Thornhill Community Association Ltd

Energy Saving

Thinking about saving energy is boring and tedious, well that's what I thought!

Then I was shown how to save energy and more importantly save money and it's easy, even if you just follow our top tips you'll soon seen the pennies being saved.

Other, perhaps bigger changes that can be made are installing PV Panels on your roof, water harvesting, changing existing appliances into more energy efficient ones, and so on.

An easy way to see how much money your appliances use is to purchase a plug-in energy monitor. For example I monitored my 40" plasma TV - it uses a massive £102 per year electricity. I then compared it to newer TV's with similar specs on http://www.sust-it.netand i could save up to £80 per year!

My journey

Hello, I thought id talk you through my journey of saving energy and money. Im a resident in Thornhill and energy didn’t interest me initially but when you can see the money you can save by making simple changes it appealed to me.

Firstly, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) assessment was undertaken on my home. It rated it at ‘D’ in a scale of A-F (A being the best). So my home was not bad, but not good either.

They suggested I look into insulation, changing all light bulbs to energy saving bulbs etc. So with the help of Thornhill Community Energy Company Ltd I'm slowly but surely changing these things. The insulation was provided free by A & M. Then I had Photovoltaic (PV) panels put on my roof funded by Thornhill Community Energy Company ltd.

The next suggestion I was given was to try energy monitors on my appliances to see how much energy they individually used. Quite frankly I was horrified at my findings, who would think you could use a £100 a year just on your TV. It would still use half of that if it was on standby all the time.

So slowly, I’m beginning to replace my appliances with more energy efficient ones.

Although I’ve still got a long way to go, I've already noticed the difference when topping up my pre-payment meter im already saving nearly a third.

Il keep you updated with any more changes I make, and whether it makes a difference to my energy bills.


Insulation can be done all over the house in the cavity walls, floor and attic. There are lots of places with initiatives that provide this service for free.

Insultion of attic

Firstly they come and inspect the house, to see whether additional insulation is needed. With mine I found out that the house didn’t have a cavity wall as it’s a timber frame house but I was entitled to loft insulation. Then you make an appointment to carry out the work at a time that suits you. I made an appointment to do the work a fortnight later and they were in and out within 2 hours. I should now be that much cosier in the winter.

PV panels

On 19 July 2012, 16 photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed on the roof of the house by a local company, Micaul Solar/Egnida, and the panels have been generating electricity since, especially in this brilliant sunshine we’ve been having. The company were very good, the workmen were thorough, polite and quick (it only took about 7 hours).

Today 07/09/2012 the reading is 273 kilo-Watt-hours, so that much has been generated since the panels went live on 19 July.

Kilo-Watt-hours (kWh) is the unit of electricity from the mains as well. The idea of the PV panels is that when electricity is generated from the PV panels, the house will use that electricity first instead of drawing on the mains. So far we have gone from topping up £15 a week to now just £10.

In order to get full benefits of the PV panels I was told to do washing, tumble drying, etc during the day in order to reap the most rewards. Obviously this can't be done all the time but I do try to do as much as I can during the day when the sun is most prominent.

The panels were funded by Thornhill Community Energy Company Ltd, a new community initiative which has just started. This company raises money from donations or loans and installs the PV panels free, using the Government’s Feed in Tariff scheme to earn income from the electricity generated and using this to pay back the donations and loans. The company is a social enterprise meaning that any surplus income will be ploughed back into community activity. If you want to know more, click here.

Top tips on saving money

  • Turn your thermostat down. Reducing your room temperature by 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10 percent and typically saves around £60 per year.
  • If you have a programmer, set your heating and hot water to come on only when required rather than all the time.
  • Is your water too hot? Your cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C/140°F.
  • Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors.
  • Always turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Don't leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
  • If possible,fill up the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher: one full load uses less energy than two half loads.
  • Use energy saving lightbulbs. They last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs, and using one can save you around £55 over the lifetime of the bulb. This saving could be around £120 over its lifetime if you're replacing a high wattage incandescent bulb, or one used for more than a few hours a day. 
  • Adripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath, so fix leaking taps and make sure they're fully turned off!

Last Modified on: 05-12-2018