Homes & Interiors

5 top tips for an eco-friendly home space

Save money, energy and stay kind to the planet with these hacks

Switch off standby

On average, British homes leave at least ten unused items switched on at any one-time, continuing to use electricity which could be saved by simply remembering to switch off or unplug.

Your television and home music systems continue to incur energy costs whilst on standby. You could save up to £65 on your energy bills per year by investing in a standby saver or smart plug, which enables you to switch off all your standby appliances in one go. Perfect for cost-crunching households, whilst helping support wider environmental issues.

Meal prep & choose the correct appliance

Your oven costs £1 per hour to heat up to the optimum temperature to cook, so save money and energy by planning your meals and think about batch cooking – cooking in bulk for the week ahead.  

For those with an open plan kitchen and living space, believe it or not, your oven can provide a fantastic source of heat. Once you are finished cooking a meal in your electric oven, turn the appliance off at the wall, leaving the oven door open, to naturally heat your living space without the requirement of additional heating.”

Many households have multiple cooking appliances in their kitchen, so choosing the best appliance for the job is crucial. Cooking in a microwave or an air fryer uses less energy than your oven as these appliances heat a smaller space and often take less time, making it a great way to cook quickly and easily without using too much energy.  

If you’re using your hob, simply putting a lid on a pan of water to boil can reduce energy by 85% and you should always match the size of pan and hob to minimise wasted energy. You can also turn off the hob and let the residual heat continue to cook, this works particularly well for pasta, which will cook if you add it to boiling water and turn off the heat after two minutes, reducing energy usage and costs.

Temperature is key

You can save up to £34 per year on your energy bills by simply using your washing machine more efficiently. 

Washing on a lower temperature such as 30ºC is an easy way to conserve energy. As are short eco-washes, which normally take 15 mins per cycle, shortening the length of time your appliance is in use. Alternatively, you could reduce use of your washing machine entirely to operate once per week. 

Similarly, as the days get brighter and temperatures rise, there’s no better time to cut back on use of your tumble dryer. Switch out tumble drying for a low-cost airer and take advantage of the warm air to naturally dry clothes in your home and reduce energy costs.

Be strategic about packing your dishwasher

For many modern-day renters, a dish washer is often considered a deal breaker when selecting a new apartment, however with this comes energy usage.

Filling the dishwasher as much as possible will ensure the appliance is only used every couple of days and won’t massively impact your energy usage. 

Packing your dishwasher badly with dishes on the top rack or glasses in the bottom could be costing you. My top tip boils down to your dishwasher packing technique, treat it almost like a game of Tetris. 

Make sure you are utilising all the space available within the machine, pack cups, glasses and cooking utensils on the top shelf of the dishwasher, leaving spacebelow for plates to be neatly stacked in a row, with bowls and casserole dishes – therefore using the washer less and reducing energy usage and associated bills. 

Recycle and reuse

Something many people don’t realise, is that you should never use black bin bags to recycle as these themselves cannot be recycled. When organising your recycling either forgo the bag entirely or ensure you’re using recyclable bin bags, otherwise this can be the deciding factor of leaving the whole load.  

Reusing is also a great alternative to throwing away items that can be reused or repurposed. This could be anything from using wine or spirit glass bottles for vases or using jars or tins as storage containers, which can save money on storage in your home, as well as creating beautiful display pieces.

If you’re particularly handy with a sewing needle you can even create homemade cushion covers out of an unwanted t-shirt or why not make a planter out of a pair of old wellies or boots. 

And for those with children, recycled items can come incredibly handy when it comes to crafting with the kids. No need to splash out on expensive crafting supplies when you can do so much with empty plastic bottles, tin cans, toilet roll inners, empty egg cartons and more. Whether it’s turning an egg carton into a planter, tin cans into storage containers for pens and pencils, or making whimsical fairy houses out of plastic bottles, the possibilities are endless as long as you get creative!

Tips provided by Ruth Friend at Grainger plc, who run an initiative called ‘Living a Greener Life’ – helping to educate and encourage residents to make positive changes