The everyday energy habits that cost you hundreds

As boilers all over Britain work overtime to keep the chill from creeping in and the grid battles to keep our evenings ablaze, millions of households are unaware of the tiny changes to energy use that could save hundreds of pounds and dramatically cut our carbon emissions. 

This week marks Big Energy Saving Week, the Citizens Advice campaign run with the Energy Saving Trust in a bid to improve the nation’s energy habits, save money and help save the planet.

British homes are responsible for around 25 per cent of UK carbon dioxide emissions, making them one of the biggest contributors to the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

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A single small change like turning appliances off rather than leaving them on standby could save households £690m, and stop 1.3 million tons of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere. 

But up to 10 million British households – a third of the population – have yet to take steps to change their home energy usage. 

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1/50 21 January 2020

The sun sets behind tower cranes and the London skyline in the city financial district

PA

2/50 20 January 2020

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, speaks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson as they attend the UK-Africa Investment Summit at the Intercontinental Hotel in London. Johnson is hosting African leaders and senior government representatives along with British and African businesses during the UK-Africa Investment Summit, aimed at strengthening the UKs economic partnership with African nations

Getty

3/50 19 January 2020

Joe Root celebrates with his England team mates after taking the wicket of Rassie van der Dussen during day four of the third Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth. He took a career-best four wickets during the day’s play, which saw the home side follow on in their second innings. They trail England by 188 runs going into day five

Getty

4/50 18 January 2020

Drag queens pose on the pink carpet as they participate in the “Queen’s Walk” during RuPaul’s DragCon UK at Kensington Olympia

AFP via Getty

5/50 17 January 2020

Kitty Ross, curator of social history, is pictured reflected in a display cabinet while holding a skeleton violin from the 1880s that forms part of the Sounds of our City exhibition at the Abbey House Museum in Leeds

PA

6/50 16 January 2020

Britain’s Harry, Duke of Sussex (C), hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draw in the gardens of Buckingham Palace in London, Britain, 16 Ja​nuary 2020. The Duke, who is expected to step back from senior Royal duties, spoke with Ruby League ambassadors and children from St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School in London

EPA

7/50 15 January 2020

Vehicles negotiate the flooded B4069 road at Christian Malford in Wiltshire after the river Avon burst its banks

PA

8/50 14 January 2020

Huge waves hit the sea wall in Porthcawl, Wales, as gales of up to 80mph from Storm Brendan caused disruption around the UK

PA

9/50 13 January 2020

Puppeteers from Vision Mechanic rehearsing with Scotland’s largest puppet, a ten-metre tall sea goddess called Storm, in the grounds of the Museum of Flight, East Lothian. Made entirely from recycled materials, it was unveiled ahead of its debut at the Celtic Connections Costal Day celebrations in Glasgow this weekend

PA

10/50 12 January 2020

A windsurfer jumps in the air after hitting a wave in the sea off of West Wittering beach in West Sussex

PA

11/50 11 January 2020

Mikuru Suzuki celebrates winning the women’s championship of the BDO World Professional Darts Championships 2020 in London

PA

12/50 10 January 2020

One of seven new lion cubs at the West Midlands Safari Park in Kidderminster

PA

13/50 9 January 2020

Rawson Robinson, from Nenthead, on the Cumbria and Northumberland border clears snow from the model village he has built in his garden

PA

14/50 8 January 2020

People read messages written on the David Bowie mural in Brixton, south London, on what would have been the singer’s 73rd birthday

PA

15/50 7 January 2020

England’s Stuart Broad celebrates with teammate Ben Stokes after the dismissal of South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen during the fifth day of the second Test cricket match in Cape Town. Stokes claimed the last three wickets in the space of 14 deliveries to wrap up a 189-run win

AFP via Getty

16/50 6 January 2020

Protesters in London take part in a demonstration in support of a British woman found guilty of lying about being gang raped in Cyprus

AP

17/50 5 January 2020

Protesters demonstrate outside the US Embassy in London, after America killed Iran’s general Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport

PA

18/50 4 January 2020

Metropolitan police cordon off Charteris Road close to the junction with Lennox Road in Finsbury Park in north London, after a man was stabbed to death on Friday evening, the first murder in London in 2020

PA

19/50 3 January 2020

Protesters, holding a photograph of the leader of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran Massoud Rajavi, outside Downing Street in London after the US killed General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport. Soleimani was head of Tehran’s elite Quds Force and Iran’s top general

PA

20/50 2 January 2020

A keeper counts squirrel-monkeys at London Zoo during the annual stocktake. Caring for more than 500 different species, ZSL London Zoo’s keepers face the challenging task of tallying up every mammal, bird, reptile, fish and invertebrate at the Zoo

AP

21/50 1 January 2020

Peter Wright celebrates winning with the Sid Waddell trophy at the Darts World Championships in London. He stunned Michael van Gerwen to clinch his first title 7-3

PA

22/50 31 December 2019

Surfers at Tynemouth on the north east coast

PA

23/50 30 December 2019

Deer graze in the morning mist as cyclists ride by in Richmond Park, London

Reuters

24/50 29 December 2019

Night sky after the sunset at Whitley Bay in Northumberland

PA

25/50 28 December 2019

The Harlequins players arrive at the stadium prior to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Big Game 12 match between Harlequins and Leicester Tigers at Twickenahm Stadium

Getty Images for Harlequins

26/50 27 December 2019

A car drives through floodwater near Harbridge, north of Ringwood in Hampshire, after the river Avon burst its banks

PA

27/50 26 December 2019

Participants in the Old Surrey and West Kent Boxing Day Hunt in Chiddingstone. Hunting with horses and hounds is a Boxing Day tradition. Since the fox hunting ban in 2004, modified hunts take place using scented trails for the animals to follow

EPA

28/50 25 December 2019

Swimmers of the Serpentine Swimming Club take part in the Peter Pan Cup race, which is held every Christmas Day at the Serpentine, in central London

PA

29/50 24 December 2019

Shoppers bid for cuts of meat during a Christmas Eve auction in Smithfield market in London

EPA

30/50 23 December 2019

Reggie the dog is rescued with a boat from flooding at the Little Venice Country Park and Marina in Maidstone

AFP via Getty

31/50 22 December 2019

People gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to mark the winter solstice, and to witness the sunrise after the longest night of the year

PA

32/50 21 December 2019

Southampton’s Jack Stephens scores their second goal against Aston Villa

Reuters

33/50 20 December 2019

The coffin arrives for the funeral of London Bridge terror attack victim Jack Merritt at Great St Mary’s Church in Cambridge

PA

34/50 19 December 2019

Queen Elizabeth II and her son Prince Charles walk behind the Imperial State Crown as they proccess through the Royal Gallery, before the Queen’s Speech, during the State Opening of Parliament

AFP via Getty

35/50 18 December 2019

Luke Jerram’s art installation ‘Gaia’, a replica of planet earth created using detailed Nasa imagery of the Earth’s surface, hangs on display at the Eden Project in St Austell, Cornwall

PA

36/50 17 December 2019

A surfer gets into the festive spirit at the inland surfing lagoon at The Wave, near Bristol

PA

37/50 16 December 2019

Snowy conditions near Deepdale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park as snow hits parts of the UK

PA

38/50 15 December 2019

Oisin Carson, 5, picks a Christmas tree at Wicklow Way Christmas tree farm in Roundwood

PA

39/50 14 December 2019

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, takes a selfie as she joins the SNPs newly elected MPs for a group photo outside the V&A Museum in Dundee, Scotland

Getty Images

40/50 13 December 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds arrive back at Downing Street after the results for the general election were announced. The Conservative Party won with an overall majority

EPA

41/50 12 December 2019

A dog outside a polling station during the general election in Northumberland

Reuters

42/50 11 December 2019

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson stands between a Stop Brexit sign as she attends a general election campaign event at Esher Rugby Club, south west London. Britain will go to the polls tomorrow to vote

AFP via Getty

43/50 10 December 2019

A surfer off the North East coast at Tynemouth

PA

44/50 9 December 2019

Leah Rossiter (left) and Ceara Carney, dressed as mermaids, join members of the Irish Wildlife Trust and Extinction Rebellion Ireland protesting outside Leinster House in Dublin, against overfishing in Irish Waters

PA

45/50 8 December 2019

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn poses for selfies with supporters at a general election rally in Colwyn Bay, north Wales

AFP via Getty

46/50 7 December 2019

Speedo Mick outside the stadium before the Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park

Action Images via Reuters

47/50 6 December 2019

A climate activist wearing a mask and holding a placard reading ‘Fossil fuel era is over’ outside Millbank Studios in London

AP

48/50 5 December 2019

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon with the SNP campaign bus in front of the Queensferry Crossing, while on the General Election campaign trail in Scotland

PA

49/50 4 December 2019

The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, which is given every year by the city of Oslo as a token of Norwegian gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during the Second World War

PA

50/50 3 December 2019

Protesters against the visit of US President Trump during a demonstration near Buckingham Palace on the first day of the Nato Summit in London

EPA

1/50 21 January 2020

The sun sets behind tower cranes and the London skyline in the city financial district

PA

2/50 20 January 2020

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, speaks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson as they attend the UK-Africa Investment Summit at the Intercontinental Hotel in London. Johnson is hosting African leaders and senior government representatives along with British and African businesses during the UK-Africa Investment Summit, aimed at strengthening the UKs economic partnership with African nations

Getty

3/50 19 January 2020

Joe Root celebrates with his England team mates after taking the wicket of Rassie van der Dussen during day four of the third Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth. He took a career-best four wickets during the day’s play, which saw the home side follow on in their second innings. They trail England by 188 runs going into day five

Getty

4/50 18 January 2020

Drag queens pose on the pink carpet as they participate in the “Queen’s Walk” during RuPaul’s DragCon UK at Kensington Olympia

AFP via Getty

5/50 17 January 2020

Kitty Ross, curator of social history, is pictured reflected in a display cabinet while holding a skeleton violin from the 1880s that forms part of the Sounds of our City exhibition at the Abbey House Museum in Leeds

PA

6/50 16 January 2020

Britain’s Harry, Duke of Sussex (C), hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draw in the gardens of Buckingham Palace in London, Britain, 16 Ja​nuary 2020. The Duke, who is expected to step back from senior Royal duties, spoke with Ruby League ambassadors and children from St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School in London

EPA

7/50 15 January 2020

Vehicles negotiate the flooded B4069 road at Christian Malford in Wiltshire after the river Avon burst its banks

PA

8/50 14 January 2020

Huge waves hit the sea wall in Porthcawl, Wales, as gales of up to 80mph from Storm Brendan caused disruption around the UK

PA

9/50 13 January 2020

Puppeteers from Vision Mechanic rehearsing with Scotland’s largest puppet, a ten-metre tall sea goddess called Storm, in the grounds of the Museum of Flight, East Lothian. Made entirely from recycled materials, it was unveiled ahead of its debut at the Celtic Connections Costal Day celebrations in Glasgow this weekend

PA

10/50 12 January 2020

A windsurfer jumps in the air after hitting a wave in the sea off of West Wittering beach in West Sussex

PA

11/50 11 January 2020

Mikuru Suzuki celebrates winning the women’s championship of the BDO World Professional Darts Championships 2020 in London

PA

12/50 10 January 2020

One of seven new lion cubs at the West Midlands Safari Park in Kidderminster

PA

13/50 9 January 2020

Rawson Robinson, from Nenthead, on the Cumbria and Northumberland border clears snow from the model village he has built in his garden

PA

14/50 8 January 2020

People read messages written on the David Bowie mural in Brixton, south London, on what would have been the singer’s 73rd birthday

PA

15/50 7 January 2020

England’s Stuart Broad celebrates with teammate Ben Stokes after the dismissal of South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen during the fifth day of the second Test cricket match in Cape Town. Stokes claimed the last three wickets in the space of 14 deliveries to wrap up a 189-run win

AFP via Getty

16/50 6 January 2020

Protesters in London take part in a demonstration in support of a British woman found guilty of lying about being gang raped in Cyprus

AP

17/50 5 January 2020

Protesters demonstrate outside the US Embassy in London, after America killed Iran’s general Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport

PA

18/50 4 January 2020

Metropolitan police cordon off Charteris Road close to the junction with Lennox Road in Finsbury Park in north London, after a man was stabbed to death on Friday evening, the first murder in London in 2020

PA

19/50 3 January 2020

Protesters, holding a photograph of the leader of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran Massoud Rajavi, outside Downing Street in London after the US killed General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport. Soleimani was head of Tehran’s elite Quds Force and Iran’s top general

PA

20/50 2 January 2020

A keeper counts squirrel-monkeys at London Zoo during the annual stocktake. Caring for more than 500 different species, ZSL London Zoo’s keepers face the challenging task of tallying up every mammal, bird, reptile, fish and invertebrate at the Zoo

AP

21/50 1 January 2020

Peter Wright celebrates winning with the Sid Waddell trophy at the Darts World Championships in London. He stunned Michael van Gerwen to clinch his first title 7-3

PA

22/50 31 December 2019

Surfers at Tynemouth on the north east coast

PA

23/50 30 December 2019

Deer graze in the morning mist as cyclists ride by in Richmond Park, London

Reuters

24/50 29 December 2019

Night sky after the sunset at Whitley Bay in Northumberland

PA

25/50 28 December 2019

The Harlequins players arrive at the stadium prior to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Big Game 12 match between Harlequins and Leicester Tigers at Twickenahm Stadium

Getty Images for Harlequins

26/50 27 December 2019

A car drives through floodwater near Harbridge, north of Ringwood in Hampshire, after the river Avon burst its banks

PA

27/50 26 December 2019

Participants in the Old Surrey and West Kent Boxing Day Hunt in Chiddingstone. Hunting with horses and hounds is a Boxing Day tradition. Since the fox hunting ban in 2004, modified hunts take place using scented trails for the animals to follow

EPA

28/50 25 December 2019

Swimmers of the Serpentine Swimming Club take part in the Peter Pan Cup race, which is held every Christmas Day at the Serpentine, in central London

PA

29/50 24 December 2019

Shoppers bid for cuts of meat during a Christmas Eve auction in Smithfield market in London

EPA

30/50 23 December 2019

Reggie the dog is rescued with a boat from flooding at the Little Venice Country Park and Marina in Maidstone

AFP via Getty

31/50 22 December 2019

People gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to mark the winter solstice, and to witness the sunrise after the longest night of the year

PA

32/50 21 December 2019

Southampton’s Jack Stephens scores their second goal against Aston Villa

Reuters

33/50 20 December 2019

The coffin arrives for the funeral of London Bridge terror attack victim Jack Merritt at Great St Mary’s Church in Cambridge

PA

34/50 19 December 2019

Queen Elizabeth II and her son Prince Charles walk behind the Imperial State Crown as they proccess through the Royal Gallery, before the Queen’s Speech, during the State Opening of Parliament

AFP via Getty

35/50 18 December 2019

Luke Jerram’s art installation ‘Gaia’, a replica of planet earth created using detailed Nasa imagery of the Earth’s surface, hangs on display at the Eden Project in St Austell, Cornwall

PA

36/50 17 December 2019

A surfer gets into the festive spirit at the inland surfing lagoon at The Wave, near Bristol

PA

37/50 16 December 2019

Snowy conditions near Deepdale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park as snow hits parts of the UK

PA

38/50 15 December 2019

Oisin Carson, 5, picks a Christmas tree at Wicklow Way Christmas tree farm in Roundwood

PA

39/50 14 December 2019

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, takes a selfie as she joins the SNPs newly elected MPs for a group photo outside the V&A Museum in Dundee, Scotland

Getty Images

40/50 13 December 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds arrive back at Downing Street after the results for the general election were announced. The Conservative Party won with an overall majority

EPA

41/50 12 December 2019

A dog outside a polling station during the general election in Northumberland

Reuters

42/50 11 December 2019

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson stands between a Stop Brexit sign as she attends a general election campaign event at Esher Rugby Club, south west London. Britain will go to the polls tomorrow to vote

AFP via Getty

43/50 10 December 2019

A surfer off the North East coast at Tynemouth

PA

44/50 9 December 2019

Leah Rossiter (left) and Ceara Carney, dressed as mermaids, join members of the Irish Wildlife Trust and Extinction Rebellion Ireland protesting outside Leinster House in Dublin, against overfishing in Irish Waters

PA

45/50 8 December 2019

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn poses for selfies with supporters at a general election rally in Colwyn Bay, north Wales

AFP via Getty

46/50 7 December 2019

Speedo Mick outside the stadium before the Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park

Action Images via Reuters

47/50 6 December 2019

A climate activist wearing a mask and holding a placard reading ‘Fossil fuel era is over’ outside Millbank Studios in London

AP

48/50 5 December 2019

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon with the SNP campaign bus in front of the Queensferry Crossing, while on the General Election campaign trail in Scotland

PA

49/50 4 December 2019

The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, which is given every year by the city of Oslo as a token of Norwegian gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during the Second World War

PA

50/50 3 December 2019

Protesters against the visit of US President Trump during a demonstration near Buckingham Palace on the first day of the Nato Summit in London

EPA

The vast majority of households think small changes will make little or no difference to their finances. A third of those surveyed by the Energy Saving Trust don’t consider managing their energy use as a priority.

But they’re wrong. 

Turning your thermostat down by one degree would save households £800m and cut 3.3 million tons of carbon emissions every year. It could cut each household’s bill by £75 a year, according to separate analysis by MoneySuperMarket.

Changing all your lightbulbs to LEDs would save households £230m, and 430,000 tons of carbon emissions every year.

But that’s the conservative end of the estimates. Home energy-saving assistant Loop believes UK homeowners and renters are losing an average of £140 every year on these “phantom loads”.

Meanwhile, only using the right amount of water in your kettle would save households £1.1bn and stop 2 million tons of carbon emissions being released annually.

Elsewhere, better home insulation, for which there are numerous grants available, could save households extra cash. Cavity wall treatment can lead to a saving of £245 every year, while loft insulation could lead to a saving of £215, despite the initial outlay, says MoneySuperMarket.

Backed by Andrea Leadsom, the business and energy secretary, Big Energy Saving Week is designed to close the knowledge gap, save families money and help meet the 2050 net-zero target.

The campaign offers “20 ways to save” and points confused consumers to the Simple Energy Advice service as a source of information and support.

This year’s campaign comes at a time of already high levels of confusion over increasing energy bills by those struggling to pay them. 

Ofgem’s price cap was introduced in a bid to reduce bills but it only restricts the price your supplier can charge per kilowatt hour of energy. It doesn’t limit your total bill, which depends on how much energy you use. 

Introduced a year ago, the current limit is £1,179 a year for standard variable or default tariffs, and £1,217 for those on prepayment meters. 

But a third of bill payers don’t know the cap exists and only 5 per cent have seen their bills decrease, according to MoneySupermarket. 

“The price cap was intended to protect consumers by ensuring a ‘fair price’ for energy that would result in savings for millions of people,” says Stephen Murray, energy specialist at MoneySuperMarket. 

“Although awareness and 2019 switching levels are up, confidence in the price cap is low and our data shows that there are almost 150 tariffs that are cheaper than the cap. 

“The cap appears to have added confusion for consumers, rather than savings. Our message is clear – don’t rely on regulation to reduce your bills.”

The five cheapest deals currently available, which include several from renewable sources, are Green Network Energy’s Snow Surprise, with an average annual cost of £880, £299 lower than the cap, Energy Plus Protection Feb 2021v3 from British Gas, at an average annual cost of £885, £294 lower than the cap. 

So Energy’s So Acorn – Green – Seasonal Payments deal comes in at an average annual cost of £890, £289 lower than the cap, or Tonik Energy’s Go Green Exclusive v2 has an average annual cost of £892, £287 lower than the cap.

And Octopus Energy’s Exclusive Octopus 12M Fixed January 2020 v1 comes in at a typical annual cost of £892, £287 lower than the cap.

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