Student Energy Saving Tips and Tricks

Student Energy Saving Tips and Tricks

Student Energy Saving Tips

Forget all about tariffs, energy suppliers and bills for a moment *Collective sigh of relief*. Believe it or not, there are loads of easy and cheap ways to optimise your energy efficiency through some small changes to your habits. WAHOO.

1. Rugs. Not got carpets? First of all, why?! They’re definitely something to look out for when viewing potential homes. But if your home doesn’t have carpets, rugs are the ideal solution to stop warmth escaping and just making your room a bit more cosy. Any excuse for a day out to Ikea!

2. Wait until winter hits. You’re a student, you’re not supposed to be living in luxury. You don’t need your heating on until November/whenever winter gets serious. Get the another layer on. Why else did you think your third year friends go home for the weekend ALL the time?

3. Don’t charge things overnight. We don’t care how quick your battery dies, this is the worst waste of electricity. Especially if everyone in the house is guilty. Realistically it only takes 1.5 hours for an iPhone 5 to charge fully – not a full nights sleep.

4. Turn down the thermostat, not the radiators. Turning down your radiator won’t actually save you any money as the thermostat will keep the heating on until it reaches its target temperature anyway. It will just take longer. You won’t save money unless you also turn your thermostat down! Hive, the energy remote app, reckon that you can save 10% off your heating bill just by turning your thermostat down by only one degree.

5. Thick curtains. Did you know about 10% of your heating escapes through your windows? Whether you’ve got dodgy single glazing or major draughts, make sure that your curtains are closed for those cold winter evenings. If you’re lacking decent curtains, dig out that Ikea blanket your Mum bought you in first year and throw it over your curtains. You’ll fall in love with your new makeshift insulating curtains.

6. Natural heat is free. Make sure open curtains in day to catch sunlight. Rare, but free, heating.

7. Dry your clothes naturally. As tempting as it is to dry your clothes on the radiator – don’t do it! Your clothes will absorb the heat from your radiators AND pour condensation in to your house. That’s a double whammy nightmare of cold and mould. Don’t do it. Drying racks are far cheaper than using a tumble drier and they won’t shrink your clothes.

8. Don’t leave your lights on. Yes, this sounds obvious and we’re definitely starting to sound like nagging parents BUT just don’t do it! It simply isn’t true that it takes more energy to turn them off and on again than leave them running if you leave the room quickly. Be kind to your student loan. 

9. Buy energy saving light bulbs. Going green will save you £££.

10. Set timers! Most of you won’t be in the house all day so just set your heating to come on 45 minutes before you wake up and 45 minutes before you’ll all be home to get a comfortable temperature. You don’t need the heating on when you’re all cosy under your duvet so you only need it on for a couple of hours in the evening before you all crash out.

11. Tin Foil. Ok, bear us with this one. If you want the ultimate DIY heat-fix, buy some high quality kitchen foil (we’re not talking Tesco Value here) and place it behind your radiator. It will stop heating escaping in to you wall and will reflect it back into your house. YAY.

Finally, if you’re cold put a bleeding jumper on! Don’t turn up the thermostat up to a million degrees – it won’t get warmer any faster, the thermostat will just use more energy and stay on for longer. Not to mention you’ll get WAY too hot. Sweat is not cool.

So there we have it! You have all the tools to become the official dollar-saving officer in your student house. 

Try the home energy savings calculator!……

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Mastering Student Energy Supply

Part 1: Choosing the Right Property

After leaving the perpetually cosy life of halls in first year, moving in to a rental property beckons a very cold reality for every University student (if you pardon the pun.) Gone are the days of 24/7 hot water, sweltering radiators and not having to worry about bills. Welcome to adult life: cold and archaic houses that will quite possibly grow mould if you don’t heat them properly. But do not fear! Avoid a very expensive learning curve and let Switchwise guide you through the process from finding your new property, setting up your energy supplier and, most importantly, finding the best deal for you.

We’ll reveal the secret tips through this step by step guide to help you save as much money as possible to spend on what really matters.

So, where to begin? It is important to consider your energy usage as early as possible as student accommodation is typically very energy inefficient. Look at Energy Performance Certificates when viewing properties. A low energy efficiency (E- G rating) will lead to higher energy costs, however, asking yourself a few simple questions to choose the right house could significantly decrease your future energy bills.

1. Do you have double glazing? The Energy Saving Trust estimates that good quality double-glazing could save £90- £120 off annual heating bills for a semi-detached property. Choosing a property with double glazing will conserve alot of energy and keep your house warmer with no effort on your part.

2. Are your bills included in your rent? Some properties have certain bills included. This may save you a lot of money and hassle in the long term but make sure that you fully understand the terms of this arrangement. Check with the landlord so you know exactly which bills you are liable to pay for and if there are any limitations. Ensure that there aren’t any fees for excessive usage as students are likely to use a large, but unpredictable, amount of energy.

2. Does the property have mould issues? If possible, ask the current tenants if they have had any issues with mould or high bills. If a property that you are viewing has problems with mould, it may require far more expensive heating than a house without issues. Dehumidifiers can combat mould but these can be expensive to buy and run.

3. Does the property have carpets? The BBC states that flooring without insulation accounts for 10% of domestic heat loss. A carpeted property will help your house stay warmer and conserve energy.

4. What kind of meter do you have?, an independent consumer service, state that households with a prepayment meter pay far more than those who have quarterly bills. They recommend that that you ask the landlord if a standard meter could be installed to avoid overpaying for your bills.

5. Does the property have an electric shower? A recent report on water consumption stated that hot water accounts for 10% of total energy bills. Electric showers use less water overall and heat water at the point of use so no heat energy is lost during transportation. While gas is typically cheaper than electricity, electric showers are more cost-effective than other types if you have shorter showers.

While many of the properties you are considering may be energy inefficient, choosing the right property could effortlessly begin to save you money. If you are unsure about how much energy you are using in your current household, find out by using our Home Electricity Running Cost Calculator.

In our next segment of the Student Guides, we will be discussing  how you can avoid overpaying when setting up your energy providers in your new property so make sure you check back next week!