Families share simple ways they slashed energy bills – could you save £938?

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UK households can save £938 a year and reduce their carbon output by 1.7 tonnes a year, according to BT’s Smarter Living Challenge. Britons who took part in the challenge have been using smart plugs, voice-activated devices and smart meters to reduce their energy consumption.

Lisa, from Wales, said that “small tweaks” can make a big difference, with her smart meter helping her keep track of her energy use.

She said: “I panicked when my energy usage shot up, but this motivated me to pay attention to my smart meter and after two weeks it went back to normal.

“I’ve started using a voice-activated device more because you can tune it in with other [devices].

“It reminds us of things – to turn things off, which I wasn’t doing.

“We’ve [bought] a few smart light appliances… and we can tell the device [to] turn them off.”

Rebecca, from Glasgow, said that her smart plugs have been a big help in reducing her energy bills.

She said: “I used to leave plugs on because they were really difficult to access – behind bookshelves or behind beds – so I’d just leave them on all the time.

“Now I can turn them off with my phone.”

Research by BT found that 45 percent of respondents said that technology that monitors or tracks energy makes it easier to see the difference they can make.

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Almost two thirds of people who took part in the challenge have kept up with the sustainable living practices that they learnt during the project.

Tristram, from London, said: “I have a smart speaker installed in four rooms, which means I can control different devices by voice to make life easier.

“I have switches set up on devices like the TV that have a standby function – the switch kills power completely so the TV doesn’t sit in standby.”

A third of those who took on the challenge said that their energy bills had not risen as much as they may have done, thanks to the actions they put into practice.

Energy-saving tips from the households include:

  • Monitor and take note of energy use at different times of the day and week
  • Start simple with smart tech, such as a smart plug that can be controlled with an app. This helps gradually build confidence with the devices
  • Install a smart meter – They are free to set up and will show how much energy is being used and how much it costs
  • Use voice-activated tech that can turn off all devices when leaving the house
  • Keep an open mind – There are a variety of changes that a person can try, and if one doesn’t work, try something else

Gabrielle Ginér, head of Environmental Sustainability at BT Group, said that energy use is now “high on the agenda” for consumers.

She said: “It’s great to see how many participants see the value technology can bring when tracking their energy use, particularly given its impact on household bill rises.

“Whether or not they have access to smart technology, there are many ways in which households can be more energy efficient.

“Helping households make more sustainable choices forms part of our plans to help customers avoid 60 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.”

Other smart tech to consider includes smart thermostats, which can be connected to the boiler to control heating remotely.

Smart assistant devices also enable people to control their devices by voice activation.

Options for this include Nest, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod.

Apps like the Energy Cost Calculator can show which appliances are using the most energy while Joulebug can help families develop more sustainable habits.

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