How to slow down heat loss, save energy and money...


There are many ways to save energy and money, ranging from those which cost nothing to those which cost substantial amounts of money but which pay for themselves over a fairly short period by reducing fuel bills. Community energy efficiency projects can:

  • Encourage people to invest in those measures they can afford.
  • Educate people to follow the no-cost tips to save energy in their own home.
  • Ensure that eligible households secure grant-aid for energy efficiency improvements.
  • Persuade landlords to invest in the energy efficiency of their housing stock.

The measures can be divided into three types:

  1. No cost ways to save energy.
  2. Low cost ways to save energy and money.
  3. Higher cost ways to save energy and money.

Remember that the higher cost options can often be grant-aided for people who cannot afford the investment, and that they pay for themselves through reduced bills.

1. Ten no-cost ways to save energy and money

  1. Central heating - turning the thermostat down by 1°C can save 10% of heating bills, saving around £30 per year.
  2. Hot water - setting the cylinder thermostat at 60°C/140°F should provide a sufficiently high temperature for domestic use, saving £10 per year.
  3. Always use the basin or sink plug. Running hot water is expensive and wasteful.
  4. Lights - turn off unnecessary lights and adjust curtains and blinds to allow as much natural light as possible.
  5. Electrical appliances - do not leave televisions, videos, etc. on standby.
  6. Fridges - do not leave the refrigerator door open and avoid putting warm or hot food into the fridge. Defrost the appliance regularly.
  7. Washing machines/tumble dryers - wait until you have a full load before use. Try the low temperature programme where possible.
  8. Dishwashers - use the low temperature programme where appropriate.
  9. Pots and pans - choose the right size ring for pots and pans and keep lids on when cooking.
  10. Kettles - heat only the amount of water needed.

2. Nine low cost ways to save energy and money

  1. Low energy light bulbs use around a quarter of the electricity, and will last ten times longer than an ordinary bulb. They cost up to £5 and save around £10 per year.
  2. An insulating jacket for your hot water tank will cost around £10 and save around £10-£15 per year.
  3. Insulate your hot water pipes to prevent heat escaping. The cost is about £1 per metre to save around £5 per year.
  4. An ordinary shower uses only two-fifths of the hot water needed for a bath. Shower attachments for both taps cost around £5.
  5. If you have a dripping tap fix it quickly; in just one day, a dripping hot water tap can waste energy and enough water to fill a bath.
  6. Draught proof exterior doors.
  7. Fit a seal or flap on your letterbox and cover the keyhole.
  8. Fill gaps in floorboards or under skirting boards with newspapers, beading or sealant, for about £25 to save around £5-£10 per year.
  9. Use cling film or polythene on windows as an alternative to double-glazing, costing from £10.

Grants schemes such as the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme or Warm Deal and electricity and gas EEC schemes will meet the cost of some of these low cost measures for eligible households.

3. Three higher cost ways to save energy and money.

The following measures require a greater initial investment, but they will pay for themselves in the future.

1) Insulation, to keep more heat in.





Cavity wall insulation.



3-5 years

Internal wall insulation.

From £900


5-6 years

External wall insulation.

From £1,500


9-11 years

Loft insulation (250mm virgin loft).



2 years

Loft insulation (200mm top up).



7-11 years

Loft insulation (DIY).

From £140


7-11 years

Draught proofing.



6-11 years

Hot water tank and pipe insulation.

From £20

Up to £20

1-2 years

2) Energy efficient heating systems and controls.





Condensing boiler

From £150


4-5 years





Room thermostat



7-14 years

Full controls



2-5 years

Thermostatic radiator valves



5-14 years

3) Energy efficient appliances.

If your current appliances are over 10 years old upgrading to an A-rated energy efficient model could save you the following on your electricity bill per year:

  • Fridge freezer £45
  • Upright/chest freezer £35
  • Fridge £25
  • Washing machine £15

The Bigger Picture.

How do improvements to individual homes relate to the broader environment? Here are some facts and figures which show the link between individual and local action and the UK-wide situation:

  • Households spend £5.3 billion each year on domestic lighting and appliances.
  • The average household produces more than 6 tonnes of CO² each year.
  • The average household could save £250 a year by installing energy efficient measures.
  • If every household installed three low energy light bulbs the savings would pay for all the street lighting in the UK.
  • As a nation we waste £5 billion worth of energy each year.
  • If current trends continue, in 100 years time the temperature will be 3°C higher than it is now.