Get smart on household bills


MoneyPlus Features Team

19th October 2016 at 11:00am

Can you save money on your household bills and help save the planet?

Embrace modern technology and yes you can.

From controlling lights at home through a mobile app to investing in smart appliances that cut down on energy use and costs, there are myriad high-tech options on the market that make the home more sustainable.

Get smart on waste

According to green energy supplier ecotricity, the average UK household overspends £200 a year on energy bills and most houses create around six tonnes of carbon dioxide – the main greenhouse gas – each year.

If you want to cut back on those bills and do your bit for the environment, here are our pick of some of the best tech that helps you do just that.

Smart lighting

You can put your savings in the spotlight by getting smart with your lighting. Installing LED lights instead of incandescent ones means you will use less energy and produce less heat, and they have a longer life. They may be more expensive to buy but a box of these super-efficient bulbs could save you £240 a year and pay for themselves within five months.

Can you save money on your household bills and help save the planet?

And run them off a smart lighting app and you’ll be able to control the lighting for different rooms and programme them to turn on and off at pre-set times from your smartphone or tablet, and even to function as an alarm, gently waking you in the morning. And if all that didn’t seem handy enough, you can now play music through them too, turning your ceiling into a sound system!

Smart heating

Heating an empty house or worrying about burst pipes may now be a thing of the past with smart heating.

Smart thermostats are a smart technology that lets you remotely control your home’s temperature via a tablet, smartphone or desktop for greater control over your central heating. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection and a smart thermostat. Set up the app and you’re on your way to saving energy and money.

Clever heating systems have really come into their own over the last couple of years, with several solutions already available to allow you to control your heating, and more and more companies entering the market after a slice of this smart pie.

And think about how hot you need the place. Ecotricity suggests knocking a degree or so off your thermostat will cut your heating bills by 10 per cent. You’ll stay cosy if you keep temperatures around 20C (68F) in living rooms and 16C (60F) in bedrooms.

Smart meters

Make estimated meter readings a thing of the past by installing a smart meter.

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters and offer a range of intelligent functions.

For example, they can tell you how much energy you are using through a display in your home. They can also communicate directly with your energy supplier, meaning that no one will need to come and read your meter in future.

Smart meters – the next generation of gas and electricity meters

Most of the smart meters that are being installed today use mobile phone-type signals to send meter readings to your supplier, and other wireless technologies to send information to the in-home display.

Smart meters bring a wide range of benefits. For example:

  • smart meters give you near real-time information on energy use – expressed in pounds and pence;
  • you’ll be able to better manage your energy use, save money and reduce emissions;
  • you’ll only be billed for the energy you actually use, helping you budget better;
  • easier switching – smoother and faster to switch suppliers to get the best deals.

And you’ll not be charged separately for a smart meter or for the in-home display. Under current arrangements you pay for the cost of your meter and its maintenance through your energy bills, and this will be the same for smart meters.

Don’t remain on standby

Remember, while figures suggest these smart gadgets will certainly save you time, money and do their bit for the environment, they are only as effective as their user.

It’s important you get smart too.  And with just a few simple changes to your lifestyle as well as your home, you can add to these savings.

For some top tips, check out our feature how to pull the plug on standby.

Want to know more?  Take a look at our piece on how to make a saving on your household bills.

If you have any energy saving tips, we’d love to hear them. Join the conversation and follow us on twitter @StandardLifeUK and Facebook.