Avoid the energy crunch with our top tips
- Katherine D. Rodriguez
There have been blogs on New Windowstudent budgeting and saving through New Windowsustainability. We also discussed ways to make your money last longer through New Windows mobile apps. But this blog will be about energy and how you can help your pocket and the planet.
Teamwork is the key to making dreams come true
You are sharing your space, either in the halls or privately, with students you haven’t met before or people you’ve made friends with in class. You can make sure you don’t waste your energy by sharing some rules and routines.
You can reduce your bills by washing your laundry more often, or having everyone wash their clothes once a day. Also, it’s a good idea to have a set of rules that prohibits lights or TVs from being left on. Only use what you really need.
Have a large window that receives a lot of sunlight? You might consider buying a power bank powered by a small solar array to charge your phone using the sun’s natural light. Amazon has a variety of options, and you can also find them in outdoor shops that sell camping equipment and accessories starting at around PS20.
Lighten the path
There has been some discussion about power outages during winter due to supply limitations. This is a worrying possibility but one that can be managed if you are prepared. You should have a fully charged power bank for emergency situations and some battery-powered lights in your room. You could either get a string of fairy lights, or some LED rushlights.
Hot meals and hot drinks should not be skipped
In the winter months, hot meals and beverages are essential. You’ll be thrilled to learn that the microwave is the most affordable way to cook food. It costs just pennies per hour. To save even more, don’t leave it on standby.
The cheapest way to cook after that is via an air fryer, which can be expensive, or a slow cooker. These can be purchased at Argos, or other home shops starting from PS15. For many reasons, slow cookers are a great friend:
According to the latest analysis, they are very affordable to run at 16p per usage.
It can make large portions, which is great if you like to cook together or for batch cooking.
It is so simple to use, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make delicious stews, soups, and curries.
You don’t even need to clean the pot if you purchase slow cooker liners (PS1 per five).
A large flask is a great option for hot drinks. You can make your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in the morning. This means you only need to boil the water once.
Be sure to pay your bills
If you rent privately, this is an important point to remember. There are many things to be aware of, and it can seem overwhelming when you consider the energy bills.
First, you should avoid properties with prepayment meters if possible. Due to the recent energy price rises, the “price cap” figures for direct debit customers are even more frightening. The prepayment meters cap is even higher so make sure you keep this in mind as you shop around for a place.
If you find a place to stay you like and your landlord has an existing energy supplier, you will likely be required to keep them. Many energy companies do not accept new customers. Talk to your landlord to find out the tariff you are on, and then look online for a lower one.
You should also ensure that you are not paying for the energy used by the previous tenant. Take pictures of your meters and send them to the energy supplier on the day you move in. There’s a good chance that you will be charged for energy used before you move in if you don’t.
You should submit regular readings of your gas or electric meter. This is because energy companies will often use an estimate if you don’t tell them.
It is a great idea to save money if you can find housing with all the bills included. Be aware that your landlord could raise your rent at any moment to pay for energy costs.
Choose LED Light Bulbs
If you still use incandescent bulbs, it is time to move to LED lights. Incandescent bulbs are very inefficient. They are extremely inefficient. Only 10 to 15% of the electricity they use is converted into light, the rest goes as waste heat. LED lighting is the most efficient lighting solution currently available. They consume 75% less energy and last 25 times as long while running cooler than traditional incandescent bulbs. Although they are more expensive up front, they soon pay off in energy savings.
Make sure to use your thermostat wisely
In the summer, set your thermostat at 78 degrees F or more. Energy consumption will rise six to eight percent for every degree of additional cooling. When your family is at work or school, keep your home warmer than usual. Lower the temperature when you are at home. The thermostat should not be lowered while the air conditioner is on. This will not cool your home faster and could cause energy waste.
A smart thermostat makes temperature changes easy. Smart thermostats can automatically adjust your home’s temperature to maximize energy efficiency. They are Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Smart thermostats can learn about your preferences and habits, and set up a schedule to automatically reduce energy consumption when you’re asleep or away.
You might be eligible for rebates from certain states or local governments to help you save money on your new smart thermostat. You might be eligible for special discounts from your energy provider on smart thermostats.
Use fans with your A/C
A fan can be much more affordable than your air conditioner. A fan can be run 24/7 for a month at a cost of about $5 on your electric bill. The problem is that fans don’t produce cold air. They just move existing air around. Although the wind flow can create a chill effect, it doesn’t change the temperature.
Fans and air conditioners work well together. A ceiling fan can be used to increase the temperature of your air conditioner by approximately 4 degrees F without affecting comfort. Turn your fans off when you are done with the house. Fans don’t do much other than make your energy bill slightly more expensive if there aren’t any people around to feel wind chill effects.