Though a necessity for a comfortable life, energy is one of the most boring things I spend money on. Much like car tyres (snooze) and dishwasher salt (yawn), there’s something so horribly grown-up about flashing cash on the things that neither look pretty or taste good. And energy, though it heats my radiators and lights up my house, falls firmly into this camp.
I learned how expensive energy is the hard way, I’m sure the way most of us figure it out. It was in my very first house living with my very first boyfriend, shivering away in a badly insulated house in a chilly northern winter. As one who is not a fan of scratchy wool jumpers and layer upon layer of clothes, every day I’d crank up the thermostat to a tropical 23 and would enjoy the ambient heat of those gloriously hot radiators.
Until that first energy bill landed on the welcome mat. I’d spent a massive amount on heating that first month and, on a modest hourly wage provided by a city centre pizza bar, I was horrified. Do you know how many sticky Mai Tais I’d have to make to cover that heating bill?! More than I’d want to, that’s for sure.
Ever since then I’ve been really aware of the energy I spend money on, as to be honest I’d much rather buy shoes and delicious food than something I can’t actually see.
If only energy came in the form of sweet smelling flowers or Ryan Gosling I’d have no trouble directing all my spends towards it.
As we creep slowly towards winter (again, yawn) my friends at British Gas® have asked me to share some of my best energy saving tips. British Gas® are one of the nation’s leading energy suppliers so you could say they know a thing or two about energy.
British Gas® – and me – know that many people waste energy without realising it. Which is why they’ve introduced smart meters to help their customers keep an eye on what they’re spending and where.
I’ve used smart meters at home for a little while and find it a fascinating way to keep an eye on what I’m spending energy-wise: much easier than waiting for the bill to drop through the letterbox after a month huddling in front of a radiator.
Smart meters come with a free smart energy monitor, which uses a traffic light system so you’re able to keep an eye on what you’re spending. Green means good, you’re not using too much energy, whereas red appears when a lot is being consumed, for example when the electricity-munching tumble dryer is on. Being able to see this in real time has really affected how I use the energy in our home: I hang out washing through til November now (I’d rather the washing outside than consuming my pounds!) and I am very careful to only fill the kettle as full as I need it.
Having such a visual representation also affects how and why I use my heating thermostat. I’ve needed to sort it out for ages – the heating would always pop on at random times like at a sweat-inducing 4am, and I couldn’t be arsed to work out how to change it – but waking up and seeing how much money that has cost me overnight gave me the nudge to set sensible heating parameters and utilise our cheaper wood burning stove where possible.
I also find smart meters makes me quite competitive with myself. Spend a certain amount on energy in one day? I must get it down for the next ;) When you spend your days working at home in the company of a 5 and a 7 year old you get your kicks where you can.
Lastly, my favourite benefit of smart meters: no more meter readings. Back in the day I’d stress myself out no end over having my meter read. Whenever the man from British Gas came round I’d have a mental block, completely forgetting where on earth it was located. Every single time. And if anyone asked me to read it myself? No chance. Too many numbers, too many dots, too many options. Give me an easy-to-read digital device any time.
How do you like to save energy in the home?
Huge thanks to British Gas® for working with and supporting MTT