• Energy efficient lighting

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    Updating your lighting can be an easy win to help you lower your electricity bills and your household’s carbon footprint.

    According to the Energy Saving Trust, lighting makes up 11 per cent of the average UK household electricity consumption, so spending some time making some small changes now could save you in the long run.

    The traditional or incandescent lights bulbs are particularly inefficient and only about five per cent of the electricity they use converts into visible light. Switching one 100 watt incandescent bulb to a Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulb could save you up to £15 per bulb per year.

    Halogen light bulbs are also fairly inefficient and switching a 50 watt halogen bulb could save you up to £6 per bulb.

    Lots of experts now recommend that households should consider installing LED bulbs in the home. LEDs use just a fraction of electricity, compared to incandescent or halogen bulbs, and typically cost only around 1p to run for four hours. They have come a long way since they were first introduced and now are much brighter than they used to be.

    Updating your lighting is fairly inexpensive and is a simple switch you can make yourself, however if not confident please seek advice. If you can afford to, it is worth making the switch straightaway, rather than waiting for your old light bulbs to run out, so that you start making those savings on your electricity bill straight away. Alternatively, plan to buy a few bulbs every month or two to spread the cost.

    There are several guides on choosing the right low energy light bulbs to help you get started.

    Other things you can do to reduce your lighting bill

    • Turn the lights off in rooms you’re not using.
    • Use light rather than dark lamp shades to help distribute the light more in your room. This will mean you can lower the power of the bulbs you are using or use fewer lights in a room.
    • Use sensors or timers on external lights, so they are only on when they need to be.

  • How to stay cool whilst saving energy

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    As weather patterns are changing and the summers are getting hotter, we can find ourselves turning to fans and air conditioning to keep cool. These can use lots of energy, and add to our household bills. The good news is that there are many things we can do to keep temperatures cool, without using lots of energy.

    Here are some simple tips to reduce the temperature, help you save energy, and keep your household bills down over the summer.

    Keep doors and curtains closed

    Keeping the sun out, keeps the heat out. Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler. Shutting doors and curtains stops the flow of hot, humid air from heating your home, as well as blocking sunlight, which helps keep temperatures cooler throughout the day.

    Know when opening windows will cool down your house

    Although opening windows sounds like a quick and easy solution to cool down your house, it can have the opposite effect. If you open windows during hot periods of the day, the indoor temperature will rise to the temperature outdoors. But, having your windows open in the morning and evening will bring cool air in, cooling the indoor temperature.

    Drink plenty of cool drinks

    Having frozen or refrigerated drinks is an easy way to reduce your body temperature. It will keep you feeling refreshed, and make the heat more bearable on hot days. Regular intake of fluids can help to prevent dehydration, which can increase body heat.

    Remember to keep smoothies and fruit juices to a minimum, due to their high sugar content. And limiting alcohol, which can cause dehydration, is another helpful tip.

    Take a quick cool shower

    Taking a quick cool shower can be instantly refreshing, and many people feel reenergised after them.

    Alternatively, use a bowl of cold water and a face cloth to dab your neck and face throughout the day. Or, try freezing a water bottle and using it as a cooling pad when you're really hot.

    Dress appropriately

    Wear loose, breathable clothing, such as cotton - you can move in this fabric more freely, and it can be layered in the cooler evenings. If you're heading out in the day, remember to take a hat to help you keep cool, and prevent burning.

    Use your fan more efficiently

    If the heat gets so hot that you feel you need to turn a fan on, these tips will help you get the most out of it.

    • Put the fan on the ground, tilted upwards. It is cooler lower down, so you’ll get the best effect.
    • Place a bowl of ice in front of the fan - the ice will cool the air as it gets blown across the room.
    • Fans don’t cool a room; they just circulate the air. So, be sure to turn the fan off whenever you aren’t in the room.
    • Power it with renewables if you can. This will really help keep your carbon footprint down.

    Get the most out of your air conditioning

    If you're in an air-conditioned building, make sure you're using the air conditioning effectively by closing the windows, so the cool air produced remains in the room. Air conditioners use a lot of energy, so make sure you turn it off when you aren’t using the room it is cooling. Keeping the windows and curtains closed in that room will also help to keep the room cool for as long as possible.

    Keep cool when out driving

    If you're driving slowly, as you would through a town or built-up area, opening windows will keep you cool. It's also good to do this when you're first moving off - it will help to lose the worst of the heat. But, when you're going faster, such as on a motorway, the wind resistance created by an open window can use more fuel than running the car's air conditioning. When parked up, try to pick a shady spot or pop a windscreen sun shade on your dashboard to reflect the sun’s heat, and pull down any window sun shades.

    Hopefully, these tips will provide some relief during hot periods this summer. Remember to take breaks throughout the day and get outside, in the shade when you can, to enjoy any outdoor breeze there may be.

    During heat waves and hot periods, remember to check on more vulnerable members of your family, friends and neighbours, such as babies, children and older people, to make sure they are comfortable and well hydrated. Visit the NHS website(External link) for more tips on how to cope in hot weather.

    You can find some helpful information on HSE's website, relating to temperature(External link), heat stress(External link), managing workplace temperature(External link), and thermal comfort(External link).

    Also, the UK Health Security agency has issued a poster, which shows how you can Beat the heat(External link), at a glance.

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