Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Friday, 4 January 2008

How you can save energy

Jake Ulrich, the managing director of Centrica - which owns British Gas - says it might be time for "two jumpers instead of one" after a report revealed gas prices could soar.

Britain is Europe's worst energy waster, with bad habits such as leaving appliances on standby set to cost households 11bn by 2010, a study has claimed.

But just what are the top tips for saving energy?


TVs: On average a traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) television set uses 100 watts of power when in use and about two watts on standby.

Buckingham Palace seen using an infra-red camera to detect heat emissions Picture: InfraRed Thermography

Newer LCD and plasma screens are higher users of energy, with the largest models consuming up to 400 watts when in use and about four watts on standby.

DVD players: Consumers can safely switch off most DVD players/recorders, hard disk recorders or video recorders purchased in recent years, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

They should not need to retune the devices when they are switched back on or have to contend with the dreaded flashing clock as the machines usually retain their settings.

However, manufacturers recommend that some satellite TV receivers be left in standby when not in use so they can receive updates.

Computers: It may not be practical to turn a computer on-and-off if it is to be used throughout the day.

However, the Energy Saving Trust suggests turning the monitor off when not in use. Peripherals like printers and scanners should also be turned off when not in use.

Leaving unnecessary items on standby is said to costs each household an average of 37 a year.


If chargers for devices such as mobile phones and MP3 players were unplugged when not in use, the UK could save enough electricity each year to power 115,000 homes.

Chargers are not huge energy consumers in their own right, but across the UK those left plugged in unnecessarily waste over 60m and are responsible for a quarter of a million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

If a charger feels warm when it is plugged in without being attached to a device it is still converting energy.


UK households spend 1.9bn on electricity every year for lighting. According to the Energy Saving Trust there is no truth in the belief that turning lights on causes a surge that uses up more electricity.

Energy efficient light bulbs
Switching to energy efficient light bulbs could save you money

"If you are going out of a room for half and hour, or even 10 minutes, turn the lights off," said Dr Paula Owen, of the Energy Saving Trust.

"It does not harm the electricity supply or the bulbs. There is no point in burning electricity for no reason."

If all UK households replaced one light bulb with an energy efficient one, the money saved could pay about 75,000 family fuel bills a year.


Washing clothes at 30C as opposed to 40C, uses 40% less energy and is generally as efficient, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Modern powders are designed to be more effective at lower temperatures.

Over-dependence on tumble dryers can also contribute to energy wastage.

Consumers are being encouraged to make sure they buy Energy Saving Recommended models when buying new appliances such as washing machines and fridges.


Turning the thermostat down by 1C can cut more than 10% from the average central heating bill.

Similarly, reaching for a jumper rather than turning the thermostat up when it gets really cold can be effective.

Check that your water isn't too hot. The cylinder thermostat should not need to be set higher than 60C/140F.

And dripping taps can waste enough water in a week to fill a bath.

Households with boilers over 15 years old are also advised to think about having them replaced it with a newer energy efficient model.

High efficiency condensing boilers can save a third on heating bills.

A major source of heat loss is through walls and windows so double glazing, closing curtains, cavity and loft insulation can prove to be cost-effective ways to save energy.

We asked you for your energy saving tips. Here is a selection:

I've told my two daughters, aged 10 and five, that I will give them 2p every time they switch off a light in a room that nobody seems to be using. Apart from the odd occasion when I get plunged into the dark while on the lavatory it seems to be working quite well!
Graham Senior, Byfleet

Don't overfill your kettle when doing a cuppa. Most kettles have a minimum level to fill to for safety reasons but it is often enough for making two cups.
Robin C, Leeds

Delay the need for turning on the heating by wearing more clothing - in layers not necessarily thicker clothing.
Sir Patrick Cable-Alexander, Worthing

It took years, but convincing my wife that it does not take 1.5 litres of water in the kettle to make one cup of tea has saved us a lot.
Dave Stewart, Osnabruck, Germany

I have just moved into a new flat where the electricity meter is really accessible. I can't help but look at it every now and then to see how fast it is spinning - the dishwasher uses loads of electricity which was surprising and the lights in our dining room make it spin faster than the heater does!
Jake Phillips, Edinburgh

I'm annoyed that some manufacturers do not allow you to turn off their devices. For example, my TV has no off switch. It has to be in standby. The wall socket is behind a wall unit so I cannot get to it.
Kevin Rogers, London

Turn off mobile phones overnight so you have to charge them less often.
Rachel Bower, Edinburgh

Adding loft insulation, and taking the heating down by three degrees has saved 20% on heating bills for us.
Rob F, London

What difference does me turning a light off make when a stroll around any large city at night reveals acres of empty buildings lit up against the night sky? It is industry that should lead the way, not individuals.
Lisa Jenkins, Manningtree

If you use a water immersion heater to heat your water, ensure that you keep it off at every available opportunity. Water immersion heaters are massive electricity guzzlers
Mehtab Ghazi Rahman, London

This is utter rubbish. Why do they try to tell the man in the street to save energy retail stores have every TV in the store on.
Agnes Clark, Kilwinning Ayrshire

I often fill the kettle up in the morning, then transfer all the hot water over to a vacuum flask. I have found that it can save you putting the kettle on up three to four times.
Damien Read, Neath, West Glamorgan

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