Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton has shared her easy, fun top tips to save energy and live more sustainably at home – and some of them are also a great way of saving money.
Helen is helping to launch Areas For A Beautiful Future with Smart Energy GB – which celebrates the communities across Britain who are working together to create a more sustainable future.
A survey also found that 75 per cent of Brits still think they could do more to be energy-efficient and sustainable at home. So what does Helen do?
Avoid Bog Standard
I’ve started buying sustainable toilet paper, instead of the standard type. You can get toilet paper, kitchen towels and pocket tissue made from bamboo, and the packaging is recyclable.
We bulk-buy – my husband is always joking about how our garage is always filled with loo roll!
Hurry Up In The Shower
I also take shorter showers. When training for the marathon, after a long run it was really tempting to have a long powerful shower, but shorter showers are so much more energy efficient and use less water (and turning down the temperature to make it cool was good for my muscles).
Frequent long hot showers can really dry out your skin, too, so keep it short and sweet.
Cook Slow… Or Fast
Another way we try to save energy in our home is by using a slow cooker. It’s so easy to whip up delicious meals with minimal effort.
I just chuck everything in before we head out to watch Ritchie play rugby and by the time we get home, it’s ready for us to tuck into. Less mess and stress!
I love cooking with the children, especially the eldest. We actually make delicious cakes using our microwave. It’s super quick and uses up less energy than baking in the oven.
I also don’t have the kids begging me about when the cakes will be ready! There are some great recipes on the Smart Energy GB website.
Keep That Fridge Full!
I’m always conscious about keeping an eye on my fridge. An empty fridge uses more energy than a full fridge.
Even if you fill empty space with bottles of tap water – this is one small thing I had no idea about before working on this campaign! Now that I know, it’s one small step that I’m doing all the time.
Monitor Your Energy Usage
We have a smart meter, which is another example of a small step that everyone can take to contribute to a more sustainable future for everyone.
You can see your energy usage in near-real time which can nudge you to make small changes to be more energy efficient.
Smart meters are an essential upgrade to our energy grid, creating a greener, more efficient energy system that will lead to cleaner air, use of less fossil fuels and ultimately, protect our environment.
It doesn’t cost you anything and is so easy to do. Just search ‘I want a smart meter’ or call 0300 131 8000.
Reduce, Re-grow, Upcycle
I’m very aware of food waste and I’m teaching the children the importance of this too.
I’ve found that a fun way to do this is to regrow vegetables from old scraps – so either using potato peelings with lots of eyes, lettuce leaves, or tomato seeds.
It’s also fun for the children to track the progress too.
Upcycling is one of my new favourite hobbies. I repainted an old wooden chair at home, which we’d debated throwing out, and even got the kids to help out. A fun, but messy couple of hours over the weekend.
My next project is to turn our old metal barbecue into a herb garden.
Only Boil What You Need
Even though I love tea and drink so much throughout the day, I’m very mindful of not filling the kettle to the top if I’m only making myself a cuppa.
Our kettle is only ever filled for the amount of tea we’re drinking.
Stop! Must You Take The Car?
I’m keen to get my children in the habit of being outdoors more, especially when the weather is nice.
A lot of us use cars unnecessarily – from a quick ride to the shops to the school run, we use our cars when we could actually walk or cycle.
We are quite an active family and we tend to go for bike rides as a family, or strolls in the park, and this all counts towards being more environmentally friendly.
Switch Off Overnight
I’ve got out the habit of leaving my phone on charge all night. Not only is it a waste of energy, it’s actually bad for your phone’s battery life. I just charge during the day or evening, until it’s full.
Leaving appliances on standby also consumes more energy, so take the time to avoid doing so.