How to cut your energy bills at home
By Paul Robinson
Here is a way to do your bit for the environment with minimal effort.
This is an e-grass-roots initiative - information is being provided, no attempt is being made to sell you something. Please read on...........
Your home can have ZERO carbon emissions - this means your home will NOT be responsible for increased global warming. All you have to do to arrive at this happy position is to make a couple of telephone calls, to change your gas and electricity suppliers to ones that offer "green" energy.
There are now domestic electricity and gas tariffs which are carbon neutral (i.e. do not result in any net CO2 emissions):
* the electricity is supplied from renewable energy resources (wind,biomass, energy from waste, methane from landfill etc.)
* the gas one involves a small levy which is invested - through the independent Carbon Storage Trust - in tree planting in the developing
world and green electricity, so that the CO2 emissions from your use of gas is canceled out.
Green gas tariff (there is only one I know of):
- Amerada Hess (Climate Care tariff) - tel. 0845 305 5000
Some suppliers of green electricity:
-Scottish and Southern Energy (ACORN -tariff) - 0345 776633
-PowerGen (Green Plan tariff) -0500 240 500
-SWEB (Green Electron tariff) - 0800 328 9026
-Unit Energy Ltd (Unit[e] tariff) - 0845 601 1410
-Yorkshire Electricity (Green Electricity tariff)- 0345 227733
I have changed and it was very easy. I was already with Scottish and Southern Electric and to change to their Acorn tariff involved one quick
phone call. With gas, I moved to the Amerada Climate Care tariff - this involved a telephone call and then a short form to fill in.
The green tariffs cost a little bit more than the standard ones but when I went green I didn't noticed it because at the same time I did some simple things to reduce my energy use:
* fitted a couple more low energy light bulbs (about a quarter of the energy use of a normal bulb and last up to 10 times longer)
* replaced my twelve year old fridge-freezer with one having a top energy rating
* put insulation panels behind my radiators
* used a simple timer plug to use the washing machine and dishwasher overnight when I get cheaper rate electricity
* make sure that I don't leave the TV and video in stand-by mode when they aren't being used - it's only a short walk from the sofa. (TVs and
videos use more energy when they are in standby mode (20h/day) than when they are being watched (4h/day) - if every one in the UK switched off
instead of to standby, then the output of several power stations would be saved.)
I shall be installing an ultra-efficient condensing boiler when my current one gives up the ghost. (Condensing boilers are 90+% efficient instead of 75% efficiency for a standard new boiler, and about 50-60% efficient for the older boiler due for replacement. You can get a condensing boiler installed for the same price as a standard boiler under our Big Green Boiler Scheme (tel. 0800 0282855, www.green-boilers.com) - please note they are no bigger than a standard boiler and they are not green in
colour. This technology has been standard in Europe for years, it is just the UK where it has been slow to take off.)
Please let me know if you change to a green tariff, or have already done so - just reply to:
Tell me which area you live in, the approximate age of the property, the number of bedrooms, whether it is a flat, mid/end terrace, semi, detached etc. so I can estimate the CO2 savings.
(Part of my job is to report annually to the DETR on home energy efficiency improvements in Oxford.)
If you want to do a little bit more than your bit for the environment, please forward this to everyone in your address book in the Oxford area.
Thanks for reading this far.
To contact Dr Paul Robinson, Member Institute of Energy, Energy Conservation & Environmental Health
,Oxford City Council, Ramsay House,Oxford,OX11PT.
tel: 01865 252541
fax: 01865 252344
P.S. Some more useful information on improving the energy efficiency of
1.Free low energy light bulb + report If you live in Oxford contact me - you will qualify for a free low energy lightbulb (first 1000 to respond only) and advice specific to your own home/heating system when you complete one of our short questionnaires.
2.Grants If you are on income related benefit in Oxford, you may qualify for a grant to improve your home energy efficiency (owner occupiers and private rented properties) - tel. 01865 252378.
3. Landlords If you are a landlord in Oxford, we are piloting a government funded scheme to give grants to encourage upgrading the energy
efficiency of your properties (WARM LET tel. 0845 6000 337, www.warmlet.co.uk).
4. Solar energy If you live in Oxfordshire and are interested in solar energy to heat your water, find out more about our SOLARSAVERS scheme,
(tel. 0845 6000 337, www.solarsavers.co.uk).