With two years of turmoil behind us due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and an unfortunately bleak outlook for the immediate future due to the war in Ukraine and other extenuating circumstances, energy costs are currently at an all-time high. Latest forecasts show that this trend is likely to continue for at least the next 6 months, so it will continue to be an extremely trying time for households across Ireland. We await the Government’s announcement on any mitigation they may be able to put in place, however, at this moment in time it looks like the onus is on us as a population to reduce our own personal energy costs where we can.
It is with this in mind that we have put together this brief guide to reducing energy costs in the home, which we hope you find useful until things settle down again. The team here at Croí Laighean Credit union is aware that many in our community will be feeling the pinch over the next number of months, so we welcome you to contact us at any time to discuss your financial planning.
Due to the current climate, there may not be huge savings when it comes to changing suppliers, however, there are still some deals out there that are worth checking out. Explore the many supplier options on the market and take advantage of new customer offers, which can sometimes offer you free credit upon signing up. Pay particular attention to their rates before you sign any contracts, you don’t want to be jumping in at the deep end for free credit only to find out that their unit rates are substantially higher than your current supplier. A good place to start is by comparing the various rates on bonkers.ie or switcher.ie. To get the best rate, make sure you know what tariff or plan you are currently using, and if possible, how much you spend annually, or how many units (kwh) you use annually.
Smart meters are devices that can be installed to assist with reducing your energy costs in the home. The newest smart meters will allow you to track your spending in detail and even show you which of your home appliances is using the most power. This knowledge goes a long way and will allow you to budget for bill payments as well as alter your everyday routine to make savings. For example, if your smart meter is telling you that your washing machine is using a lot of electricity during the day, you can check with your energy provider to see if they offer off-peak rates and then adjust your patterns accordingly.
Before opting to install a smart meter, always check the tariff to ensure you are getting the best deal.
Some providers charge a higher rate on their smart meter tariffs and it may be better to consider a day/night rate instead. Another alternative is to install an electricity monitor – this will allow you to monitor your electricity usage without changing your meter.
LED light bulbs use up to 85% less electricity than traditional light bulbs and 95% of that energy is converted to light with only 5% wasted as heat. Not only does that energy efficiency save money on your bills, but it also reduces your impact on the environment. They are also mercury free, making them more environmentally friendly all around.
Did you know that you can insulate your windows rather than replace them? For those of you who may not be in a position to invest in new double or triple-glazed windows, consider adding insulating film for a low cost. This simple and affordable solution can save you up to 10% on heating costs and will keep your home free from draughts at all times of the year. If you are in a position to replace your windows, this is a really strong investment that will save you even more money.
Insulating your Front Door:
Without a doubt, one of the most effective things you can do in your home to save energy is to protect your front door from draughts. If you are in a position to replace your old door with a new, more modern insulated door, then this should be one of the first things you should do in your home. For many, this will not be an option, however, there are a number of easy solutions you can use that will offer the same result. Tackle areas of the door that are prone to heat loss, this will include letterboxes, glass panes, keyholes, and the outer edges of the door. With a range of different products on the market, all at an affordable price, you can use keyhole covers, letterbox brushes, draft excluders and insulating film. By doing the work yourself, you can further cut costs and know that you have provided your household with an invaluable service.
By changing your existing shower to an eco-shower, you can enjoy the luxury of a high-powered shower and save on water usage. Modern eco-showers have been specifically designed to use less water and less power than traditional power showers, meaning you cut down on the amount of water you use and the electricity used to power the shower, without ever sacrificing the power shower experience.
When it comes to replacing old appliances in your home, you will no doubt be looking for an affordable option that also cuts down on energy usage. Search for A-rated appliances with low kWh usage, now widely available on the Irish market. Did you know for example, that the average kettle, toaster, or iron uses 2.5kWh of electricity, whilst a fridge freezer will only use .18kWh? It’s important to shop around and always ensure your supplier collects your old appliance when delivering, as per your entitlements under the WEEE scheme.
One of the most effective things we can do as a household to reduce your energy costs is to switch off and unplug any appliances that are not in use. Did you know that you can save almost €20 per year, per tv and per game console simply by switching the item off rather than leaving it on standby? Switch off lights around the home when a room is not being used, make sure you shut down the TV at night and switch it off fully, and alter timers on items that work on smart mode to cut down on energy costs further.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland offers a range of grants to homeowners right across Ireland. Of these grants, the most popular to be the home retrofit grant, which can provide you with up to 50% of the costs associated with retrofitting your home.
If you’re interested in improving your home’s energy efficiency, the Croí Laighean Credit Union Green Loan is available to all members to help make energy-saving home improvements at a low rate of 6% (6.17% APR). These improvements include:
- Insulating your home, from attic and cavity walls through to drylining and external wall cladding.
- Heating your home with new state-of-the-art heat pumps, solar panels, and smart heating controls.
- General upgrades to your home that work to reduce energy consumption, including but not limited to, the installation of new windows and doors, as well as solar and battery-operated devices.
To find out more, please visit our Green Loan page