I think many people believe that using renewable energy sources is more costly. Even I was one of these people, until now. A few years back, Ben and I switched to a green electricity company, trying to do our bit, but the bills was so high compared to our previous company that we had to switch back. We earnt much less back then and had a baby on the way. As much as we’d have liked to, we couldn’t afford to pay a premium to be greener back then. We felt forced to have to use non-renewable energy. Luckily, times are changing and nowadays it is possible to save money by using renewable energy. In this blog post I’ll tell you how, from our own personal experience.
Switching to a low cost green energy tariff
As mentioned above, our only previous experience when trying to change to a renewable energy supplier was that it was more costly. So we were very surprised last year when we did a price comparison for our energy suppliers (both gas and electric) and Bulb was the cheapest for us! If you don’t already know, then Bulb are a 100% renewable electricity company and a 10% green gas company. They also support a lot of individual energy farms in the UK and pass any savings they get onto their customers, constantly trying to keep prices as low as possible. They did put our prices up once, when all the energy companies had to, but they have also reduced them again instead of leaving the prices inflated.
We were able to knock £264 off our annual bill by switching to Bulb and we had £50 credit off our first bill.
Selling solar power back to the grid
We have solar panels on our home and we are able to sell any energy we don’t use, that we create, back to the grid. We have something called a Feed in Tariff (FIT) and we send meter readings from our solar panels to British Gas every three months. Then we receive a cheque a few days later in the post – awesome! These four payments total two-thirds of our annual energy bills (gas and electric), so that’s quite a saving.
We were lucky to have the solar panels already installed on our home when we purchased it which meant the tariff transferred straight over to us. In the future we will definitely look for properties with solar panels or consider investing in some for the great savings. The average household could save £380 per year on electricity just by using the solar energy produced! That’s before even receiving any money back for the surplus.
Even if we can’t afford to buy solar panels outright in the future, I would definitely look into a scheme to have them installed for free. This means the company doing the scheme gets to benefit from the excess produced, so they sell it back to the grid and get the payments, but we’d still get reduced bills and use as much solar power as we can before needing to use the grid.
Diverting surplus solar power to our hot water tank with Immersun
Not long after moving in, we had to have our water tank replaced. Whilst doing so, the plumber noticed we had solar panels and suggested something called Immersun. It wasn’t too expensive and it has linked our solar panels to our hot water tank too. It diverts surplus energy from our solar panels to our hot water system helping to reduce our bills by up to £250 per year.
Our solar panels just keep saving us money!
Investing in a log burner
We always love to find ways that make our home more eco-friendly, save money and are enjoyable too. The best example of this is our log burner!
The fireplace was one of the first things I wanted gone after moving into our home. It was a really ugly stone fireplace with a big slab of concrete that jutted into the room. It was a massive eyesore and needed to go. It didn’t even have a fireplace in it, just a huge lump of concrete and the chimney was boarded up from the inside. We saved back a bunch of cash when we moved as our entire home needed doing-up.
We invested in a log burner and it was a great decision. It creates a lovely ambience on a cold winters evening and has also been very cost-effective with regards to heating our home, so far. It’s definitely going to get pricier, but in the four years we’ve had our log burner we’ve been able to source all our logs and wood for free!
Family and friends have been able to provide us with their unwanted wood whenever they’ve had a tree cut down or heard of someone with wood to get rid of. We’ve been their first port of call! Ben’s mum also worked somewhere that had its own woods and they would call us whenever trees were felled so we could have the wood. We also keep an eye on Facebook Marketplace to see if we can find free wood.
(Just to note you should never just take wood you find lying around in woods and forests. In some counties you can apply for a licence to give you permission to collect felled wood on Forestry Commission owned land, otherwise you’ll need permission from the landowner.)
Whereas a few years ago we were paying a premium to use green energy at home, we are now realising that today it is actually a more cost-effective solution!
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