Sustainable Living

With the rise in energy costs in our current climate, it is becoming harder to afford to heat your homes which can be troubling to any household, big or small. You'll be happy to know that there are methods in which you can insulate your home and save energy for when you need it most with these simple tips and tricks!

  • Heating a hot water bottle can provide hours of warmth and uses very little energy. Whether you are pre-heating your bed for a good nights sleep, or need to keep warm at your workstation at home, hot water bottles are a good way to keep you warm without the added cost to your energy bills. 
  • Typically, a 10 minute shower uses only 25 gallons of water, whilst a bath uses around 50. This means small showers are much more efficient then taking a bath. 
  • A simple tip on saving energy is to prevent energy drain, and you can do by switching off plugs when they are not in use, using eco settings on your washing machines, dishwashers,  TVs, phones, computers and more. If your device has an eco-mode setting, use it!

As we are all trying our best to keep the heating down during this crisis, it is important to know that colder temperatures due to the weather can make health problems worst or lead to serious complications, especially if you are aged 65 or over and if you have a life term condition. It has been advised that the minimum comfortable temperature for a room is 18C, so heating does not necessarily need to be turned off and any rooms that are unoccupied can have the heating lowered rather than turned off completely. 

For useful guidelines and tips on how to keep warm this winter without compromising your health, visit the NHS website.

Did you know you can create your own insulation within your own home? From getting rid of those pesky draughts from under your doors to wondering where the heat is escaping from your radiators; there are loads of methods in which you can keep the warmth in your home without the added costs of expensive building installations. 

Draught excluders are a brilliant tool that can be placed under your doors to stop draughts from seeping through. You can make a simple draught excluder by using household products such as pair of tights with some old pillow cases, shredded towels and bed sheets, or newspaper, or you can make beautiful ornate ones with a creative touch.

You can create simple insulation for your windows with a sheet of bubble wrap or plastic film for when those cold winter months arrive. Applying plastic insulation film can cut the cost of heating bills by a considerable amount and is the perfect solution for saving energy and money.

Radiator reflectors are a great way to help keep heat from escaping from your radiator and allow for heat to be redirected into the room. Tin foil can be used if radiator foil is too expensive. Simply cut and place a layer of tin foil behind your radiator which will then assist in dispersing heat from the radiator into the room it is in.

It's often been suggested that keeping your heating on at low temperatures is a cheaper solution than turning the heating off and therefore a more effective way of saving money. This however, has been debunked by the experts from Energy Savings Trust whose research demonstrates that turning the heating off in rooms that are not in use is a far more effective way of saving money. It all depends however, on your home and the type of insulation it has.

If you have an older home that has little insulation, it might be best to keep the temperature on low (recommended at 18c), to help keep your household warm and to only turn the radiator thermostats up in rooms that are occupied. If you are living in a newer build with adequate insulation, it may be wise to only put the heating on in rooms that are being used. If you have a little money to invest, ensuring your radiators have been bled and that thermostats have been fitted and/or are operational is a really valuable investment.

By using some of the DIY techniques outlined above, you can make sure that no matter what sort of accommodation you are living in, you always have ways in which you can keep your house warm whilst saving on those energy bills. 

Sustainable Cooking

Did you know that after heating, cooking is one of the most energy intensive activities within your home. During the colder months it's important to ensure that you and your family have at least one hot meal a day; which with a little bit of planning and imagination, you can achieve whilst still saving money and keeping everyone healthy. In addition to slow cookers, air fryers, batch cooking and microwaving, you could also try using low carbon thermal cooking.

Kitchen and dinning area in student accommodation

Sustainable Cooking

Student standing in a kitchen holding a cup

Tips for Cooking Sustainably

  • Batch cook meals for the week and store portions in your freezer. Cooking this way will save the amount of energy used, as you will only need to reheat
  • Whether you're living with friends or family, eating a meal together saves on energy as you are not cooking different meals at different times of the day
  • Buying frozen food rather than fresh not only lasts longer, but can also be used to make multiple meals at half the price. Frozen vegetables can also help you hit your five a day
  • Save money and substitute meat for pulses, vegetables and other meat free products
  • Most supermarkets start adding yellow stickers in the late afternoon. Visit at 7pm when you are likely to bag a bargain
  • More than a third of food is wasted, sign up to food apps that allow you to collect food nearing its sell by date at reduced prices