There are hundreds of ways to save energy in our daily lives. We use energy all the time and we should all think about what we are doing and recognise where we are using energy - then see if we can reduce our use, use it more efficiently or replace it with a renewable or cleaner energy source.
We have put together 21 of the best energy saving tips to help you live a more energy friendly life and save money on your bills.
Saving energy through lighting is one of the best and easiest ways to become energy efficient. Turning lights off as we leave rooms is an energy habit we should all catch - it's a myth that florescent tubes use more energy to switch on than they use when they are on. Switch them off when not required. Using low energy light bulbs means that you can save money as well as energy.
Do you switch your TV off at night or just leave it on standby? If you stop using your television or computer for more than fifteen minutes, it is worth turning it off completely. Leaving either on standby eats up electricity that is mainly produced from fossil fuels!
Modern kettles are happy with only enough water for one or two cups of tea and have a convenient scale too! Reducing the amount of water from full to half full can save enough energy to run a TV for an hour!
A draughty house can lose 25% of the energy put into it. Fitting draught excluders to doors and windows will help significantly. Draughts from floor boards and skirting boards can also be blocked with newspaper, papier-mache, wood filler or decorators caulk.
Without insulation you could be losing 35% of your heating bill through your walls and 25% through your roof! Many houses have cavity walls that can be filled with insulation and loft insulation can be an easy DIY job that saves you cash too!
How often could you walk or cycle rather than using the car? The emissions from cars are very bad for our atmosphere as is the pollution caused by the processing of oil - using your car less, particularly for short journeys, can help reduce this detrimental effect on our environment!
Increasingly we use chargers to make our technology mobile. Mobile phones, laptops, MP3 players and other such gadgets all need to be regularly re-charged but once the battery is full the power often doesn't stop. Even once the gadget is unplugged from the charger energy can still be wasted as the transformer continues operating. So remember to stop charging as soon as your device is charged and then turn off or unplug the charger.
Saving water also saves energy. Vast amounts of power is used to clean, process and pump water around before it even gets to our houses - still more is used to take it away again! Water also uses a lot of energy to heat - kettles use 20 or 30 times more energy than a light bulb whilst they are on - so take showers rather than baths, fix dripping taps and conserve water.
Put aluminium foil behind any radiators fitted on outside walls - this saves heat losses and reflects heat back into the room - saving energy and money. Factory made radiator Insulation Panels can now be bought to be fitted behind radiators to improve efficiency still further.
It takes energy to cook food but with a little care we can all reduce the amount that is wasted. A lid will keep the heat in a pan. Choose the right size hob to fit the right size pan - smaller pans waste less energy. Keeping pans covered will also help reduce condensation, which can cause mould growth and spoil decorations.
Windows are big escape routes for heat but can also let in the warming rays of the sun. Even with double glazing we can help save energy by drawing curtains at dusk - but make sure they don't cover the radiator!
Most homes and buildings are now centrally heated and modern boilers are much more efficient but we often don't use them correctly. Make sure the timer is set so that the heating isn't on when the house is empty. Usually buildings will retain enough heat to turn the heating off an hour or so before everyone leaves. Thermostats should also be used where possible and not set too high - between 18 and 210 C for a living room. Every 10 C above this adds 10% on to your fuel bills. Using thermostatic radiator valves means each room can be adjusted separately too.
Fridges and freezers use energy to cool their insides. To do this they have a radiator on the back to get rid of the heat. To make them work more efficiently this should be well ventilated and in a cool place - not next to cookers, radiators or boilers. It pays to clean the back every so often too. They should also be regularly de-frosted and freezers especially should be kept full - even with ice cubes.
Hot water and heating pipes should be lagged properly even when they are just under floors where they will heat the floor space rather than the room. Make sure that hot water cylinders are lagged too. Modern cylinders come covered in an insulating foam to prevent as much heat loss as possible.
Hot water doesn't need to be scalding. For most people, setting the cylinder thermostat at 600 C /1400 F is fine for bathing and washing and is hot enough to keep the water bacteria free.
If you have an extractor fan in the kitchen or bathroom - turn it off as soon as it's done its job. Left running for an hour it could empty a whole house full of warmed air!
Always wash a full load in your washing machine - and if you can't then use the half-load or economy programme if your machine has one. Always use the low temperature programme - modern washing powders are just as effective at lower temperatures. Use a washing line rather than a tumble dryer. If you have to use a tumble dryer don't put really wet clothes into it; wring them out or spin-dry them first. It's much faster and it will save you money.
Elements in kettles and washing machines that are coated with limescale are inefficient and use more energy to raise the temperature of the water they are heating. Leave a cup full of vinegar in your kettle overnight to remove limescale. Vinegar can be used to maintain your washing machine too. Every two months run a 60 degree cycle with no clothes and add 200ml of white vinegar. This will reduce electricity use and maintain health of these appliances.
Although one of the more expensive energy saving tips, fitting double-glazing cuts heat loss through windows by 50% and will pay for itself well within the life of the windows and add value to a house. The latest double glazing units are filled with inert gasses and coated with special materials to let heat from the sun come in but stop heat getting out.
When replacing appliances such as fridges, freezers, dishwashers and washing machines, look for ones displaying the energy saving recommended logo. Energy saving appliances use less energy and could save you a lot of money.
Still not sure which are your home's weak spots? Why not complete the Energy Saving Trust's online home energy check.