19th June 2024

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Energy use and conservation

This resource page has been provided to help residents in the face of volatile energy markets and the battle against climate change.

The information is provided to give guidance on methods for reducing energy use, fuel and electricity bills, and carbon dioxide emissions in homes and buildings.

Energy Saving Tips

  • Domestic Appliances
  • Heating systems
  • Hot Water
  • Lighting
  • Insulation

Domestic Appliances

Energy Rating

Moving to energy efficient appliances can be an excellent way to save money on your bills, as well as reducing your carbon footprint. When the time comes to buy a new appliance, look at the energy label. The higher the rating, the less energy it will use. The best rating you can now get is A+++.

Buying energy efficient products - Energy Saving Trust

There might be plenty of life left in what you've got, and there are ways to get more out of those existing appliances – while also ensuring that any new ones you do decide to invest in are bringing the carbon and bill savings you're looking for.

How to get the most out of your kitchen appliances - Energy Saving Trust

Off Peak Electricity

Consider using nighttime off peak electricity to run appliances. With an appropriate tariff the electricity you use will be cheaper than the daytime rate plus the C02 generated will be lower.

Tumble Driers

Reduce tumble dryer use. Drying clothes outside when possible and only using the tumble dryer when fully loaded will reduce your electricity bills. Some clothes will last better if you don't tumble dry them. If your washing machine has a fast spin setting, then you can use this to get as much water out of the clothes as possible before you dry them. If you then need to use the dryer, you can run it for a shorter time and still save a bit of energy.

Reduce tumble dryer use — Simple Energy Advice

Washing Machines

You can save energy when you wash your clothes, by waiting until the machine is full before running it, and by washing at a lower temperature when possible. Washing at 30˚C is often enough to get things clean.

Fridges & Freezers

There are a number of ways you can make sure you're getting the best out of your fridge freezer:

  • Avoid overloading it, and make sure food has cooled before it goes in.
  • Ensure the seal around the door is intact by closing it on a piece of paper or bank note. If it slips out easily, adjustment might be necessary, or the seal may need replacing.
  • You should check the coil behind is dust free so air can circulate properly.


Think about how you heat your food:

  • Using a microwave is far more energy efficient than cooking on a traditional gas or electric hob when you're heating up small amounts of food.
  • Heat water in a kettle, rather than on the stove. You can transfer it into a pan once it's already boiled.
  • Only use as much water as you need – boiling extra takes more time and energy.
  • Always cover your pots and pans – the water will boil faster and use less energy to heat your food.
  • Don't let liquids boil vigorously, if water is gently bubbling it has reached 100°C and cannot get any hotter.
  • Turn off the heat a couple of minutes before your food is fully cooked as they take some time to cool down and will continue to cook your food.
  • Don't open the oven door repeatedly, if you can, take a look through the glass door instead.

Heating systems

Turn down thermostat.

If you turn down your main thermostat just one degree it will cut your heating bills straight away, and you may not feel any difference.

Turn down thermostat — Simple Energy Advice


  • Most heating systems have a timer or programmer that tells the heating when to turn on and off. You should set this to come on shortly before you get up and to go off a bit before you go to bed. You'll need to use a bit of trial and error to find out how much before. This depends on how quickly your heating system responds, and how quickly your house heats up and cools down.
  • If there's no-one at home during the day, you should also set the heating to turn off sometime before you go out, and to come on again before you expect to get home.
  • More sophisticated optimized time controls are available which may be compatible with your boilers. These automatically adjust the start and stop times dependent upon the temperature in your home.
  • Smart controls can allow heating systems to be adjusted remotely through the internet and device apps to save energy when you are not home.

Heating Water Temperatures

Boilers operate with greater efficiency when the heating water is set to lower temperatures. Gas fired condensing boilers operate more efficiently when the water temperature is set to 57°C or lower. At these temperatures the boiler will run in condensing mode with a 9% greater efficiency.


Keep radiators and convectors clear of obstructions and clean to optimal performance. Set thermostats and radiator valves to the required temperature, make incremental adjustments and do not use them as on/off switches.


Ensure your heating equipment is serviced regularly in accordance with manufacturers recommendations to keep it safe and working efficiently.

Hot Water

  • Take showers instead of baths. This is a great way to save money on your energy bills. A five minute shower can use about a third of the water of a bath. You could consider taking an even shorter shower.
  • Fitting a water efficient shower head – these can give the same feel as a standard shower head, while using less water, and less energy too.
  • Heat recovery system – this is more expensive, and will be easier to fit when you are refurbishing your shower anyway. It recovers heat from the hot water that runs down the drain, and uses it to pre-heat water for the shower, cutting your water heating bills.
  • Financial savings can be even more if you have a water meter fitted.

Hot Water — Simple Energy Advice


  • Low Energy Lighting - Fitting a low energy bulb whenever you change a lightbulb will cut your electricity bill without having any other impact on your household. LEDs are the most efficient type of lighting and last a lot longer than old fashioned filament bulbs and fluorescent lamps.
  • Always turn your lights off when you leave a room, even if just for a minute.
  • Be conscious of how many lights you have on and whether you need them all on.
  • Use a sensor to control external lights so they are only on when they need to be. Ensure sensors are kept clean and unobstructed.
  • When the wiring is being done, you should arrange your light switches so that it is convenient to turn them off. For example, at the top and bottom of stairs, each end of a hallway or each door to a room.
  • Consider dimming controls to reduce the energy used by your lighting.

Low Energy Lighting — Simple Energy Advice

Guide to energy efficient lighting - Energy Saving Trust



Heat loss through uninsulated walls can be dramatically improved by providing insulation. Walls with air cavities can be filled with insulation such as blown mineral fibre. Solid walls can be improved with the addition of insulated cladding and internal linings.

Checking for cavity walls — Simple Energy Advice

Windows & doors

Windows are the elements of a building with the poorest insulating properties. Modern high performance double and treble glazed windows can reduce heat loss by five times when compared with old single glazed windows.

Significant savings can also be made from upgrading to a thicker, more insulated door. Many PVC doors are thin so upgrading to a composite door as part of other house upgrades, can save the average household approximately £30 a year.


Current regulations require a 270mm minimum thickness of mineral quilt. If your property is more than ten years old, then there is a good chance it could benefit from additional loft insulation material.


Insulating your ground floor is a great way to keep your property warm. Generally speaking, you only need to insulate the ground floor. If you're on an upper floor, you don't usually need to insulate your floor space. However, you should consider insulating any floors that are above unheated spaces such as garages, as you could be losing a lot of heat through those.

Floor insulation information and advice - Energy Saving Trust

Insulating tanks, pipes and radiators

Insulating your water tank, pipes and radiators is a quick and easy way to save money on your bills.

Insulating tanks, pipes and radiators - Energy Saving Trust


Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy – and money. When draughts are uncontrolled they let in too much cold air and waste too much heat. To draught-proof your home, you should block up unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out. You should be careful not to block up permanent open vents provide to:

  • Areas where there are open fires or open flues.
  • Rooms where a lot of moisture is produced, such as the kitchen, bathrooms and utility rooms.

A helpful guide to draught-proofing - Energy Saving Trust


Inclusion of a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery unit (MVHR) in your home can be a great way of reducing your heating costs. Your home needs to be as airtight and well insulated as possible. As warm stale air is sucked out of your 'wet' rooms it goes through ductwork to the heat exchanger. At this point the heat is removed from the warm stale air and passed to the cool fresh air drawn from outside. These systems can be up to 90% efficient. Ensure dirty filters are cleaned or replaced and controls are set correctly.

Financial assistance

If you need help paying for home improvements, you may be able to get a loan through the Green Deal, but you'll have to pay this back.


Affordable Warmth Obligation - You might be able to get help for energy-saving improvements to your home if you either:

  • claim certain benefits and live in private housing (for example you own your home or rent from a private landlord)
  • live in social housing


Energy Suppliers

Switching energy tariff or supplier

You can compare and switch energy tariff or supplier by shopping around for a cheaper or greener new energy deal. You'll need the name of your supplier and tariff - this will be on your energy bill. You can get a more accurate quote if you know your annual consumption, you can find this on your annual statement from your current energy supplier.

OFGEM - Office of Gas and Electricity Markets

Switching energy tariff or supplier | Ofgem

Citizens Advice

You can use the price comparison tool to compare prices from different energy suppliers.

Compare Gas & Electricity Prices - Citizens Advice Energy Comparison

Energy Saving Trust

Switching your energy supplier - Energy Saving Trust

Smart Meters

Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity you're using via a remote connection to your energy supplier. They come with an in-home display screen to help you visualise your energy usage and support you to reduce your energy consumption.

Smart meters: all you need to know - Energy Saving Trust

Financial Help, Support & Grants

Groundwork Trust

Groundwork Trust's Green Doctors are energy efficiency experts who visit people in their homes across the UK, helping vulnerable households to save money and stay warm and well. With 1 in 10 households in the UK experiencing fuel poverty, it's a crucial lifeline for many residents.

Green Doctor

Here are some of the free services they offer when you sign up for a visit:

  • Identifying causes of heat loss in your home
  • Helping identify and tackle damp or mould problems
  • Offering useful tips for saving energy and water whilst ensuring your home stays safe and comfortable
  • Installing small energy and water efficiency measures, such as draft excluders
  • Supporting you to switch energy providers to save money
  • Supporting you to access other support, such as emergency heating, government subsidies or grants, advice on energy or water debt.

Visit the Green Doctor website for more information


North Northamptonshire Council

Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service (N.E.S.S.) offers a full benefit check and independent advice on claiming additional income. It provides:

  • advice on managing your energy bills
  • help to check your energy bill tariffs
  • energy efficiency advice
  • free energy saving devices
  • advice on financial entitlements including grants and regular income

Energy, heating and light - Adult social services (northamptonshire.gov.uk)

Disabled facilities grants, HomeMove grants and renovation grants could help disabled residents in their properties or help renovate properties to a higher standard. Please contact North Northamptonshire Council to apply or request further information on the grants available.


Energy Suppliers

Warm Homes Fund has been established by National Grid to support local authorities to address some of the issues affecting fuel poor households.

Your energy supplier can help if you are having difficulties with your gas and electric bills. You can get other grants and benefits too. Your options will depend on your situation.

Contact your supplier as soon as you can if you are worried about paying your energy bills. Suppliers must work with you to agree on a payment plan you can afford under Ofgem rules. This includes reviewing a plan you have agreed before.

You can ask for:

Home energy grants

You can check relevant local grants that you might be eligible for.

Home energy grants — Simple Energy Advice

Winter Fuel Payment

The Winter Fuel Payment is a payment of between £100 and £300 to help towards your winter heating bills. If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 and you get the State Pension or another social security benefit, then you may be eligible. You usually get a payment automatically if you're eligible. If you are eligible but do not get paid automatically, you will need to make a claim.

Winter Fuel Payment — Simple Energy Advice

Warm Home Discount

The Warm Home Discount is a one off discount of £140 off your winter electricity bill between September and March. You may be eligible if you claim the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or are on a low income. You will need to contact your supplier to find out more.

Warm Home Discount — Simple Energy Advice

Cold Weather Payment

You could receive a payment of £25 if the average temperature in your area drops below zero for seven days in a row. You may be eligible if you claim certain means-tested benefits.

Cold Weather Payment — Simple Energy Advice

Energy Company Obligation

ECO is the main scheme for supporting energy efficiency improvements including insulation and some heating improvements in low income and vulnerable households. You may qualify for ECO if you claim certain benefits and meet other requirements. Improvements include cavity wall insulation and loft insulation. It may also be possible to get help with replacing an inefficient boiler or other heating system.

Energy Company Obligation — Simple Energy Advice

Stockburn Memorial Trust Fund

The Stockburn Memorial Trust Fund is a charity for people residing in the Borough of Kettering who are both sick and poor. Persons are visited at home by a Trustee when an application form is completed. Applications may be made to:

Stockburn Memorial Trust Fund
c/o Lamb and Holmes
West Street
NN16 0AZ

Fuel grants - local schemes

Kettering Charities is run by the Town Council. It offers a one off payment to residents of Kettering town and Barton Seagrave to help with fuel costs. Payments are made in December of each year. Applications are invited from widows, widowers or single persons who are over the statutory retirement age who live alone.

Find out more on our charities page.

Renewable Heat Incentive

The RHI is a government scheme to support renewable heating systems like heat pumps. If you install a system that meets all the scheme requirements, you can be paid for every unit of renewable heat you produce for a number of years.

Renewable Heat Incentive — Simple Energy Advice


Two schemes:


To join the Domestic RHI, the property your renewable heating system is in must be capable of getting a domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI) | Ofgem



Businesses, public sector and non-profit organisations can apply if equipment was installed in England after 15 July 2009.

Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) | Ofgem

Green Deal: energy saving for your home

If you need help paying for home improvements, you may be able to get a loan through the Green Deal, but you'll have to pay this back.


Affordable Warmth Obligation

You might be able to get help for energy-saving improvements to your home if you either:

  • claim certain benefits and live in private housing (for example you own your home or rent from a private landlord)
  • live in social housing


Home Improvements for Tenants

If you rent from a private landlord, you may think there's not much you can do to your home to save energy. But it may be possible to get some of the improvements you want even though you don't own the building. There are some things that a landlord has to do when they rent out a property.

Home Improvements For Tenants — Simple Energy Advice

Making improvements yourself

If you can get funding or can pay for improvements yourself, then your landlord will usually be happy for these to go ahead. They may also be willing to chip in. If you can find funding to cover the full cost of the work, then your landlord must give their permission for most common energy improvements, unless they have a good reason.

Minimum Energy Standards

A landlord can't rent out a property with a rating of F or G, unless they have a good reason. This rule applies every time they sign a new tenancy. The landlord will need to make energy improvements to your home to bring it up to an E rating or better by then, unless they can claim a valid reason not to. If your home has an EPC rating of F or G and your tenancy began before April 2018, your landlord will need to take steps to improve it to a minimum of E.

Complaining to the Council

A landlord has to make sure that the homes they rent out are safe to live in. If you think your home is too cold or damp to be safe, speak to your landlord about the problem. If they don't sort it out you can ask your Local Authority's private sector housing department to step in.


Heat Pumps

The government has announced £5,000 heat pump grants to help you switch from your existing gas boiler. Grants will be available from April 2022. Air source heat pumps look like air conditioning units on the outside of buildings. They use a refrigeration cycle to transfer the heat to radiators, underfloor heating and the hot water cylinder. There are also heat pumps that draw energy from the ground or water.

Heat pumps, which are powered by electricity, produce around three times the energy they use. This makes them much more efficient than a gas boiler.

Smart Export Guarantee

Large energy suppliers have to provide a SEG tariff to anyone who is eligible.

You may be able to get a SEG tariff if you have:

  • Solar PV – solar panels that generate electricity
  • Wind turbines – household-scale or rooftop
  • Micro CHP (with an electrical capacity of 50kW or less)

Smart Export Guarantee — Simple Energy Advice



Simple Energy Advice - Government endorsed site with recommendations for a way of understanding how houses and flats use energy, and how your home's energy use could be improved.

Simple Energy Advice

Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation offering advice on energy efficiency and clean energy solutions.

Home - Energy Saving Trust

Government services and information website - Housing and local services


Ofgem is the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. Our role is to protect consumers by working to deliver a greener, fairer energy system.

Welcome to Ofgem - the energy regulator for Great Britain | Ofgem

NEA's WASH Advice Service is a free support service providing advice to householders in England and Wales on their energy bills and keeping warm and safe in their home.

Member of the Public Home Page - NEA

Citizens Advice offer good quality, independent advice to give people the knowledge and the confidence to deal with problems.

Citizens Advice

North Northamptonshire Council


Eco Home Essentials is an ongoing project with the latest articles and information to help you improve the efficiency of your home and in turn save you some money.

Eco Home Essentials - Your Guide to Green Home Technologies (eco-home-essentials.co.uk)

Last updated: Thu, 02 Nov 2023 15:17