Top 8 Energy Saving Tips For Students This Winter
With the weather getting colder and the cost-of-living crisis that we’re currently dealing with in the UK, it’s important for many people to try and save money on their energy usage.
This is especially important for those who have a lower income, like students.
If you’re a student living in a shared house looking for energy saving tips to save money on your bills, you’ve come to the right place.
For those currently living in student accommodation, most properties like ours at HFS include all-inclusive bills within your rent so you don’t need to worry about your energy usage costs too much.
Although, it’s good to try and take responsibility over how much energy you use not just for financial reasons but also to reduce your carbon footprint.
Continue reading to find out the top 8 energy saving tips to make use of this winter, as well as why energy prices have gone up.
Why Are Energy Bills So High?
As you are probably aware, the price of gas and electricity bills within the UK has increased to record high levels in the past year.
Studies have found that the average households energy bills will be over £3,000 a year for the next 15 months.
There are several reasons why this change has occurred, but essentially, it’s due to the cost of importing energy going up and the uncertainty over Russia’s energy supplies.
Russia has a large role within the global gas supply chain and provides European countries with a large amount of gas.
In 2021 the country supplied the EU with 40% of its gas, which is why our energy prices have surged so much since the Russian-Ukraine War.
There is more reasoning to why our energy prices have gone up, which you can find out through the Energy Saving Trust.
Energy Saving Tips
As we’ve mentioned, energy costs are an all-time high in the UK, so it’s now vital to make your money stretch more than usual as a student.
But how can you do this? Well, you all know that the more energy you use, the higher your bills will be.
However, there are 8 energy saving tips you can use from our guide to help reduce your consumption.
This means you’ll have more of your student loan to spend on more important things!
1. Take Control Of Your Heating
Our first energy saving tips for students is to take control of your heating within your student home, as this is arguably one of the biggest contributors to your energy bills.
We know, it’s freezing at the minute and it’s only going to get colder as we go into winter in December.
Whilst it can be tempting to get in from uni and whack up the thermostat to be super cosy, this can really hike up your energy usage if it’s on too high or left on too often.
Even just turning your thermostat down by just one degree can make the world of difference.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t heat your home up at all but try to ensure that you’re being conscious with your heating use.
Instead of turning up the heating, you could try and wrap up in some extra layers if you’re feeling chilly.
Whilst it’s hard to ensure that everyone within your home uses the heating responsibly, try and have a chat with your housemates so that everyone’s on the same page.
You can use a timer on your central heating system to save arguments!
2. Send Meter Readings
Another energy saving tip we have for student’s living in a rented home, is to submit regular meter readings to your energy supplier so that they can check how much energy you’re actually using.
If you don’t do this, the supplier that you’re with will take estimates which can then lead to inaccurate bills.
Not only does this mean you can spend more than you’re using, but you may also be charged an under-estimate of your bills so you could later have to pay a larger amount.
It’s not great having a surprise bill come in when you’ve already budgeted.
So, always make sure that it isn’t noted as an estimate reading and that it’s an accurate reading!
It might be confusing at first to try and work out how to send meter readings, but it’s easy to get the hang of and quite often you can take pictures of your readings to send to your supplier.
You could even request a smart meter to be installed from your energy supplier which will let you know how much energy you’re using in real time.
3. Unplug Your Devices
Our next energy saving tips for students is to make sure you’re unplugging your devices and turning them off on the mains when you’re not using them.
You may think that just turning off your devices and leaving them on standby will be enough, but they are still using electricity if they’re plugged in, and this can really cause your energy bills to rise.
We all forget to turn off a plug, it’s just another long list of things to do before leaving the house, especially if you’re in a rush to go to uni, but try and make sure you’re completely turning off any plugs.
Whether it’s the toaster, your TV, games console or your phone charger, you should turn off anything you’re not using to keep your bills low.
Plus it will mean you’re being more sustainable too!
If you really want to save money (who doesn’t) you could charge your electrical devices such as your laptop and your phone, at the library or on-campus rather than at home.
4. Turn Off The Lights
This might seem like a straightforward tip, which you’ve probably heard your parents saying whilst living at home, but it’s super important to save on energy bills and live more eco-friendly.
It’s not just a viral TikTok song, you really do need to turn off the lights in your student home if you want to reduce your energy use and save money.
With the weather getting darker earlier and there being less natural light, we’re now having to turn on our lights more often.
If you’re just going out of a room for a few minutes, such as heading from your bedroom to your kitchen, you need to make sure you’re switching off any lights.
Remember, you need to switch off your LED lights or fairy lights too!
Research suggests that you can save up to £25 a year on your energy bill just by doing this, and whilst that doesn’t seem like an awful lot, it does add up.
We’re all guilty of leaving the living room lamp on when going up to bed, but this simple energy saving hack can ensure you save more money when it comes to paying bills.
5. Use Water Wisely
Our next energy saving tips for students is to ensure that you’re being careful with your water usage.
There are many ways you can save on how much water you use within your student home.
Such as making sure that you don’t leave the tap running when brushing your teeth or washing your clothes on a lower temperature.
However, the most important, or rather the ways in which your water usage skyrockets, is through showering or taking a bath.
It might be tempting to have a nice bath during the colder months, but a full bath uses up to 80 litres of water, which isn’t really worth the price, is it?
Most of the time, showering will use less water than bathing, but it’s good to make sure that you’re not leaving the shower on for too long.
We’re talking to you lot who let the shower ‘warm up’ before getting in!
Using your water wisely and making sure you’re not using too much hot water, will make a big difference to your gas and electricity bills.
6. Dry Your Clothes Naturally
A further way to save energy at home, is to dry your clothes naturally rather than using the tumble dryer (if you’re lucky enough to have one) or using the radiators to dry your clothes on.
Tumble dryers especially use up a lot of energy with research showing that the average machine uses roughly 4.5 kWh per cycle.
Rather than doing this, you should hang your clothes up to dry outside for those precious few hours a day where we have some sun!
You could also invest in a clothes maiden to hang your washing on if you haven’t already got one.
If you do want to use the tumble dryer as let’s face it, they are the quickest mode of drying your clothes, you should pop your washed clothes on an eco-friendly mode if your machine has one, to avoid wasting energy.
7. Save Energy In The Kitchen
Another effective tip you can adopt within your daily life to save money on your bills is to watch how much energy you’re using in the kitchen.
First of all, if your student home has a dishwasher, try not to use it unless you’ve got a whole house full of dishes to put on.
If your dishwasher has an eco-setting, make sure you’re choosing this option when putting a wash cycle on.
It might come as a surprise, but some studies have found that modern dish washers actually use up less water usage than leaving the tap on and washing by hand.
4% of the average household’s water use is due to handwashing dishes whilst a dishwasher uses 3%.
Of course, this does depend on how often you’re putting it on.
Another way to reduce energy consumption, is to cook more, less often.
You should try to make bigger portions which you can use to make a few meals, such as by meal prepping in batches.
You could even cook with your housemates rather than each person using the appliances in the kitchen to cook up separate meals.
It’s also better to use the microwave to cook your food rather than the oven, as it uses less energy – plus it’s quicker!
8. Check For The Best Deals
Our final energy efficiency tip for students is to review and compare different energy suppliers to see which is the cheapest.
You shouldn’t just stick with the current energy company when you’ve moved into a student home because it’s ‘easier’.
Making the switch can save you money on gas and electricity bills if there’s a cheaper deal.
However, this is only applicable if you’re living in a rented home where you’re responsible for paying the energy bills.
Within some homes students will pay their landlord or estate agents a certain amount per month for their bills.
If you don’t know your current energy supplier, then speak to your landlord or estate agents about who the current energy supplier at your address is, if you’re thinking about changing companies.
There’s nothing stopping you from changing suppliers if you find a better deal elsewhere, as long as your not tide to a contract.
The easiest way to find out about different deals is to research online using price comparison websites.
If you do find a better value for money, it’s always worth asking your current supplier if they will match that price rather than leaving, as you may have to pay a tariff.
We understand that there are many financial worries to think about whilst at university but if you start developing these energy saving tips, you’ll notice a difference in your utility bills this winter.
Try and be energy efficient during the colder months to help cut your costs!
If you’re having money concerns during the cost-of-living crisis, there are people you can speak to and support you can access.
Get in touch with your university if you’re facing financial hardship, there may even be grants or bursaries available to you.
Student Minds have a helpful financial support section on their website.
Read our post on How To Create An Online Portfolio For When You Graduate University next.