Tips To Save Energy As A Student | TOTUM
Holly BarrowDecember 19th

The current cost of living crisis is impacting millions of Brits, and students are certainly no exception.

With inflation at record levels and energy bills sky high, people are looking for the best ways to cut costs and keep their energy bills as low as possible.

If you're looking for the best tips to save energy as a student, we've got you covered...


Can students get help with energy bills?

Before we get into our top tips for reducing energy costs, we thought we'd highlight some of the help available out there for students.

Unfortunately, when the government's energy rebate scheme was announced back in February, the guidance was vague to say the least.

Rishi Sunak initially announced that UK households would receive a £200 energy bill credit that customers would then have to pay back over a five year period. However, after facing backlash from the public, the government doubled the amount each household would receive - making the credit £400 - and most importantly removed the requirement for households to pay this back.

But when it comes to students accessing this grant, things become a little complicated.

working from home

First thing's first, whether you live alone or in a house of eight, it's important to note that the £400 payment is per household, not per person. So someone living alone will receive the same as a house of multiple people.

Secondly, whether you as a student can access this help depends on your personal circumstances. The government has confirmed that landlords are legally required to pass the rebate on to tenants who pay their energy bill as part of their rent.

However this can be a little less straightforward depending on the type of property you live in.

Renting from a private landlord

If you rent from a private landlord and your tenancy agreement allows your landlord to charge you for increased energy prices and they have done so, you will be entitled to claim the £400 grant.

If your landlord has not increased your energy bills, they can keep the grant to an extent - but only the amount that covers the additional cost. Any money left over should go to you.


Renting in university halls

When it comes to student halls, things are even more ambiguous. There is no clear guidance on whether students can access the £400 payment if they're renting a room in university halls.

Aside from the government's £400 grant, you may be able to access additional support from either your energy supplier or your university.

Universities offer hardship funds to those struggling to cover costs, so make sure to reach out if you need support.

Tips to save energy as a student

It goes without saying that any individual hacks for reducing energy costs can only go so far in the current climate, but every little helps!

Here are our top energy saving tips for students...

1. Choose a lower temperature when washing clothes


Let's be honest, the majority of us use the same setting on our washing machines each time we put a wash on - it seems to do the job so we stick with it.

But did you know that the higher the temperature of your washing machine cycle, the more energy you're using?

It's quite obvious when you think about it, but washing your clothes at a temperature of 30° uses around 40% less energy than cycles set at a higher temperature. While household linen (bedding etc.), underwear and towels should be washed at 60°C to prevent any germs spreading, it's fine to wash most clothing items at 30-40°C and is a great way to cut back on energy usage!

2. Avoid the tumble dryer


During the winter months, we're far more likely to rely on tumble dryers to help speed up the clothes drying process thanks to the little sun we get here in the UK.

However, tumble dryers are one of the worst appliances for draining energy, using an average of 2.50kWh per cycle.

Instead, why not invest in a heated clothes airer? If you live with a group of other students, you could all chip in to split the cost.

These cost pennies to run as opposed to tumble dryers which are far more expensive and you can find them at the likes of Amazon, Wilko and Dunelm from around £15.99 to £55 depending on the size and type you opt for.

Remember to make the most of your TOTUM student discount and take advantage of a six month free Amazon Prime Student trial, 10% off £50 online spend at Wilko, and 15% off domestic appliances at Russell Hobbs.

3. Use lamps rather than overhead lights


If possible, use lamps as opposed to overhead lights to reduce energy usage.

Generally, lamps use fewer watts than ceiling lights - obviously depending on the wattage of the bulb used!

LED lamps are cheaper to run than energy saving bulbs, so it's well worth investing in a few and dotting them around your house.

Plus, who wants to relax with the 'big light' on anyway?! Lamps create a far cosier atmosphere which is reason enough to make the switch (pardon the pun) if you ask us...

As a TOTUM member, you can shop cosy, ambient lighting without breaking the bank - get 15% off at BHS, 10% off at Cult, 11% off at URBANARA and more...

4. Turn down your thermostat


Energy experts at uSwitch estimate that turning down your thermostat by just one degree can save as much as £128 over the course of a year.

In December 2021, the energy supplier also reported that one in five UK households were setting their thermostats at temperatures higher than the popular holiday destination Lanzarote, warning that Brits could be unnecessarily racking up their energy bills as a result.

Turning your heating down reduces the energy output your radiators need to reach your desired temperature, meaning less watts of energy are used overall.

If you tend to set your thermostat at 22°C and higher, it could be worth turning it down a few notches!

5. Avoid overfilling your kettle when boiling water


This is such a simple one but believe it or not, the humble kettle uses more electricity each year than an electric oven, hob or microwave.

Constantly filling a kettle - and more crucially overfilling it - sees us using a great deal more electricity than we actually need to.

In 2019, visiting professor of chemical engineering at Strathclyde University told the Guardian that one simple trick we should all follow to reduce energy wastage is filling the kettle with the amount of water we actually need to use.

At the time, he estimated that filling the kettle correctly would save the average UK household £19 off their annual bill, and this will be far higher in the current climate.

Find out more about living sustainably and saving energy with Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK)

For further energy saving tips and tricks, remember to check out money-saving guru Martin Lewis' website

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