Writing the manual: part #3

by Jez Smith

Six months update

My partner and I set ourselves a goal as the increase in energy prices become apparent last summer. At first, we decided to try and reduce our gas and electricity bills by 10% but after the price hikes were announced, we decided to try and keep our bills the same or reduce them. This would mean a reduction in electricity usage of 12% and 18% for gas.

At the beginning of 02/2012 we received our twice-yearly bill. We were delighted to find that we had cut our electricity usage by around 20% and our gas around 30% on the 07/2011-01/2012 compared to 07/2010-01/2011.

Here are 11 changes that we’ve made to our home that may have made a difference.

  • Turning down the thermostat by a few degrees
  • Switching off appliances at the wall when they’re not in use
  • Foil behind the radiators
  • Plastic glazing over most windows
  • Draught excluder on the front door
  • Turning off lights when they’re not in use
  • Sharing bathwater
  • Turning off the shower when soaping
  • Using our mobile phone chargers less
  • Switching our house phone to one that doesn’t use electricity
  • Occasionally defrosting the fridge/freezer and cleaning the back

For the period of 01/2012-07/2012 our target is to match the 20% and 30% reduction of energy use against 01/2011-07/2011.


We haven’t kept up our intention of regularly recording our gas and electricity readings on imeasure, though we still do it occasionally.

Bike to work

I got my new bike in 09/2011 and after a false start then, I started riding to and from work reasonably regularly from 10/2011. I now cycle to work 2-3 times per week.

Local Meeting

Our sustainability group efforts at Westminster Meeting have more-or-less reached a standstill, unfortunately. However, our premises committee are developing a strategic vision, with particular reference to accessibility and sustainability issues.

At Peckham Meeting, which is smaller and meets less regularly, there has been more impetus and some of us are continuing to meet monthly to discuss issues and share successes.

Britain Yearly Meeting

Britain Yearly Meeting has asked all local meetings to fill in a check-up of their sustainability activities, extracted from the Sustainability Toolkit. See www.quaker.org.uk/sustainability for more information about this.

The letters of the word 'Green' looking like a hedge among a riot of colour

Going green with joy. Photo: Erin_Beth/flickr/CC

One thought on “Writing the manual: part #3

  1. Nice work on the bills Jez. I keep a record of our annual meter readings, and we’ve managed to cut gas use by 28% in the last two years (and those were the cold winters) – we’ll see where we are at this May. Electricity has been tougher – down 11% but then back up 2%, I think mainly because I use a electric heater in winter to keep my study warm, thus avoiding heating the whole house. By the way, those real time electicity monitors are really fun and easy to use, and show up what really eats power and what doesn’t.

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