These are the top 20 ways Brits waste energy

By Richard Jenkins
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 3:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 4:49 pm

More than a third of Brits are not being energy efficient in the home – by leaving the TV on while nobody is watching it, keeping the heating on when no one is in and ignoring draughts.

A poll of 2,000 adults found 18 per cent run the washing machine when it’s only half full, and 23 per cent leave the lights on in empty rooms.

Nearly four in 10 take longer showers than needed, and nearly three in 10 use regular bulbs when replacing lights rather than more energy-efficient LEDs.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

It also emerged more than a third are aware of when they’re using more energy than they need but do it anyway.

Concerns about energy prices increasing

However, with 65 per cent worried about the energy price cap increase, that looks set to change as 62 per cent plan to re-evaluate their habits to save money in the months ahead.

Marc Robson, a smart energy expert at British Gas, which commissioned the research, said: “There is lots of help available for those struggling with energy costs and advice on how to make everyday savings.

"It’s surprising how much you can achieve by making a few easy adjustments around the home.

“Every time I do a home visit with a customer, I am asked to find at least one small change they can make that will help them become more energy efficient.

“And it doesn’t just help them save on their bills – it’s good news for the environment, too.”

The research also found that 59 per cent of Brits don’t realise the impact energy waste might have on their bills.

Although two-thirds would soon stop doing wasteful things if they could physically see how much energy they’re losing.

And 75 per cent would change their habits if they were more aware of the money they could save.

More than one in five (21 per cent) are already being regularly nagged by someone in their household for doing things that waste energy, with kids named the worst for this (17 per cent).

Marc Robson, from British Gas, added: “We have a responsibility to help our customers save energy.

"It always helps knowing exactly where your energy goes and that’s where smart meters can help.

“I go in and out of customers’ homes every day, installing smart meters and giving people practical energy saving advice to implement in every room.

“Once they can identify where their energy is going, they can take some simple steps to improve their energy efficiency and bring their bills down.”

Five top tips for saving energy

1.            Ensure your radiators are working effectively

Bleed your radiators if they feel colder at the top to ensure they work effectively for you – there are lots of easy-to-follow guides and videos online. You can also fit foil panels behind them to reflect more heat into the room.

2.            Shutting out the cold

Draught excluders are available from most DIY stores, and they’re an easy and affordable way to draught-proof your home and could save you up to £30 per year.

3.            Look after your boiler

Regular services for your boiler can ensure it is working as efficiently as it should to warm your home. It will also prolong the life of the boiler, so it doesn’t need replacing anytime soon.

4.            Maximise energy efficiency in the kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most energy intensive rooms in the house so do things like cleaning filters on appliances to ensure they run effectively. And when it’s time to replace items ensure you opt for the higher energy efficiency rating.

5.            Get the help you are entitled to

Contact your supplier to see what you are eligible for. The British Gas Energy Trust is also there to help anyone, not just British Gas customers. British Gas also has a Winter Fund to provide grants for customers with energy debt which can be applied for at https://britishgasenergytrust.org.uk/

Top 20 ways Brits waste energy

1.            Leaving the TV on standby

2.            Leaving appliances on when not in use e.g. TV/phone chargers

3.            Manually turning the central heating on rather than setting heating controls

4.            Leaving the TV on when no one is watching it

5.            Leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth

6.            Leaving lights on in empty rooms

7.            Taking longer showers than needed

8.            Boiling a full kettle to make one cup of tea/coffee

9.            Leaving the tap running while washing up in the kitchen

10.          Leaving the heating on when no one is home

11.          Turning the washing machine on when only half full

12.          Using inefficient light bulbs

13.          Putting food in the fridge before it’s cooled down

14.          Setting the washing machine on a high temperature

15.          Leaving the heating on while the windows are open

16.          Putting off switching energy suppliers

17.          Leaving the heating on during the night

18.          Keeping the fridge door open for a long time unnecessarily

19.          Ignoring draughts

20.          Turning the dishwasher on when only half full