Power to you!

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The Best You brings you more eco-friendly tips you can use to help the environment and save money too! This month, we’re talking about saving electricity.

In the developed world we take electricity for granted. From first thing in the morning when the alarm clock goes off, boiling the kettle to make that first cup of tea or coffee, listening to the radio as you get ready for the day through to catching the train or tube to work, electricity is the background to our lives. Yet, with all his abundance of electricity in our lives, we don’t have don’t have to travel very far to meet people who have to do without.

Just a hop and a skip away in Africa you find huge areas where people are awoken in the morning by the cock-a-doodle-do of the rooster, make their coffee in a pan over a fire, and get to work in the old fashioned way – by walking. This way of life may seem entirely foreign to us in our electricity-rich world, but with the price of fuel to make electricity on an upward spiral, the time when we could thoughtlessly waste energy is coming to an end. Carry on without considering the resources we are using, and who knows – it may not be too long before we’ll all have to get roosters of our own to make sure you make that morning meeting!

According to a report by energy regulator Ofgem, Britain will face energy shortages by the winter of 2015, with the amount of spare energy falling from 14 per cent now to only four per cent. This means we would have to rely more on the power of imported gas, which would result in steep price increases.

So, what can we do? You might think all your electricity usage is completely essential, but surely there are areas to cut back?

We’ve put together some great tips that will save you cash and are great for the environment as well. We gave you some good ideas back in February. Now here are even more:

High and dry
Many people in the west use their tumble dryers to dry their laundry all year round. Sure, that might seem obvious in the winter months, but even in the summer, when the central heating isn’t on many people find they don’t have an outside space to get their clothing dry, or just haven’t thought how to save on that fuel bill. Of course, it helps to have an energy efficient tumble dryer, but if you don’t that doesn’t mean you need to get a new one. You can just change the way you use it. For example, you can hang your clothes on a clotheshorse in your living room until they are almost dry, and then just tumble dry them for a fraction of the time to get them completely dry instead of putting them straight into the tumble dryer after the spin cycle. You could save over £130 per year.

Light up my life
This may sound like an obvious one, but remember to turn off the lights and the television when you leave a room. To be honest, turning off the lights doesn’t actually save you that much money (if you go out for two hours and forget to turn a light off, that is only going to cost you less than one pence), but when it comes to conserving energy, every kilowatt counts. That said, the telly does use a lot of electricity, so remember to switch it off!

Get disconnected
If you aren’t actually charging your mobile phone, unplug the charger and turn the plug off at the wall. To be honest, small device chargers left in the wall with now devices attached don’t run up a huge bill – but imagine millions of these devices all over the country left plugged in and that 4 per cent margin suddenly starts to look very tight. Every little helps, as the saying goes. On a more thrifty note, remember when you go away for the weekend to unplug as many appliances as you can (except the fridge of course) and turn the switches on the sockets off. Turning appliances off completely instead of leaving them on standby can save you nearly £80 per year.

Quick tips
• Turn the temperature of your dishwasher down to 30°C
• When making a cup of tea, only boil the water you need
• Unless you are baking, there is no need to preheat your oven
• Let your hair air-dry in the summer instead of using a hairdryer

 

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