Archives for posts with tag: Energy Saving Week

Hi, I’m Nigel Berman, founder of Nigel’s Eco Store. I’m writing some guest posts for the uSwitch blog for Energy Saving Week to let you know about the different ways you can reduce your impact on the planet, and also reduce the impact on your bills too.

Thanks to LEDLON89 via Flickr for this great image

Thanks to LEDLON89 via Flickr for this great image

Installing an energy monitor is a great first step to understanding and reduce your energy use. Every energy monitor boasts ‘easy installation’ and a ‘clear display’ (well, there wouldn’t be much point in making it complex would there!), but beyond that each energy monitor offers a range of different options for analysing your energy use, and its easy to get lost!

By 2020, every home in the UK will have a smart meter, a major endeavour involving the replacement of around 50 million gas and electricity meters. The result will be more accurate billing, and easier switching between suppliers.

But do you want to wait until 2020 to take control of your energy use? Installing an energy monitor could save you  up to 15% off your energy bill in the first year, and once you get into seeking out and switching off greedy appliances, you could save even more.

Energy monitor features

Here are some things to consider when choosing an energy monitor:

  • Analyse your usage on your Mac or PC: Some energy monitors store data about your energy use, which you can then upload to your computer and analyse with accompanying software packages, allowing you to create charts and graphs, making it easy to identify patterns in your energy use.      Try these: OWL CM119 Wireless Energy Monitor, Current Cost CC126 Envi Wireless Energy Monitor, Efergy E2 eLink Wireless Smart Meter, Wattson Energy Meter.
  • Analyse and monitor your data online: Currently only the Current Cost CC126 Envi Wireless Energy Monitor offers this feature via featured device partner Google PowerMeter and online community Pachube. An online community feature for Holmes, the companion software for the Wattson Energy Meter is planned for the future.
  • Audio/visual warning when energy consumption rises beyond a set point: Would you find this feature useful or annoying? If you think it might help you remember to turn things off, then you might like to consider one of the four monitors which offer this feature. If, however, you’re sick of bleeps and flashes then steer clear!                                                                                                                               Try these: OWL CM119 Wireless Energy Monitor (audio), Efergy Elite Wireless Smart Meter (both),  Efergy E2 eLink Wireless Smart Meter (audio), Wattson Energy Monitor (visual).
  • Economy 7 meters: Do you have an Economy 7 meter installed? In which case you should look for an energy monitor which is compatible with Economy 7 and can differentiate between the two readings.                                                                                                                                                                                                Try these: OWL CM119 Wireless Energy Monitor, Current Cost CC126 Envi Wireless Energy Monitor, Efergy Elite Wireless Smart Meter, Efergy E2 eLink Wireless Smart Meter,  Wattson Energy Monitor.
  • CO2 monitoring: As well as telling you how much energy you are using, and how much it is costing you, some energy monitors provide data to help you determine your carbon footprint.                         Try these: Efergy E2 eLink Wireless Smart Meter, OWL CM119 Wireless Energy Monitor.

Compare the whole range of energy monitors side-by-side.

Whichever model you decide to go for, you can be sure that the first step to saving money on your bills is having a better understanding of where energy wastage is taking place. I hope this guide is helpful, if you have any queries, let me know in the comments.

Nigel Berman is the founder of Nigel’s Eco Store.


Today is Energy Saving Week’s ‘Generate your own’ day, so I’ve put together a short reading list with articles and blog posts on Feed-in Tariffs, Pay As You Save, solar power etc etc. Enjoy!

Generate your own energy with the Feed-in Tariff scheme

  • Feed-in Tariffs: the uSwitch Guide – use this guide to find out everything you need to know about getting paid to generate your own green energy with the Feed-in Tariff scheme.
  • Feed-in Tariff scheme proves popular – the government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme kicked-off in April and has already got thousands of people generating their own green electricity.
  • What is Pay As You Save? – find out how you could get a low-interest loan to cover the cost of starting to generate your own renewable energy.

In honour of Energy Saving Week I thought we’d re-post one of our older video guides – Ann Robinson’s top ten energy saving tips.

Video transcript

Top 10 energy saving tips – Ann Robinson, uSwitch energy expert

Hi. I’m Ann Robinson, I’m an energy expert at and I’m going to give you some really good tips on how to reduce the amount of energy you use and reduce your bills.

  1. Draughts. Let me start with the obvious one – make sure you don’t have any draughts. Seal off your windows and doors.
  2. Full load. If you’re using your dishwasher or washing machine make sure you have a full load.
  3. 30 degrees. When you are using your washing machine, make sure you have it at thirty degrees. You can get a really good wash that way – in fact, you can drop down to fifteen degrees.
  4. 1 degree. Turn your heating down by one degree.
  5. Curtains. Close your curtains when it gets dark.
  6. Boiling water. Only put as much water as you need in the kettle, so if you’re making a cup of tea for one, don’t fill it to the top.
  7. Light bulbs. Use energy saving light bulbs.
  8. Standby. Turn appliances off, don’t keep them on standby.
  9. Family. If you’ve got a family watch what you’re children are doing – they’ll cost you the earth if they are leaving their appliances on and they’re in their bedrooms for hours playing with their computers or DVDs or whatever.
  10. Energy grants. Talk to your energy suppliers or your local energy advisory centre. There’s lots of money available for grants and financial help to install energy saving measures.

These are just some of my tips for saving energy but if you follow them you’ll see that your bills will come right down and I’m sure it will make you very happy.

Thanks to Rune T via Flickr for this great image)

Thanks to Rune T via Flickr for this great image)

Hi, I’m Nigel Berman, founder of Nigel’s Eco Store. I’m writing some guest posts for the uSwitch blog this week to tie in with Energy Saving Week and to let you know about the different ways you can reduce your impact on the planet, and also reduce the impact on your bills too.

First, some good news about energy

Although energy consumption has risen by 23% in last 35 years, household energy use is starting to fall (domestic use accounts for just over 46% of the total UK energy consumption.) Between 2008 and 2009, domestic energy consumption fell by 5.2%, which is 10% lower than the peak in 2004.

And now, some not so good news about standby

Manufacturers are coming under increasing pressure to make more appliances more energy efficient, and both the Government and the European Commission have pledged to limit standby energy consumption to 1 watt. However, the number and variety of appliances we have in our everyday lives is increasing as more options in entertainment and telecommunications become available to us. So appliances are getting better, but we’re buying more of them.

The cost of digital entertainment

One of the worst offenders is the digital set top box, which uses an average of 7.5W in passive standby mode, up to over 20W, and could amount to as much as  38kWh per year. Uptake of digital broadcasting is on the increase, and currently 53% of UK households receive digital broadcast content through their televisions and set top boxes. In comparison, an old style television (do you remember the days of just 5 channels?) uses around 5W in standby mode.

The cost of convenience

According to the Energy Saving Trust, the UK spends £900 million a year by leaving our appliances on standby. On average, each appliance left on standby uses 10-15 watts. A fairly typical house with the average complement of appliances – TVs, electric toothbrush and shaver, answer phones and cordless telephones, stereo equipment, laptop, PC and peripherals, could be spending around an extra £100 a year just to keep these appliances permanently available at the touch of a button.

Take a stand on standby – tips for saving energy

  • If you’ve turned it on, turn it off again. Turn appliances off at the wall socket when possible.
  • Going on holiday? Give your set top box a break too – make sure it’s switched off. And if you’re not recording a programme, turn your set top box off at the wall.
  • Consider fitting a power strip for groups of associated appliances like computers and peripherals, stereo equipment and entertainment systems. You’ll be able to turn them all off in one go.
  • Manufacturers are improving the efficiency of appliances in standby mode, which sadly means that older appliances will be a lot less efficient. If you’re replacing an appliance, ask questions before you buy about standby power use. But whether you’ve got a fancy new highly efficient stereo, or a much loved old boom box, the advice is the same, turn it right off when not in use.
  • Look for solar alternatives wherever possible: solar security lights, and solar mobile phone, camera and laptop chargers will keep your driveway lit and your mobile devices charged for free.
  • Talk to family members about standby and how much it costs the household, many teenagers have their own TVs, mobile devices and games consoles set up in their rooms, make sure they are turning  all their equipment off at the wall. Get remote controlled standby saver plugs, so you can turn their appliances off yourself if they won’t listen.
  • Don’t leave mobiles and laptops charging over night. Your mobile will only take around 2 hours to charge, your laptop a few hours longer, depending on the model. Neither need a whole 8 hours of charge. Consider getting a standby plug, it can automatically turn the power off once your mobile is fully charged.
  • Using the same socket as your kettle to charge smaller devices means you won’t forget about them!

Do you have any tips for cutting out wasteful standby vampires? Let me know in the comments.

Nigel Berman is the founder of Nigel’s Eco Store.

See more great ways to save energy and money on our website

Sources: 2005 ImpEE Project, University of Cambridge – Domestic Energy Use and Sustainability,

Department of Energy and Climate Change data published in July 2010