What has our energy use at home got to do with climate change?

Jess Wiles Hubbub

Environmental charity Hubbub is working with Craven District Council to help residents reduce their energy consumption at home and save money this winter. Jess from the charity, explains how and why getting savvy with your energy bills can help do your bit to tackle climate change.

A huge 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from energy used to heat and power our homes. And while the amount of renewable energy in the energy grid is increasing all the time, there is still a big reliance on fossil fuels like oil and gas to provide this power. Fossil fuels produce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change and damage our communities and economy in Yorkshire, through flooding and high summer temperatures.

Craven District Council is taking big steps to reduce their energy demand and generate their own energy. With a £1.2 million fund from the European Regional Development Fund they are cutting costs, carbon and making seven public buildings fit for the future by measures such as installing new insulation and solar panels. Yet the Council’s buildings only create a small fraction of emissions in Craven – a quarter come from our homes.

Many of us live in draughty, energy-inefficient homes in the UK, especially in Craven with our beautiful but older housing stock. This means that heat can go to waste and with all our devices and dark winters, we use a lot of electricity too. That’s why the Council has teamed up with Hubbub to support you in being savvy with your energy at home, so we can all help protect our communities from climate change and save some money in the process. Here we help you get to grips with your bill and to see how you compare to others.

One way to get to grips with your energy bill is to use your smart meter. Experiment by switching appliances off one at a time to see what uses the most. You can ask your energy supplier for a smart meter for free and if you can’t get one, you can try out other energy saving assistants such as Loop. We’re offering two Loop systems as prizes for anyone who is willing to showcase how they have reduced their energy use at home – email craven@hubbub.org.uk for more information.

Cutting energy use doesn’t mean getting rid of the essentials – it’s about getting rid of waste. So where does energy go in our home?

Heating and hot water accounts for over half of your energy bill. Did you know that £1 in every £4 spent on heating bills is wasted? We waste large amounts of energy on heating due to poorly insulated and draughty properties; 25% of heat in a house is lost through uninsulated roofs! Use your timer settings to only heat when needed and keep the heat in by shutting doors and curtains. Stay tuned for more tips on insulating your home.

Lighting is another big energy burner, we know it gets dark on the Dales, but those lightbulbs might be costing you (and the environment) a pretty penny – lighting accounts for around 15% of the average bill. Switching to LED bulbs can save 40kg CO2 a year – the equivalent of driving around 140 miles!

Electrical Appliances are the last big culprit that guzzles energy. Washing machines, dishwashers and consumer electronics like TVs and laptops use the most. Using eco settings and turning devices off standby can seem small can cut this down. When buying new, look for an A+ rating for a lower carbon impact and to save money in the long run.

Gas and electricity prices are also going up this year, so trying to keep your bills down might be playing on your mind more than usual. Getting to grips with your bill is the first step to getting in control and you might be surprised what you find out.

Do you have an energy question you’d like answering? Email craven@hubbub.org.uk or call 0203 701 7543 and they’ll answer them in future articles in the Craven Herald (some of which will also be featured on this ACE web site).

If you have energy debts or are worried about your energy bills this winter, phone Warm and Well on 01609 767555 or go online at https://warmandwell.org.uk/Referral-Form .

Sections of this article was featured in the Craven Herald (page 30 – Dales Life) on 18 November.

Also see: https://www.cravenherald.co.uk/news/national/19707211.government-sending-energy-customers-damaging-message-switching-tariffs/



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