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How you can do your bit for the environment (and save money too)

We’re installing insulation on many of our blocks. This reduces the heat lost from your buildings so that you use less heating fuel; it keeps you warm and reduces your bills. This way, helping the environment goes hand in hand with helping your bank balance.

But what can you do in your own home to help the environment and save a bob or two?

As well as the Green Deal (for leaseholders), we think there are four areas where you can do your bit. Most of these will help save money in one way or another:

Your fuel bills

Gas and electricity prices are rising – but we’d all like to keep those costs down. Here’s how you can win the battle…

Our home energy advisors can visit your home and give tailored advice to help reduce your fuel bills. The advice focuses on how you use your home, rather than changes to windows or insulation. Our experience in Peabody properties shows we can save you between £100-£200 per year when you follow our advice.

To request a visit call Peabody Direct on 0800 022 440. You can also email sustainability@peabody.org.uk or talk to your Neighbourhood Manager and ask for a referral.

Tips on reducing fuel bills

Controlling your gas boiler or heating system. Do you feel comfortable that you know how to use it properly? We can help. Either call on our advice service, or watch our video.

Low energy lightbulbs. A lot of the electricity used in our households is through lighting. Old-fashioned bulbs use anywhere between 60W-100W to light your room.Modern efficient lightbulbs use between 4W-12W. You could slash your electricity bill by changing your lightbulbs. If you have spotlights in your kitchen ceiling, replace them with LED spots to save even more money. All low energy bulbs last 5-12 years, so replacement costs are very low.

Radiator foil. Did you know there’s a special material you can drop behind your radiator to stop heat leaking through walls? We recommend the Radflek radiator foil, which can chop £30-£80 off your heating bill for a cost of £16-£30.

Draught-proof your home. Windows and doors can let in draughts. It costs between £5-£8 to buy a roll of window draught proofing material or about £10-£20 for doors. It’s pretty cheap and a really effective way to slice a few quid off your energy bill. If you need help with draught proofing, contact our Handyperson Service.

Turn off at the wall. Appliances like TVs, digital TV boxes, DVD players and games consoles have 'standby' buttons. Did you know that when on standby, they still use electricity that you pay for? Turning them off at the wall overnight helps reduce your bills and reduces your fire risk, too.

Your water bills

Water is often called the 'forgotten' environmental problem… Most people don’t think water is a problem in our country because it rains so much. 

Unfortunately most of the people in our country live in south east England, which is a 'water stressed' area. That means there isn’t enough water to supply demand. We keep experiencing droughts and then periods of flooding. This is one of the consequences of climate change – changes to when it rains and how much it rains. The UK is trying to improve its strategic water reservoirs, and water bills will be increasing to achieve this.

The following tips are aimed at reducing your bill, and to help water companies manage water demand for a healthier environment.

Tips on reducing water bills. Make sure you’re paying the right water tariff. If Thames Water doesn’t know much about your property it will put you on a 'band 3 tariff' which is suitable for a house with several people and 2-4 bedrooms.

Install a water meter. Most people can reduce their water bills by using a water meter, to ensure they only pay for what they use. Some Peabody properties won’t be suitable for a water meter because of how the block of flats is constructed. To find out if you can have a meter installed, call Thames Water (or your water company if outside the Thames Water area).

What happens next? A Thames Water engineer will visit to assess your property for a meter. If you aren’t eligible, you’ll be placed on an “Assessed Household Charge”. If you live on your own you should be paying a lower tariff either on a meter or assessed basis. You could save almost £100 if you have a smaller household with just one or two people living there. Call on 0845 9200 888 or use the Thames Water website. Please note that Peabody is not responsible for your water supply or any installed meters.

Tips on reducing water use. If helping the environment is your main motivation, there are things you can do to be water-efficient.

  • Most of us love a long hot shower. If you want to save water, keep the long showers as a treat, and time your normal showers to around 4 minutes.
  • If you love a bath, try missing the odd bath and replacing it with a quick shower. These habits can be useful for when droughts are declared, so we don’t feel upset at water shortages.
See the Thames Water website for more details

Your rubbish

Almost everything can be recycled these days, but how does recycling keep costs down?

Throwing rubbish into landfill costs a lot. For every 1 tonne of rubbish, your council has to pay around £90. A borough like Islington will produce about 100,000 tonnes of rubbish every year. That’s about £9 million of council tax money it has to spend throwing stuff in the ground. What a waste!

Recycling, on the other hand, says that rubbish has value. The rubbish you put out for recycling will be sold for reprocessing. This dramatically reduces the council’s costs. You probably won’t see any of this saving directly, but with the reductions in council budgets, helping to reduce waste disposal costs could be the difference between keeping open a library or Sure Start Centre or losing it.

Tips on recycling. Different councils provide different recycling services to our estates and properties. We encourage you to recycle as much as possible.
You can usually recycle:

  • Paper and paper products like telephone books
  • Metals, like tin cans and drinks cans
  • Kitchen foil, which is made of metal (don't worry if it's dirty)
  • Plastics, like margarine tubs and yoghurt pots
  • Cardboard - cereal boxes or ready meal sleeves, that kind of thing
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Aerosol cans - deodorant, hairspray and anti-freeze canisters and similar
  • Milk cartons, juice cartons and Tetrapak containers
  • Electronic equipment like batteries, mobile phones, TVs and computers

Some estates or houses may also have food waste collections.

Sometimes paper, cardboards and foils are covered in a thin layer of plastic. This can’t be recycled. You can try tearing the product to see if it has a plastic covering (it will be difficult to tear and you’ll see a thin plastic coating tear separately).

Your local council will usually collect larger items, like washing machines, which are also sent for recycling.

Your food

Growing food has a significant impact on the environment as well as your pocket. And you could save £600 a year by making a few simple changes.

How does food affect the environment?

Growing crops like wheat (for bread and farm feed), rice, vegetables and fruits takes a lot of water and fertiliser. Fertiliser is good for plants, but it leaks from farmlands into rivers and the sea, where it chokes fish and other animals and the amount of water used shrinks rivers.
Then there’s the energy used in growing crops and animals like cows, chickens, pigs and in catching fish. Huge amounts of carbon are emitted to the atmosphere every year. 
Wasting food has a huge impact on the environment and your pocket.

How much money can you save? There is good research which shows that most people in the UK can save about £50 per month by adopting different buying and eating habits. That’s £600 per year! Think what you could do with that.

We at Peabody support the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign which is choc-full of practical advice on reducing shopping costs and cooking healthy, tasty, cheap food (you can even eat chips). 

Love Food, Hate Waste say that Londoners like you can save £50 a month with five simple actions. Visit the links below to find out how you can start planning your meals for the week, use up leftovers and reduce your shopping bill.

More information

Find out more on the Met Office website