Sunday 15 December 2013

How Larger Families Can Achieve Smaller Energy Bills

With the rise in the price of energy that has been in the news recently, many UK households are feeling a squeeze on their purses. There are some ways of avoiding the price-rise in the immediate future, such as by changing to a company that offers a fixed rate until a specific date or simply offers cheap energy prices. In the long run, however, it’s a good idea to start changing your habits to avoid paying for energy that you don’t really need to use. Keeping costs down can be a particular challenge for large families, but there are several ways of making sure your household is as energy-efficient as possible.
Share and share alike

The cost of running baths for several children can be astronomical, but if they’re small, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t share and if they’re too old for that then it’s usually the case that the water will be reusable. Obviously, nobody will want to go into a bath that’s been used by a muddy footballer, so it makes sense to let that child go second. There is a theory that showers are a more energy-efficient method of getting clean, but with power showers that isn’t necessarily the case and it’s almost certainly more economical to share bathwater than for two or three people to shower. The kitchen is another area prone to waste. The BBC reports that an estimated
£68 million is wasted each year by overfilling kettles, and in a big family, you are likely to waste more than a smaller household would. Make a rule in your house that if somebody is making a cup of tea, they check whether anyone else wants one at the same time. They should then only fill the kettle with enough water for the right amount of cups. Not only will this prevent numerous episodes of the kettle boiling, possibly with a waste of energy every time, but it also encourages your family to be thoughtful.
Form good habits

As soon as your children are old enough to turn on a light, they are old enough to turn off a light, or a switch, for that matter! Help them to understand the high cost of leaving things turned on unnecessarily.
A report from The Guardian suggests that a considerable amount of energy is wasted by the use of ‘standby’ rather than switching off appliances. When a room is empty, it doesn’t need a light, so tell your children to switch off lights as they leave a room. If they are playing on a games console and it’s time to eat dinner or to do homework, the game should be saved and switched off, not left ready to be taken up again as soon as they finish their other task. Good habits formed as children will help them to live an energy-efficient life and they will, one day, be glad you had the sense to teach them to do these things.

Everything that a small household can do to save energy can be done by a large household. Things like closing the curtains in the bedrooms to keep heat in apply to a four-bedroomed house as much as a two-bedroomed one and anybody can fit room thermostats to control the temperature more efficiently. But the advantages that a large family have over a small one are that there are more people to encourage and remind each other and, of course, there are more of you to cuddle up to for warmth.

This is a guest post.