Earth Day: How to cut costs as a first time renter
Learning to pay your own bills is a big step but with energy costs on the rise and the planet in need of some conservation, can we learn how to reduce them?
The theme of Earth Day 2022 is 'Invest in Our Planet' and perhaps some of our own financial decisions can help not only our pockets, but the planet too.
Our Green Schools' days are long gone and we no longer have parents nagging us to turn off lights, so what are some easy ways to save energy when living out of home for the first time?
1. Check your provider
When you first move into a new place you should check who your energy provider is. By switching providers or becoming a new customer you can often land yourself a better deal.
You can do this by calling different providers and getting quotes yourself, or by using a website like Bonkers.ie which will compare different deals for you.
If you want this to not only reduce your bills but also help out the planet you can check out some green deals. These include renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. If previous tenants have not switched providers in a long time they may not have chosen a green option.
40% of Ireland's electricity is produced from renewable energy and this number is on the rise.
2. Batch cooking
Meal prepping is not only good for lazy evenings when you don't want to cook and can't afford another takeaway, but it can also save your energy.
By cooking large quantities at once, you use less energy than it would take to cook a full meal every night. Using the microwave for a few minutes is a lot more energy efficient than pre-heating your oven and then using it for 30 minutes.
3. Put a timer on
In 2018 61% of the energy used in the household in Ireland was used for heating space. The amount of energy it takes to heat your home will also increase if you're living in an older less insulated building, unfortunately like many rentals.
It's a good idea to put a timer on your heating, this means you only use the same amount of energy every day and don't run the risk of forgetting to turn it off.
As we come into the Summer months, your heating most likely doesn't need to be as warm as it was in the Winter.
By turning down your thermostat and reducing the temperature of the heating, you actually use less energy.
4. Let the dishes pile up
Using your dishwasher when it is full actually uses less energy than washing a plate by hand each time you use it with the tap.
So you can stop worrying about the plates piling up because it's actually saving you money!
If your dishwasher has an eco mode be sure to use that too as research has found that it can make energy savings of up to 30%!
5. Save in the shower
If you struggle to pull yourself out of the shower, create a shower playlist with only 2 or 3 songs on it, when this is up, you know it's time to leave.
Try turning the temperature down (if you can bear it) even to a warm rather than a hot shower, it's better for your skin too!
6. Be mindful
There are many small ways we can save energy in our homes that we might not even think of.
Reflect on what uses energy in your home and then how you can reduce that. For example, do you sometimes need your uniform washed and just throw it in the machine alone? Instead, throw in your tea towels or even your housemate's clothes to make a full load.
The oldest one in the book is to turn off lights you're not using, and appliances too - simple but effective.