Going Green - Making savings on rising bills using a smart energy meter
Latest article from Angela Terry
Latest article from Angela Terry
Green Green campaigner and consumer expert, Angela Terry, separates climate change facts from fiction and here she explains how you can take simple, practical steps to help save the planet. Follow @ouronehome & visit https://onehome.org.uk/ for more advice.
Q: Can my smart meter help me save money on my bills?
It can help you keep on top of your energy use.
In itself, it can’t cut your bills, but it provides you with a great tool to understand where and when you can reduce your energy consumption.
Knowledge is power!
Here’s the lowdown ...
What is a smart meter?
Smart meters measure exactly how much gas and electricity you’re using and transmit this information to your energy supplier via a remote connection.
They mean you are only paying for the actual energy you’ve used rather than an estimate.
More than 40 per cent of all domestic and small business meters are now smart.
Every home and office in England, Scotland and Wales will have been offered one for free by mid-2025.
Second generation smart meters are compatible with any supplier so you can still switch your provider.
Smart meters can help you reduce your energy consumption, save money and lower your carbon footprint.
Using the info from your smart meter, you can make savings around your home.
For example, you can identify times and situations when you’re using more energy.
This can help you work out which appliances are using up energy unnecessarily, such as computers or televisions on standby.
You could also work out how much energy your washing machine saves by switching to eco mode or line drying instead of tumble drying.
To get the most out of your smart meter, it pays to get to know your in-home display (IHD), the small screen that shows your energy usage.
It lets you know your energy consumption in terms of kilowatt-hours (kWh) and pounds and pence.
On most displays, you can choose to see this data as daily, weekly or monthly.
You can also see real-time data, allowing you to work out the energy consumption of particular appliances.
Some meters show energy usage in graph form, so you can see peaks and troughs over time.
Finally, you can use the display to check if your spending is higher than usual, as it shows historic consumption.
Having a smart meter will allow you to take advantage of ‘time of use’ tariffs, meaning it will cost you less to use energy at off-peak times.
You might even get paid to use electricity, for example on a windy day, when there’s a lot of energy generated by wind farms.
We’re already starting to see some of these tariffs, such as Agile Octopus from Octopus Energy.
Former Manchester United footballer Chris Smalling has launched a venture capital fund to invest in eco-friendly start-ups.
He wants to attract other high-profile figures to back the planet with him. Called ‘ForGood, his fund will invest between £50,000 and £1 million in companies that are “addressing the world’s largest environmental challenges, such as climate change”.
Currently signed to Roma, Smalling is known to follow a plant-based diet and previously invested in vegan food company Heura.
Shop online instead of driving to supermarkets.
Surveys show online shopping brings significant environmental benefits.
On average online shopping generates 36 per cent less emissions than visits to stores, even factoring in packaging and percentage of returns.
Top tips to enjoy eco-friendly camping holidays
Camping is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors.
However, it’s best to tread lightly on your environment when staying under canvas.
Here are some tips ...
The UK is full of beautiful places.
There’s no need to max out your carbon footprint by driving for days.
Also, try and keep car trips to a minimum while you’re there.
Some campsites are close to bus or railway stations.
Traveling by public transport also helps with soaring petrol prices.
Rent a tent
We’ve all seen the terrible pictures after festivals when many people have left their tents behind.
While some tents may be cheap, they are not disposable items.
At the same time, buying lots of camping equipment and then storing it in the garage most of the year makes no environmental or financial sense either.
If you don’t have the space at home to store bulky equipment, why not try renting?
You can rent tents and equipment online from Ibex Camping, Contented Camping or Outdoor Hire.
They will courier your items to you. Or ask a friend to borrow theirs.
Choose a green campsite
It’s a great idea to choose an eco-friendly campsite.
The Greener Camping Club has an online directory of low-impact, small, quiet campsites that are gentle on the environment. Campsites.co.uk also offers 215 eco campsites that put nature at the heart of what they do.
Please try to avoid disposable barbecues.
Campfires can be fun, but they’re not really all that efficient when it comes to cooking.
What’s more, they are increasingly dangerous as catalysts for forest fires.
This is why many campsites do not allow disposable barbecues, so do please follow the rules.
You can now buy small wood burning camping stoves that can be run on handfuls of wood and also on pinecones and grass.
Decathlon’s Quechua camping stove costs around £60, while German brand Bushcraft Essentials offer a fold-up Bushbox for approximately £30.
BioLite offers a wood-burning camping stove, £175, that also has a USB port, so you can use it to charge your mobile.
Leave the place as you found it by taking away all your rubbish.
The trick is to bring as little disposable things as possible.
Many campsites offer recycling and composting facilities so it’s good to separate out your waste or take it to a local council facility.
Fact or fiction
Idling your car engine causes air pollution.
Air pollution causes 36,000 premature deaths annually in UK. Main cause is road traffic fumes.
Switch off your car, especially near schools. Causes less emissions to turn it off and back on.
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