Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 617

22 SEPTEMBER 2022 1 0 News&Views Annual household energy bills are set to be capped at £2,500 when they rise next month, but the cost of gas and electricity is still going up. While no amount of domestic savviness will swerve this crisis completely, Joanna O’Loan, of the Energy Saving Trust (EST), says we can embrace changes that will help to lower our bills. “Taking a number of quick energysaving actions in the home can reduce energy use, and in turn your bills, by several hundred pounds a year, without compromising your health, wellbeing or lifestyle,” she adds. SIMPLE WAYS TO SAVE ENERGY AND MONEY The government has announced action on rising household energy prices, but that won’t absorb all the costs. So try Anna Shepard’s thrifty tips in your home In focus Cooking time l Make friends with your microwave – it beats all other cooking appliances for value for money, costing around £30 annually, compared to £316 for an electric cooker, vegans, there’s also One Pot: ThreeWays by Rachel Ama. l Don’t overfill your kettle. The UK uses the same amount of electricity for boiling kettles as it does for the entire country’s street lighting – if you’re onlymaking one cup of tea, pour amug of water into your kettle. l Use a slow cooker tomake a casserole – it uses only a littlemore energy than having a halogen lightbulb turned on, says Uswitch. Kitchen appliances l By deflu ng the coils on the back of the fridge, you could improve its e ciency by 25%, according to the EST. It’s also worth making sure that there’s a gap of at least 10cmbehind your fridge and the wall to let hot air flow away quickly. l Choose an energy-e cient fridge freezer. It’s likely to be the greediest energy-guzzling appliance in your home, responsible for around 12%of your energy bill and costing an average of £73 to run each year, which will rise to £136 next month, according to consumer organisationWhich? l Sizematters, so only buy a large appliance if you need one. Research suggests a larger model that’s e cient could cost more to run than a smaller model with lower e ciency. l Run your dishwasher only when it’s full and use ecomode, which saves between 20 to 40%of its energy use. A dishwasher uses far less hot water than washing up by hand, according to the EST. Heating your home l “Heat the human, not the home,” says Money Saving Expert founderMartin Lewis. Embrace hot water bottles, electric blankets, blankets and layered clothing. l When turning the heating on, keep it between 18ºC and 21ºC, as recommended by theWorldHealth Organisation. Dropping it by one degree can save you £100 per year, according to Uswitch. l Fit smart heating controls, thermostatic devices connected wirelessly to the internet, to control your heating by zones and also remotely. Which? estimates that a household could save at least £100 a year by using them. l Turn radiators o in rooms you’re not using, but make sure the doors of these unheated rooms are kept shut tomaximise the warmth of the heated ones. l Bleed your radiators if they are colder at the top than the bottom. If you have cold spots in the bottomof your radiator, you may need a plumber to flush the system. according to research by electricity and gas supplier Utilita Energy. l Use your oven less often, but make it multitask, says Joanna. “Heating the oven for a single pizza can prove expensive, but cooking and preparing in batches is typically a cheaper way to prepare food.” l Use a lid – a low-tech but e ective way to shorten cooking time by trapping heat. l Don’t freeze warm food – your freezer will work overtime to cool it. Reverse this logic when defrosting food, putting it in the fridge to defrost overnight. This will help keep the fridge cool so it has to work less hard. l Cook ameal in one pot to reduce preparation, cooking time and water use, due to less washing up. For inspiration, try One: Pot, Pan, Planet by Anna Jones, or Jamie Oliver’s new book, One. For Illustration: Maïté Franchi/Folioart