Green growth is rapidly overtaking the brown economy, as more and more people begin to feel the pinch of rising energy costs. The UK has been a leading innovator in the field of smart energy and energy conservation with companies like British Gas leading the way with the installation of over two million smart devices to lower energy costs for consumers. You don’t need to wait for British Gas to deliver money saving devices or gadgets to your home, as the market for energy saving gadgets is big and getting bigger. The internet of things (IoT) promises to deliver even more practical applications and devices that puts you first and saves you money. Gadgets, devices and programmes are geared towards all income levels, so you can start cutting back on your consumption even if you only have a couple of quid to spare, or you could go the whole hog and drop a big bag of cash on a home makeover.
Technology continues bringing more products to the market that run the green economy. In today’s world of innovation, energy conservation is as easy as one-two-three and can be tailor-made to suit your budget.
Here are five ways in which you can start saving money now.
1) Install smart meters or energy monitors
British Gas’s smart meter programme is projected to be the standard in all households come 2020. British Gas smart meters have a handy in-home monitor which shows your energy consumption in pounds and pence, allowing you to identify areas of wastage and showing where you can cut back on consumption. In addition, the meter sends the readings straight to British Gas via GPRS, so your bill will no longer be an estimate but an accurate reflection of your reading. The meters will be installed at no additional cost to homeowners. There is currently a Winter Warmer sale which will last until the 27th of February, which gives cash back or vouchers for replacing or insuring your boiler. Be sure to check out the website to take advantage of the sale.
Energy monitors show you how much electricity you use daily, as well as where that energy is consumed. This allows you to identify the areas where you can cut back on your consumption. A device clips onto your electricity meter, while a transmitter relays the information to a handheld screen where you can see your real-time usage in kWh or pounds and pence. You can see just how much you pay to wash or dry a load of laundry, or to boil a full or half-full kettle.
2) Exorcise phantom loads
A survey uSwitch published in October 2014 showed that 70 per cent of households leave electrical appliances switched into plugs with the mains on. This phantom load (energy that is drained even when appliances and devices are switched off) isn’t just a waste of power, but it’s also a waste of money. The total cost of standby electricity usage in the UK amounts to £227 million a year. Rather a hefty bill, which is why, according to Hannah Nemeth, remote-controlled sockets are the smart answer. These sockets allow you to use your remote control to switch off all your devices and gadgets. They’re widely available and very well priced. Multi-socket extension leads ‘sense’ when your TV is switched off and automatically switches off all peripherals, like your DVD player.
3) Take control of your central heating
Central heating costs a packet, but you can save money and energy by using intelligent heating systems. There are a number of smart systems available on the market, so be sure to shop around, until you’ve had a good look at what’s available to see what’s the best fit for you financially. Once again British Gas is something of a pioneer with its Hive Active Heating which allows you to control your heating and hot water by smartphone, tablet or laptop. Scottish Power Connect uses technology by home technology specialist Climote to control heating and hot water from a mobile. Npower has the Nest Learning Thermostat, a heating programmer and thermostat in one, which automatically turns itself down, and can be controlled by a smartphone, tablet or laptop. The Nest Thermostat notes the temperatures you like and creates a personalised schedule for you.