Tenants: how to cut your energy usage
There is no shortage of online energy guides detailing how to reduce energy consumption and lower fuel bills but much of the advice is aimed at homeowners. While installing solar panels, air source heat pumps and cavity wall insulation are good ideas, they aren’t the sort of home improvements tenants are always able to make.
That doesn’t mean renters can’t reduce the amount of energy they are using. There are a number of easy-to-implement – and allowable – changes designed to reduce consumption and here are some of the easiest to implement:-
- Small appliances: lots of small appliances left on standby can drain a surprising amount of energy. Be mindful of phone chargers, Alexas and anything with a small, red, glowing dot. If it’s not in use, unplug it from the wall. Your kettle could also be costing you – only boiling the amount of water you need will reduce how much energy is used.
- Lighting: a simple swap from conventional lightbulbs to LED versions will help reduce energy usage, as will switching lights off when you leave a room.
- Fridges: a fridge will work harder and use more energy when its internal temperature rises, so avoid leaving the door open and ensure hot food has cooled completely before refrigerating it. You can also help your fridge stay cool by using it to slowly defrost food.
- Washing machines: wash only when you have a full load to minimise the amount of times the machine runs and choose the shortest programme for the condition of your clothes. Reducing the water’s temperature from 40° to 30° will also reduce energy consumption and today’s modern detergents are designed to work at lower temperatures.
- Dishwashers: like washing machines, these should only be run when full and on the shortest, coolest programme that will still efficiently clean your crockery and utensils. If washing up by hand, fill a small washing up bowl instead of an entire sink.
- Bathing: a shower will use less hot water than a bath, so don’t be tempted to regularly fill the tub. Make extra savings by reducing the duration of your shower and opt for a water-saving shower head.
- Boilers: if you have a condensing boiler, turning down the flow temperature (and the hot water temperature if there’s a separate dial) can save the average household £112 on their gas bill. This guide to changing boiler settings explains the process.
- Central heating: turning your thermostat down by just one degree can reduce your heating bill by as much as 10%, while turning thermostatic radiator valves down in unused rooms will also help. If you have a habit of leaving the heating on all day, try programming the system so it comes on at intervals.
- Draughts: a stream of cold air around door frames and window sills indicates a tiny gap but this can be blocked by using draught proofing strips and draught excluders. If you have an open fire, you can stop warm air from being sucked up the chimney by using a special balloon, which is easy to deflate when you want to light a fire.
Want to make major energy-saving changes?
Renters who are really keen on cutting their carbon emissions and reducing energy consumption can make a request to their landlord to make their own improvements. It’s actually a right documented by the Government in Part Two of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.
The document states: ‘The tenants’ energy efficiency improvements provisions mean that, subject to certain requirements and exemptions, from 1 April 2016, where a tenant requests their landlord’s consent to making energy efficiency improvements to the landlord’s property, the landlord may not unreasonably refuse consent.’
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (Part 1, Chapter 7, Section 52) gives every private sector tenant a very similar right.
Tenants should be aware that requests of this nature are not always permitted and all costs are expected to be borne by the renter. If this is an idea you’d like to pursue, please contact our lettings team today.
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