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What if there was a 5-a-day for energy?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Energy Bills, Energy efficiency, Saving energy

Sam Kennedy, Head of Consumer Demand and Products Policy, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

How much thought do you put into saving energy in your home?

Our recent survey shows that three-quarters of people give it a lot or a fair amount of thought.

To really tackle this, it’s critical that people make material improvements to their homes (for example through Green Deal) but it’s important to think about how people act in their homes too.

When we scratch a little deeper, it’s clear people don’t always have a thorough understanding of which appliances use the most energy in their home and what they can do to save energy and money.

There are also lot of myths at play. For example 38 per cent of people think leaving the heating on low constantly is better than turning the heating on and off and 52 per cent would turn up the thermostat when it’s cold outside – both are not efficient ways to heat a home.

Changing attitudes and behaviours regarding energy use is a big challenge. The biggest potential lies in helping people to take control of their heating. We recommend setting your heating somewhere between 18 and 21 degrees to make sure you are warm, comfortable and healthly.

But we know heating controls aren’t easy – when did you last look at yours? We are working with industry to drive innovation in heating controls to make this easier for everyone.

One idea that we are also looking at is “borrowed” from another government department. Most of us know the principle for eating five pieces of fruit and vegetables per day – what if there was an equivalent for energy saving in the home? Easy things that everyone can do without spending any money!

Our research team took a look at the idea and found five simple actions that could save people up to £100 per year:

  • Turn off radiators in unused rooms
  • Always use the dishwasher on eco settings
  • Dry clothes naturally rather than tumble dry
  • Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need
  • Switch off lights and electrical appliances when not in use.

This is not a definitive list and, of course, habits differ from household to household. But we think this idea is worth floating to see if it gets people thinking and talking about energy use in the home.

You can join in the conversation on or on Twitter using the hashtag #energy5aday.

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  1. Comment by DR E ROBERTS posted on

    You mention Green Deal, but this is a minefield of new companies jumping on bandwagon. They are only familiar with a small range of products and try to make your house fit what they know. Doesn't seem to be a lot of experience out there - and the odd, more established eco company can't be enticed to visit our old, stone built, oil-burning property because they're rushed off their feet. Have paid £150 for GDA, basically to be told can't be changed without great deal of expense - though as every "expert" (fresh out of college) contradicts every other "expert" we're really non the wiser.
    Latest was ASHP supplier whose rep talked without drawing breath down the phone to me for half an hour and told me we would need 2 16kW ASHPs and it would be more economical to heat house constantly, day and night, then wanted £100 for site visit.
    Very frustrating and confusing. Could you not have put a bit more training in place prior to rolling out green deal?

  2. Comment by John Hobday-Pepper posted on

    Great idea! My thoughts -
    Turn off radiators in unused rooms and close the door(s)
    Always use the dishwasher & washing machine on eco settings - and fill to maximise machine capacity if possible
    If your home has an unused fireplace and the chimney has a suitable rain cap/cowl - fit a chimney ballon or umbrella ('Chimella') in a lot of properties this would save more than switching off unused appliances

  3. Comment by Christopher Lee posted on

    2nd: not always very effective; you may then need to wash the dishes by hand.
    3rd: hanging out the washing is banned in some places & it might freeze.
    4th & 5th: doesn't matter so much when heating is on.
    5th: eco fluorescent lights may not like that.

  4. Comment by PCAH posted on

    Here's my five-a-day to save energy costs.
    Shut down nuclear
    No new nuclear build
    Invest in onshore wind and solar
    Invest in the European super Grid
    Prevent cancer and huge costs to the NHS by cutting nuclear radiation emissions to NIL.

  5. Comment by lee cattermole posted on

    like the idea, although I would suggest; turn radiators to low in unused rooms. This could help to avoid mold/damp issues occurring.