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Living in a rented home?

Follow our step by step guide to save energy and save money on your utility bills!

Created by students, for students. Follow us on Twitter @EnviroChamps @CardiffDigs and join the conversation #SpareAWatt

Introduction n’t it?

unds complicated, does

Energy efficiency - it so

Actually it shouldn’t be. In most cases it’s easy to put into practice and, what’s more, improvements don’t have to cost the earth. Of course, there are changes you could make to your home that you would need to splash out for, but when you stop wasting energy, you save money. We know that student budgets are being squeezed right now. So why not take positive action to reduce your bills by following our simple guide to better energy efficiency?

You don’t need to sacrifice your comforts by turning off all the heaters and live with candlelight to stop wasting energy. This booklet will show you how easy it is to be kinder to the environment and to your bank balance.

This booklet has been created by the Environmental Champion student volunteering group, by students for students, in conjunction with Cardiff Council and Cardiff Digs. For more information on the volunteering project, please visit

Electricity 1. Switch your energy company! When you move into a rented property, you do not have to stay with the current provider (unless your landlord pays for your bills). Use comparison sites to compare rates and switch! A good impartial site to use is the Citizens Advice Bureau energy comparison site - https:// 2. Say goodbye to standby. TVs and laptops left on standby can also waste electricity, so always turn them completely off at the plug when you can – it could save you on average £30 per year!* 3. Not using a room? Turn the lights off! It’s simple but makes a big impact on those bills. You could save on average £14 a year* 4. Use low energy or LED lightbulbs. Replacing the bulbs in your home with energy efficient lightbulbs could save you £35 a year*. LED lightbulbs come in a range of warm and cool light shades, so are even better than low energy bulbs for efficiency. 5. Making a cuppa? Don’t overfill the kettle. Don’t heat up water you aren’t going to use. Only fill the kettle with the amount of water you actually need, 200 ml is enough for one cup of tea, and it won’t take long to boil. 6. Unplug your phone chargers when not in use. Even when your phone isn’t plugged in, if the phone charger is warm, it’s using energy, so costing you money. *source: Energy Saving Trust website

ster 1 Myth Bu Myth: Energy efficient lightbulbs are expensive. The price of an energy efficient lightbulb starts from £3, which is only marginally more expensive than a standard lightbulb. In the long run, energy efficient light bulbs such as LEDs cost less to run (£2.78 per year per lightbulb, rather than £15*) and last longer! *Comparison

of a 60W st andard to an

11W Energy

Saving light bu


Gas 1. Turn your thermostat down by 1°c. This could save you around £60 on gas bills!** 2. Keep your radiators clear and TRY not to dry your clothes on them. Radiators that are covered by clothes or blocked by furniture prevent heat from circulating around the room. Plus drying clothes on radiators can make your house damp! 3. Heat your home effectively. The best way to heat your home effectively is to turn the heating off if you are not in the house and at night, but use the thermostat and timer to ensure the house is warm when you need it. For example, set the timer for the heating to turn on at 5pm at 19 degrees if you get home from University at 6pm. Having the heating come on briefly in the morning should then help maintain a minimum temperature throughout the day. 4. Avoid the extremes of temperature on your thermostat! It isn’t cost effective to blast out the heating at a high temperature (25C) as the boiler will use much more gas trying to get to this temperature (and it might never happen). So, try to aim for a lower temperature (18 - 21) more often (if you have a programmable thermostat, set it for twice a day), - this way, when the boiler kicks into action it is just “topping up” the heat that’s already in the house. 5. Prevent drafts from coming in. Drafts can make a house very chilly so invest in a draft excluder for you front door! 6. Keep a lid on it. Use a pan that’s the right size for your cooking ring, then put a lid on it - it’ll heat up quicker, so use less gas. Keeping lids on pans will also reduce moisture in the property - a significant cause of condensation in properties! 7. Understand how to use your boiler. Make sure your landlord provides you with instructions on how to use your boiler, so you can control the thermostat and timings of when your heating comes on and off. 8. Take meter readings regularly. Set up a monthly reminder to take meter readings and send them to your utility companies. It’s really important to do this to make sure your bills are accurate, and to make sure you aren’t overpaying! Make sure you take your meter readings when you first move in as well, so you don’t pay for the previous tenants’ energy usage.

Myth Buster 2 Myth: Using an electric fan heater to heat your room is cheaper than putting the heating on Heating a room via electric is a very expensive way to heat a room. Most fan heaters use 1-2Kwh of energy which means for an hour, it will cost around 15-30p**. Since mains gas is a third of the cost of electricity per unit, heating your house by switching the heating on for short periods throughout the day is the cheapest way. **source:

Water With the average person using 150 litres of water a day*, here are a few of the top tips to help you save those precious drops: 1. Don’t keep it running. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth - this can save 6 litres of water per minute*. Simple but effective! 2. Take a shorter shower. Every minute you cut off your daily shower could save you between £5 and £10 off your energy bills over the year*. 3. Ask your landlord to fix dripping taps. A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day, or 5,500 litres of water a year*! 4. Always use full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher - this cuts out unnecessary washes in between. 5. Use a washing up bowl. When washing up, fill up a bowl rather than running a tap - saves around £25 per year on energy bills (source: Energy Saving Trust website)


Damp And Mould

Although damp can be caused by a structural defect in a property, condensation is usually caused by the way we live. The main factors are high humidity, low temperatures and poor ventilation. Condensation is caused when water vapour in the air comes into contact with cold surfaces, such as a window or a wall. The vapour can then turn into water, which can soak into wallpaper or paintwork or even plasterwork. In time, the affected damp areas then attract black mould that grows on its surface.

The good news is there are a number of small steps you can take to prevent condensation and associated mould growth. 1. Heat your home more effectively in cold weather. The best way to keep rooms warm and avoid condensation is to use the thermostat and timers to heat your home regularly when you need it. See page 5 for more details. 2. Open your windows. The moisture in the air that you create by cooking, showering, drying your hair or even breathing, needs to go somewhere. Open windows for short periods of time to let moisture escape. (But only do this when you are in the room, don’t leave windows open when you are out this is a security risk!)

3. Dry clothes outside or in a ventilated and heated room. Avoid hanging damp towels and wet washing around the house as this will hugely increase humidity levels. Ideally use a vented or condensing tumble drier to dry washing. If you must dry clothes inside dry them in the bathroom with the extractor fan on or the window ajar, making sure the heating is on and the door is closed. 4. Use extractor fans and trickle vents. If you have an extractor fan in the kitchen/ bathroom, make sure it’s switched on when you are using the facilities. Trickle vents on windows also help to remove moisture from the air, so make sure these are open. 5. Did you know an average person can exhale up to 500ml of water a day!? Due to this, bedroom windows will often have condensation on them in the morning. Make sure you wipe the glass down to remove any visible moisture and open the window for a short time to ventilate the room. 6. Save your belongings from mould! If your property suffers from condensation it is possible that your belongings, for example bedding, clothes, shoes etc, could become mouldy. To prevent this, avoid overfilling cupboards and wardrobes, and leave a space of approximately 3 to 4 inches between outside walls and furniture.

Energy Performance Certificate: When choosing a house to live in with your University mates, it’s a good idea to look at the Energy Performance Certificate, also known as the EPC. The higher the level in efficiency, the lower the cost will be in energy bills.

You can ask for this information prior to viewing a property, if it is not already shown alongside photos/information. We would advise that you chose a property with an A, B, C or D rating as opposed to an E or an F, and avoid G rated properties altogether.

Useful contacts For advice on saving energy, getting the best energy deal and energy efficiency, visit: Energy Saving Trust website Citizens Advice For all student housing queries, including advice on damp and mould, saving energy and money saving tips visit: Cardiff Digs advice website Your University Student Support service and Student Union advice centre can also offer advice on reducing your energy usage, saving money and preventing and resolving issues with damp and mould: Cardiff University Student Support Centre, email or call 02920 874844 Student Union Advice Centre, email or call 02920 781410 Cardiff Metropolitan University Student Services, email or call 02920 416170 Student Union UMAX Advice and Support, email or call 02920 205977 University of South Wales Student Money Advice Team, email or call 01443 483778

Watt the...?  

Spare a watt - save a lot. Living in a rented home? Follow our step by step guide to save energy and save money on your utility bills! A s...

Watt the...?  

Spare a watt - save a lot. Living in a rented home? Follow our step by step guide to save energy and save money on your utility bills! A s...