Energy saving on a budget


If you’re one of the 22 million people affected by the energy price hike, you’ll know just how important it is to save money on your bills right now.

It’s not always easy to make big energy changes when you’re short of cash, so we’ve put together some ideas that can help to suit a range of budgets, including some that won’t cost you a single penny.

All our costs and savings are based on a typical semi-detached house on gas heating*, so savings will vary according to property type and how it’s heated. But whatever your property type, saving energy has to be a good idea.

Energy saving budget: £0 

Some simple changes around the house can save significant amounts of energy and cash, including:

  • Turning down the thermostat by 1 degree Celsius – £105.
  • Turning appliances off rather than leaving them on standby – £55.
  • Ensuring lights are switched off when leaving the room – £20.
  • Not overfilling the kettle when boiling water – £11.

Doing all these things over the course of a year could save around £191.

Energy saving budget: £0 – £50

If you’ve tried all the free ideas and can afford to spend a little more, the next step could be to put some simple energy efficiency measures into place at home.

Installing reflective radiator panels could save you around £25 each year.

These can be placed behind radiators on external, uninsulated walls.

They reflect heat back into the room, keeping you warmer for less money.

If you have an open chimney, draught-proofing your chimney when you’re not using it could save around £65 a year.

The cheapest option to keep the cold out is a draught excluder, which starts at around £20.

Energy saving budget: £50 – £100

For a little more money, you can replace traditional and halogen lightbulbs with energy efficient LEDs.

Across an average house this will cost around £90 and should save £55 a year.

Energy saving budget: £100 – £500

If you can afford to spend a little more, you’ll find there are even more energy saving measures you can install in your home.

Did you know that a quarter of heat in an uninsulated home is lost through the roof?

Most homes have at least some loft insulation, but often not enough.

Topping up from 120mm to at least 270mm of insulation will cost around £465 but could save you £25 a year on your bills.

Energy saving budget: £500 – £1,000

If you can make your budget stretch beyond £500, installing and using a full set of heating controls (programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves) can result in significant savings.

While you’ll have to pay around £600 for the full installation, you’ll save £130each year in an average semi-detached house.

That’s a payback period of less than five years!

Energy saving budget: £1,000+

We know this isn’t an option for everyone – for example, if you rent your home – but if you can, it’s a good idea to keep future energy efficiency in mind when you’re undertaking any major home improvements.

Installing effective insulation or upgrading your energy system will pay dividends over the years in terms of effective operation and reduced bills.

The costs for replacing an old inefficient boiler will vary, but a straightforward A-rated gas boiler replacement plus thermostatic radiator valves will typically cost about £4,000.

The payback comes in the form of over £200 a year reduction in your bills (in a semi-detached house).

That might ease the pain a little if you need to replace your boiler.

If you want to go one step further, consider installing solar panels.

These are the most common domestic renewable energy source in the UK – and once you’ve paid for installation, your energy costs will be significantly reduced.

We estimate solar panels cost around £6,500 to install – but you’ll see savings of around £475 a year**.

What’s more, you’ll cut your household carbon emissions by a whopping 750kg of CO2 a year.

All these energy efficiency measures add up: so, whatever your budget – even if it’s nothing at all – you can cut your energy bills by reducing how much energy you use around the home.


Dave Stroud
Author: Dave Stroud