let in. If the glazing has an inert gas layer between the panes, less heat will be conducted out of the property and you will therefore spend less money on heating bills. There are also special coatings that can be added to new windows to make them more efficient still.
Covered slightly above, but extended to doors and other areas of draft. It's a simple step that can save the average household £25-£50 a year on energy bills. Windows, doors and loft hatches are the main culprits when it comes to draft zones, but also look at open fires, ceiling-to-wall joints and rooms where moisture is produced (i.e. kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms). Draft proofing by a professional can cost anywhere in the region of £250-£580 but can be done on a DIY level by your landlord - should they be able and willing to carry out such work - for around half this cost.
It's a well-known fact that heat rises. Many properties don't have effective loft insulation in place to stop heat escaping from the roof, which is costing them dearly. By installing loft insulation, you are effectively trapping heat into the property. It goes without saying that the thicker the insulation material, the more effective. However as long as it is above the recommended 250mm thickness, the insulation will be effective.
Cavity wall insulation
Similar to loft insulation, cavity wall insulation fills the gap between the two exterior walls in order to stop heat escaping from the sides of the property. It is usually a fibrous material that is pumped into walls via a number of small external holes. British Gas offers loft and wall insulation for around £700, regardless of whether you're a customer with them or not.
Install renewable energy methods
This is a larger-scale project, but could save you and your landlord money in the long term. Devices such as roof-mounted solar panels or wind turbines enable the property to produce its own energy. Better still; under some deals the landlord can even sell "left over" energy back to the grid. The initial outlay can be as much as £10,000, but there are various ways to pay this back - including via energy bills. It's certainly a long-term commitment, but one that makes the property more appealing to many.
Install underfloor heating
Banish ugly radiators and save energy at the same time. Underfloor heating is the choice of the best architects because it distributes heat evenly around the room from below, rather than all from one angle like a traditional radiator. As heat rises, the entire room can benefit from underfloor heating leaving no "cold spots" like radiators would, which also means you can keep the temperature a little lower and still be comfortable, which will save you money!
We hope you've found this blog useful. Perhaps you have your own energy saving tips you'd like to share via our social media pages? If you have any questions on the above article, would like more tips or more information on landlord grants, contact your local Whitegates branch. Additionally, if you are a landlord, you may like to see our Landlord's Guide: Grants For An Eco-Friendly Property.