Bills are an annoying part of student lives. You often sign a “Bargain” housing contract, only to discover its lacking heating, water, gas and internet. Luckily I manged to get a bills-included rent package, which saved a lot of hassle and meant we weren’t constantly turning lights and heating (when the boiler worked) off. NUS have put together some great energy-saving tips which should save you a few pennies over the year, here they are! And they aren’t just applicable to students either, I might be working fill-time this year but even so still feel the pinch at the end of the month…
1. Join in with your University’s annual Student Switch Off. The not-for-profit campaign organised by the NUS to encourage students to save energy when living in halls of residence. Not only can you all club together and do something good for the environment, you can turn it into a bit of a competition! For those amongst us with a competitive streak , there’s tubs of Ben & Jerry’s and tickets for nights out on offer, now that’s got to be worth it! Visit www.studentswitchoff.org/unis to find out what’s going on at your University. Image source.
2. Minimize your consumption of natural resources. In other words – switch things off! We are all guilty of leaving the light on when we leave the room, coming home to an absolutely boiling flat after forgetting to switch the heating or radiators off when we left at 7am this morning, and falling asleep with the telly on after a late night TV marathon. If it helps, leave little ‘Switch me off!’ stickers around the house, then there’s no excuse!
3. Sharing is caring. Have a mass brew making session by boiling the kettle only once an hour (ludicrous we know) and cook together with your flatmates. It’s a great chance to socialise over a brew and a biscuit as well as cut down on the amount of energy you are using, plus it might be a nice change from cereal, or beans on toast. Snuggling up in cosy clothes in always great too – cover up and turn the heating down! Image source.
4. Put a lid on it! No, we’re not asking you to do a sponsored silence but instead to put a lid on the pan when you’re cooking those Nigella-style dishes – it’s a great way to save time when cooking as it traps the heat in the pan and saves you loads of energy and dosh too! I find using my slow cooker to be a great help too!
5. Be wise with paper. We each use 4.48 trees-worth of paper per year and thinking of little old you vs. the size of a tree well, that’s a lot isn’t it. Don’t take leaflets off those pesky street promoters and then just bin them, don’t print off millions of lecture slides if you don’t actually need them, try and print off double sided, re-use your blank sides for study notes and recycle! Simple really. Don’t let the amount of ‘DON’TS’ put you off though.
6. Don’t wash yourself, ever. No don’t worry, we are only joking with this one. But taking more showers than baths will help to eliminate the amount of water wastage. Maybe make those showers a little shorter as well, and cut out a few songs from your daily shower singing playlist (we all do it). Try not to leave the tap running whilst you’re brushing your teeth and get your flatmates to give you any washing they need doing if you don’t quite have enough for a wash.
7. Take public transport, or car share. We all want those pesky fuel charges to stop going up but to combat heavy prices and to save a bit of money don’t be lazy and walk to your lectures or, if it’s a bit too far, jump on the bus. You don’t really need your car at Uni but if it’s a necessity, fill your car up with fellow students if you are all going in the same direction, to save you all driving separately. Car sharing is a great way to save a bit of petrol and you can do it for free via sites such as Lift share (https://liftshare.com/uk).
8. Take your own shopping bags. We’ve all got that drawer in our house that is overflowing with plastic bags from various supermarket trips so stop the avalanche and start taking them with you on your food shop. Or, better still, invest in some ‘bags for life’ which are much sturdier and have a lot more room! Image source.
9. Get yourself an NUS extra card. To treat yourself for being such a green student of course! We all need to indulge once in a while and if you’re off out for food, drinks or to the cinema, invite your flatmates and friends along to make use of your discount. All of the electricity will be off, no cooking will be taking place and your flat will be having a nice bit of down time, just like you!
This post was produced in collaboration with NUS & Co-Operative Energy, all opinions are my own.
What are your energy saving tips? Any quirky ways to reduce bills?