Power Down! – Saving energy and tackling fuel poverty
A first step is to commit to saving! Check your energy bill and resolve to cut your energy use by 10% – and get everyone in your household involved. This page provides more detailed advice on ways to save energy in your home, whether you own it or rent. It covers:
- Saving energy now – lots of practical advice – find the tips and ideas that work for you
- Financial support and advice. There are limited sources of help and advice for people who are facing hardship and cannoy pay bills – this is mostly for people receiving state benefits. These vary from place to place.
- Bigger actions for the right time Homeowners can save more energy by investing in more extensive measures.
Saving energy now
There are many sources of advice. These are ones that we have looked at and feel are clear and helpful.
https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/hub/quick-tips-to-save-energy/ includes a costs chart
Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE): They offer Home Energy Advice: A comprehensive set of briefing sheets for home owners or occupiers covering a range of topics including your electricity supply, insulation and ventilation, heating and hot water, and renewable energy technologies. Go to: https://www.cse.org.uk/advice/advice-and-support
People often ask how much particular appliances cost to run: see the ‘How much electricity am I using’ chart for some answers: https://www.cse.org.uk/advice/advice-and-support/how-much-electricity-am-i-using
The BBC have some very useful guides, videos and articles – this is a good starting point: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-63080673
Energy Works: A programme run by national charity Groundwork UK – they have some very practical advice guides –Tips and Advice
Local support and advice
Oxfordshire has some excellent local organisations offering help and advice. (We’re happy to add more here – please contact us via climate(at)oxfoe.co.uk). These include:
Better Housing Better Health offers practical help and guidance to Oxfordshire residents. It is a free service, supported by Oxfordshire County Council, that provides a single point of contact for expert advice to improve the energy efficiency of your home, reduce energy consumption, manage energy bills and give you better home comfort.
Some Oxfordshire residents can also benefit from a free home visit from a trained advisor. Find out more at: Free helpline 0800 107 0044 or www.bhbh.org.uk
For simple ‘quick wins’ on saving energy see: https://www.bhbh.org.uk/10-quick-wins-to-save-energy/
More information on understanding Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) at: https://www.bhbh.org.uk/understanding-your-epc/
Practical draught-proofing guidance is at: https://www.bhbh.org.uk/diy-draught-proofing-a-guide-to-bill-lowering-house-warming-and-comfort-level-rising/
Low Carbon Oxford North (LCON) has produced 6 guides to home improvements as part of its Housewarming initiative. This aims to help homeowners prepare their homes to meet net zero targets, phase out fossil fuels and cut down energy use. Written by local experts, these guides cover: Taking Stock; Insulation; Windows and Doors; Draughts and ventilation; Heating and Controls, and Whole House Plans. More details and download at: https://lcon.org.uk/energy/housewarming/
Energy Saving Homes Bite-Size Films – from Communities for a Zero Carbon Oxford. These are short 2-4 minute films showcasing practical measures taken by some residents in their homes. Topics: low cost measures; air source heat pumps; solar PV and storage; insulation; help with funding and opportunities for contractors. Watch them at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGxkRekri28
Low Carbon West Oxford (LCWO) have been offering advice on saving energy for over 10 years and have some excellent advice materials based on their experience. Find it all here: https://www.lowcarbonwestoxford.org.uk/energy-use-at-home/
Financial support: getting help
Many people are finding it hard to pay their bills. There is some financial support available although most of it is for people receiving state benefits or older people.
An information leaflet with all the sources of financial advice (including grants and loans) that we can find including local councils is here.
National Energy Action is the UK’s leading fuel poverty charity. www.nea.org.uk This poster is a reminder of no cost/low cost measures which can save households money: https://twitter.com/NEA_NIreland/status/1577382772896894989/photo/1
Age UK’s Benefits Calculator will provide an estimate of what benefits you could be entitled to. The calculator is free to use and the details you provide are anonymous: https://benefitscheck.ageuk.org.uk/home/start
Bigger actions for the right time
We can save more energy by investing in more extensive measures. In the longer term our homes all need to be ‘zero carbon’. Energy waste will be cut out, meaning we spend less on the energy we use.
When you are ready to do home improvements, make the green choices:
• Increase insulation on walls and under floors as well as in the loft
• Install double or triple glazed windows and doors
• Move away from gas, oil and wood-burners to a low carbon ‘heat pump’
• Install solar panels to generate your own electricity.
Find out about and energy home surveys available in your local area – for more information for home owners Cosy Homes Oxfordshire is ‘a one-stop home retrofit service, making it simple to make energy efficiency improvements to homes in Oxfordshire’