The importance of energy efficiency

You should never underestimate the importance of simply switching things off.

LED lights may not be the first thing that come to mind when talking about energy saving.  However, due to their energy efficiency they have helped the UK take a big step towards reducing our carbon emissions.

Studies conclude that energy efficiency can make a real impact in helping us to reduce our carbon footprint. Renewable energy has helped reduce the UK’s consumption by 95 terawatt hours (TWh) between 2005 and 2019; some more efficient products helped save 103 TWh in the same time frame!

There is a negative though – the cost.

Renewable energy is not cheap and therefore unaffordable for many.

The best solution, especially for students who want to help the environment, is to invest in energy efficient appliances. EU regulation has helped the progress of UK energy efficiency, by placing strict product regulations on many household appliances.

LED lights are one of the best products to buy.

They’re often cheap and much more efficient than other light bulbs. This is because they convert 95% of energy into light and the other 5% into heat. In comparison, a traditional light bulb does the opposite, with 95% of the energy going to heat and only 5% to light.  This also helps to benefit the student financially, by lowering electricity bills, which can make some investments seem more worthwhile.

There’s a lot that we can do, and making sure that you buy energy efficient products helps to reduce your bills while saving the planet too.

Utility Planning for Students

Helping you prepare for energy bills in the real world

University and adult life can be a daunting prospect, particularly for those boring but necessary tasks like booking your own appointments, dealing with landlords, and bills.

Most students in halls have their bills paid all-inclusive in their rent, meaning that your finances are all sorted for you.

But what about when you move out of accommodation- into your own flat or shared accommodation?

Suddenly, you’ve got your utilities to think about – your electricity, gas and water aren’t going to pay themselves! So, how can keep your bills simple and those housemate arguments at bay?

What are utility bills?

Your utility bills are a charge for the most basic costs associated with running your house- it includes water, gas, electricity, internet and council tax. Most utility bills are paid in regular monthly instalments, though this can vary. In this blog, we will focus on gas, electricity and water.

What do I need to do when I move in to my house?

Read your gas and electricity meter as soon as you move in. Write down the readings you see to be able to provide to your energy company – this will mean you’re not charged for any energy the previous tenants used.

Don’t know where your meters are? If you’re renting a house, check outside for a meter box. Sometimes you will also find your meters in the hallway or under the stairs. If you’re in a flat, likelihood your meter is in the hall here too.

Don’t be afraid to ask your landlord or letting agent if you can’t find them in any of these places.

After reading your meters, check out the tariff you’re on – you may be able to switch to a cheaper energy supplier, using a comparison tool. Why not try Energy Relief? When you switch using this site, you can choose a community project or charity to support by sending them 100% of the switching fee (normally kept by the switching site)

How will you know who your energy supplier is when you move in? It will often say in your rental contract who the supplier is. You can also ask your landlord or letting agent when moving in.

What about your water bills?

If you’re living in Scotland in a house of full-time students, you don’t have to pay your water bill – lucky you! However, if you’re living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, your water will be included in your monthly costs.

Setting up your bills and sharing the cost

Typically, you have two options when paying your bills; either with direct debit, or when you receive your bill in the post. If your house are particularly bad at keeping on top of the post, we would suggest setting up a direct debit.

Sit down with your housemates and decide who will oversee the bills. The money will need to come out of a dedicated account, so it’s a good idea to have someone reliable managing this, with everyone else transferring them their amount.

There are plenty of bill-splitting apps out there to help you with this. However, a google doc or spreadsheet will work just as well.

Saving Energy & Donating to Charity

TSEP also delivers donations to charity

We’ve added a particularly generous addition to the Project. At some of our sites across the UK, we are working to help both local and national charities; from Beatson Cancer Charity to British Heart Foundation.

These charities cover several aims, from combatting heart disease to working to end youth homelessness. They’ve been specifically chosen by your site staff, as charities that particularly resonate with the culture of the site. In particular, the most popular charity of choice this year has been Student Minds.

Student Minds empower students and members of the university community to look after their own mental health, helping to support others and create change.

Currently, 1 in 4 people are experiencing a mental health problem in the UK. Suicide is a leading cause of death in young men and women aged 20-34, with young people linking mental illness with alienation and isolation.

Although University is an exciting time, it can also be very turbulant – leaving home and the comforts of family life for the first time. There’s also an endless number of social events, alcohol and takeaways, which can seem like a luxury at first. But it’s  common for students to be overwhelmed by the way of university life.

Often, you can be surrounded by friends and course mates, and still be susceptible to the feelings of loneliness and helplessness.

So, how do these partnerships work?

The more energy saved by our students, the more points they gather. At the end of the academic year, we reward student by being able to put those points towards a monetary value that is donated to the charity of choice at their site.

For example, at British Heart Foundation, £10 worth of points could pay for a research toolkit, to help studies into stroke, diabetes, vascular dementia and heart disease.

For £25, you can provide a young homeless person with a day of care, from safe accommodation to employment support.

How can you help?

If you haven’t yet- register your room and start making some everyday changes to reduce your energy consumption! Every point you manage to save will contribute towards the donation to charity that your accommodation provider will make at the end of the year.