Top tips for saving energy in the home


Energy savers recommend starting small, appreciating the savings and then doing some more.

Jill Goulder, for example, an archaeologist who lives in a late-19th-century terrace in Lewes has, over the years, reduced her bills by hundreds of pounds. “One of my favourite 'easy wins’ is acrylic secondary glazing, attached to frames with a magnetic strip. It’s unobtrusive, easy to install and stops draughts dead. It’s only about £60 a window,” she says (

Donnachadh McCarthy, who lives in an early Victorian terrace in Camberwell, south London and who now has a “carbon neutral” 170-year-old house, says one of the easiest savings he made was to switch his oven and washing machine off at the wall when not in use. “Just keeping those little red lights on when not being used cost me £28 a year,” he says.

Drummond Richardson, an IT programmer from Redhill says one of the best things he did was to insulate the concrete ground floor of his Sixties home with 5cm of polystyrene before topping it with a reclaimed wood school gym floor. “It cost me £50 and made a huge difference. Most people think about walls and lofts but the floor is as important too.”

Martin: “Chair seat foam cut to shape makes a good chimney blocker. Chimney balloons can work with irregular-shaped chimneys.”

Jill: “I stuff crumpled newspapers in a carrier bag and shove that up the chimney for cost-free draught-reduction. Don’t forget to remove it when you want to light a fire.”

Donnachadh: “Replace halogen spots with LED ones. If you have 10 50-watt halogen lamps in one room, it costs you about £118 a year. Replace them with 10 5-watt LEDs and that reduces to £12 a year. If you can only afford to do one room, make it the living room. I also spent £2,000 internally insulating my living room, where I spend most of my time.”

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