Reducing winter bills

With the recent price hikes in fuel bills, and now as we enter the colder months of the year consumer attention may turn towards escalating bills. It will, therefore, be natural for them to look at ways of reducing energy use in order to save money. In fact, the 15th annual Energy Saving Week, organised by the Energy Saving Trust, focused on promoting exactly this theme ‘how consumers can take back control of their spiialling energy bills at home.’

According to The Energy Savings Trust (EST), the average home can save up to £280 a year by being energy efficient. Kitchen and bathroom designers can help consumers to achieve this saving, by encouraging them to invest in energy-saving appliances and water- efficient taps, showers and WC.

Look for EST logo

Kitchen designers and retailers can help consumers be financially astute, by demonstrating the most energy-efficient appliances and explaining the cost savings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, EST suggests consumers seek appliances with the Energy Saving Trust Recommended (ESTR) logo. It reports, that among other appliances, by replacing a 12 – year old fridge freezer with a new ESTR model will save around £40 in energy bills each year. The EST also states by replacing a 12-year old washing machine with an A+++ model will save around £15 in energy bills each year. In addition, a more modern, energy-efficient appliance may also be able to save detergent use. Retailers and designers may be able to point out how this could save on the cost of the household shopping bill and to the environment.
Moderating client behaviour

However; it’s not just the choice of kitchen appliance that can save consumers energy (and therefore money), how they use the appliance can also be key to maximising economic benefits. The EST claims that washing clothes at 30°C uses 40% less energy, over a year; than washing at higher temperatures. In fact, it further states that if everyone in the UK washed their clothes at 30°C, instead of higher temperatures, collectively we could save around £170million and enough electricity to power the UK’s street lighting for 7 months.

And consumers can further save electricity as now there are even washing machines, and detergents designed to Iaunder at 15°C.
Water-efficiency saves energy

But while energy-saving is all often associated with kitchen appliances, bathroom designers and retailers can play their part too. According to the EST, heating water in the home accounts for 4% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. An obvious starting point is to replace an old G-rated boiler for an A – rated, condensing model and a full set of heating controls.

According to the EST, this alone can cut a heating bill by up to a quarter – or up to £300 a year. But reducing the amounts of water needed to be heated can help consumers save money too. The EST states hot water for use in taps, baths and showers makes up 23% of an average heating bill – around £150 a year We know that showers use less water than baths, in fact Waterwise states that a short shower can take as little as a third ofthe water used by taking a bath.

So designers and retailers should ensure you promote eco showerheads. And as WCs use the most water in the bathroom, promote dual Flush WCs to consumers who want to save money. The EST reports by fitting a dual flush WC, a four-person household could save 44,000 litres of water a year; worth around £105 in metered water bills.