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Top energy saving tips

Our top tips to help you manage your energy bill and save energy around the house.

For help with any of the information and support covered in this article, please contact our energy advisers on 0303 123 9999 (please select option 3) or email [email protected]. We can advise you on a wide range of energy issues, including information on benefits and financial support you may be entitled to.

You can access further information on our energy advice page.

1. Choose energy-efficient light bulbs and lighting solutions

You might need to have the lights on more as the days get shorter and the evenings darker. Low lighting can impact your mental health, increase your risk of a fall or injury, and make everyday tasks harder – so it’s important that you don’t turn off the lights when you need them. Instead, choose energy efficient bulbs and lighting solutions to save energy.

Changing your light bulbs is an easy, practical way to improve your lighting at home and potentially reduce your energy bill. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are the most energy efficient type of bulb. They last five times longer than traditional bulbs, so while they may be more expensive to buy, they could help you save money in the long run. To save money, you might want to replace your old bulbs only when they’ve burned out or in the spaces where you spend most of your time.

Before you buy new bulbs, check that they are compatible with your current light fittings.

Find out about energy-efficient bulbs or visit the Thomas Pocklington Trust website for detailed information on lighting and how to improve your lighting at home.

LED bulbs are available to buy in the RNIB Shop.

2. Take regular meter readings

Taking regular, accurate meter readings could help you save money on your energy bill. If you don’t give your energy provider a meter reading, they might send you an estimated bill. You could end up paying more, or less, than you should. If you pay less, you may be left with a large bill later to make up for any underpayments.

It’s also worth taking a meter reading before your energy tariff/rate is due to change, so you can take advantage of any savings.

Living with sight loss can make it harder to read your meter, particularly if it’s an older style of meter or in a difficult-to-reach spot. If your meter isn’t accessible, it’s worth asking your energy provider what support they offer. They may, for example, offer to install a smart meter if you would like one or send someone out to read your meter so your bills are accurate.

3. Keep on top of your energy use with a smart meter and accessible in-home display (AIHD)

A smart meter sends accurate, automatic meter-readings to your supplier, so your bills reflect your energy usage. It also means you don’t have to worry about accessing and reading your meter.

If you find it hard to access the digital display or controls on your smart meter, an accessible in-home display (AIHD) could help. An AIHD works with your smart meter to help you manage how much energy you use. They have large, tactile buttons, a high-contrast display, and a text-to-speech function.

Choosing a smart meter and AIHD is a personal decision based on your individual circumstances. You may be entitled to a free smart meter and AIHD from your energy supplier. Find out more about accessible in-home displays.

4. Request bills in your preferred format

Your energy provider must give you your bill in your preferred format (such as braille, large print, or audio) if you request it.

You’ll need to contact your provider directly to receive your bills in an alternative format. If you have any issues with this, you can contact RNIB’s energy advice team for information and support if you wish to make a complaint.

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales your request is likely to be a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act protects people from discrimination, including disability discrimination. Your energy provider has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to avoid putting people with disabilities at a substantial disadvantage compared to people who are not disabled. In Northern Ireland, similar legislation called the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) applies. In the Isle of Man, the Isle of Man Equality Act 2017 applies.

Our Equality Act guide has more information, as well as an example complaint letter.

5. Unplug appliances if you don’t use them often

Electronic appliances left on standby still use some electricity so unplugging them when they’re not in use could save you money on your electricity bill. Many devices also now have an ‘eco-mode’ to reduce how much energy they use while on standby.

Many people living with sight loss use assistive technology at home to stay independent. Some of these devices may need to be left plugged in, such as your internet modem and voice assistant (Alexa). Our energy advice team can help you find other solutions to save energy around the home, that work for you and your everyday life.

The Energy Saving Trust has more ideas and tips to help you save energy at home.

6. Make your home a draught-free zone

Draught-proofing is a cheap, effective way to keep your home warmer and save money on your energy bill. Households could save up to £45 a year draught proofing around windows and doors, so it’s worth thinking about small changes you can make around the house. The amount you could save depends on your individual circumstances, including the size of your home.

Here are some ways you can get started:

  • Keep internal doors leading to rooms you don’t heat (such as your spare room) closed. It’s also worth closing internal doors between your front door and living space, if possible.
  • Is your front door letting the cold air in? Keyholes, letterboxes, and gaps underneath your front door can all contribute to draughts. One solution is to place a draught excluder (a long cushion) at the foot of your front door to block the cold air. These are available to buy, or you could even DIY one out of spare fabric or things you have around the house.
  • Closing your curtains at night can help stop draughts and keep the heat in. If you want to go a step further, thermal curtains are even more effective.

The Energy Saving Trust has more information and advice about draught-proofing your home.

7. Check if you’re entitled to help with major energy saving changes

Keeping the heat in during cold weather can be a challenge, particularly if you have an older home. Although you can reduce energy loss with some small changes, your home might benefit from larger improvements to make it more energy efficient. Energy efficient homes are easier to keep warm and use less energy, saving you money on your energy bill.

For example, insulating your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy loss. It helps reduce energy lost through your roof, walls, and flooring.

Adding insulation and making other improvements can be expensive, and there are grants available to help with the cost of:

  • Installing insulation
  • Upgrading your central heating
  • Replacing your old boiler
  • Repairing your current boiler so it’s more energy efficient.

For information and advice about support in your area, please contact our energy advisers on 0303 123 9999 (please select option 3) or email [email protected].

8. Save time and energy with Bumpons

Bumpons are raised tactile dots you can stick on to almost anything around your home or office to make it easier to identify. You can use them to mark energy-efficient settings on different appliances, to help manage how much energy you use.

If you have a mechanical thermostat, adding Bumpons to your preferred temperature setting can make it easier to line up temperatures and check the thermostat is set correctly.

You can stick Bumpons to almost anything, from your microwave to your washing machine. You could use a Bumpon to mark the 30-degree wash cycle on your machine, so you can find it easily. Washing your clothes at a lower temperature can help you save energy and make your clothes last longer.

Bumpons and other tactile labelling solutions are available to buy in the RNIB shop.

9. Talk to an RNIB energy adviser

We’re here to help if you’re worried about the cost of energy. Our friendly advisers provide support on a wide range of energy issues, including information on benefits and financial support you may be entitled to, as well as energy saving methods specific to your personal circumstances.

Call us on 0303 123 9999 (please select option 3) or email [email protected] to talk to an energy adviser.