Use low energy light bulbs - they reduce the energy you spend on lighting by 80% and last up to 12 years
You can now get low energy bulbs for almost all household fittings, whether they are bayonet, screw-in, spotlights or candle bulbs
Switch off at the mains: TVs, videos and electric chargers use 80% of their full power if left on standby. By switching your electrical appliances off at the plug you could save up to 10% on your electricity bill
Cook smart: Cover your pans when you cook, it can reduce the energy used by up to 90%. Boil only the amount of water you need and use the right size of pan for the food and cooker ring. Any heat you can see around the pan is being wasted and is costing you money
Wash wise: Use the lowest temperature setting appropriate on your washing machine and always wash a full load, or use the half-load setting. On a nice day hang your washing outside instead of using a tumble dryer. It could save you between 5-10% on your annual electricity bill
Fridges and freezers: Make sure all food is cooled down before it goes in the fridge or freezer. Defrost your freezer regularly to keep it running efficiently and cheaply
Good housekeeping: In cold weather keep curtains wide open during the day but make sure they are drawn at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows. It could save you 4% on your heating bill
Turning your thermostat down by 1°C could save you 10% of your annual heating bill
Setting your hot water cylinder thermostat to 60°C/140°F can reduce your water heating bill by 4%
Showering instead of having a bath (or power shower), reduces the water and energy needed by 60%
Avoid using high-energy equipment such as air-conditioners, patio heaters, heaters for conservatories or open gas or electric fires. If you have an open fire, rather than one with a closed front, you only benefit from about 10% of the heat created the rest goes up the chimney
Cavity wall insulation: If your property is built after 1930, you probably have cavity walls. You can easily get these insulated by a professional installer through a City Council discount scheme, open to both homeowners and private tenants. For a cost of about £250, or free if you are on benefits or have trouble paying your fuel bills, you could reduce your heating bill by 30% and help keep your home cool in summer.
Make sure your loft insulation is at least 270mm (11') deep. A poorly insulated loft accounts for 25% of heat lost from your home. A DIY job will cost around £150, and professional installation about £275. If you use a registered installer you may be eligible for a grant or council tax rebate, contact Oxford City Council for details.
If you have trouble paying your fuel bills, or spend 10% or more of your household income on them, contact your local City Council to find out about energy saving grants for low-income households.
Draught-proof your windows, doors and loft hatch. Brushes and strips are available from all good local DIY and hardware stores. For a £10–£20 outlay you could save 10–15% on your gas bill. Make sure you don't draught-proof your airbricks though, otherwise your gas appliances won't be properly ventilated.
Change your electricity to a green energy tariff to make sure your energy comes from 100% renewable sources (e.g. Good Energy) or is made up of a larger proportion of renewable or lower carbon sources. Some ‘green’ tariffs cost no more than normal ‘brown’ energy tariffs.
Contact Energy Helpline or uSwitch for green tariff price comparisons or visit the Green Electricity Marketplace for information on which suppliers are the “greenest”.
Heating controls: Fitting thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to your radiators could help you reduce your central heating bills by up to 17%. TRVs monitor and respond to the temperature in each room, ensuring no rooms are over or under-heated.
Radiator panels: Buy specially ridged radiator panels to put behind your radiators. For £30–40 you could save 12–15% on your heating bills. Contact the your City Council's Sustainable Energy Team for more information.
Buy A-rated (or A++ rated) energy-efficient appliances, they usually only cost a few pounds more but you'll recoup those costs through reduced electricity bills (up to 6% less per year). Contact the Energy Saving Trust for more information.
Replace your old boiler with an ultra-efficient condensing boiler; it'll be about 20% more efficient. The Energy Saving Trust gives advice on replacement boilers.
Call your local energy advice centre, such as the Thames Valley Energy Advice Centre and find out other ways you may be able to improve the energy efficiency of your home, and can perform a free Energy Check on your home.
If your house is built before 1930, you probably won't have a suitable cavity for cavity wall insulation, but you can get the same effect by installing external or internal wall insulation. The costs are between £45–65 per square meter for external cladding or render, and £25–£40 per square meter for internal wall insulation. These forms of insulation can reduce your fuel bills by up to 25%.
Internal wall insulation is ideal if you are considering a redecoration, or if you want to insulate one particularly cold area.
External wall insulation is ideal if you want to minimise internal disruption, but may require planning permission in conservation areas.
For more detailed advice on all forms of wall and loft insulation, contact your local City Council's Sustainable Energy Team.
Replacing old single-glazed windows with double (or triple) glazed “low-emissivity” glass could reduce heat loss from your home by 10%. Contact the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA) for more information and registered installers.