Calling all tenants: quick money-saving energy fixes

Terraced houses
Tenants of the world, unite (against expensive energy bills)!
"Improving your home's energy efficiency isn't just beneficial for you, it's a boon for your landlord too"
  • | by Emily Bater

The final days (and boys) of summer are well and truly behind us, and now's the time to start thinking about those dreaded winter energy bills.

If you're a tenant, you might feel powerless when it comes to your home's energy efficiency, but there are lots of ways to save money on gas and electric which don't involve making structural changes to your home

Turn it off

It's obvious but easy to forget - turning the lights off when you leave a room should become second nature. If you have any empty rooms, turn off the radiator and close the door to keep heat where you need it most.

Get into the habit of turning electrical appliances off at the mains rather than leaving them on standby. You might want to leave your digital TV recorder switched on to save your favourite recordings, so put this in a separate socket.

If you use extension sockets, arrange all the appliances you want to switch off overnight so you're able to turn them all off with just one switch.

Monitor your usage

Not to be confused with smart meters, which will replace existing gas and electricity meters by 2020, an energy monitor is a small digital device that allows you to track your home's electricity usage in real time. You can set daily limits for energy usage and set an alarm for when that limit has been reached.

You can get an energy monitor for free from some energy suppliers or your local council - call your supplier first to find out what they offer, but you can also buy them from most high street stores.

Get the right furnishings

Making your home more energy efficient is a good excuse to invest in some new furnishings. If you have hardwood floors, a few strategically-placed rugs will help keep rooms warm, as will heavy curtains.

Keep blankets by the side of the bed to help regulate temperature on cold nights and make sure you have the right tog duvet - high in winter, low in summer - to avoid turning on the heating unnecessarily.

Get water efficient too

When people think of saving energy, the first thing that comes to mind is heating and lighting, but hot water contributes hugely to the average energy bill.

One area to look for savings is in the shower. If you've got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank, you may be able to fit a shower head to reduce your hot water usage while still enjoying a proper shower. Some water companies give these away for free, so contact your supplier to find out.

Timing is everything

Putting the heating on a timer eliminates any chance of accidentally leaving it on all day.

Set the heating to come on a couple of hours before you're due to get out of bed, giving the house sufficient time to warm up, then set it to turn off around 30 minutes before you're due to leave the house, so no precious warmth is wasted.

In the evening, set the heating to go off around 30 minutes before you go to bed, so it's not needlessly on when you're under the duvet.

Speak to your landlord

It may be worth having a word with your landlord - after all, improving your home's energy efficiency isn't just beneficial for you, it's a boon for your landlord too.

Improved energy efficiency can make the property more valuable, as landlords are legally obliged to share the property's Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when they market it. So, improving  it will make properties easier to rent.

Energy saving measures don't have be costly - landlords can take advantage of grants and free advice before installing measures like insulation, LED light bulbs or a new central heating system.

Tenants can also access funding, as long as the landlord has given permission for the measures to be carried out.


The quickest way of saving money on energy is to compare providers - if you find that your current supplier isn't offering you the best rate, you can switch.

Research from Ofgem in July 2014 showed that around three-quarters of tenants have never switched their energy supplier. Surprisingly, 20% of tenants surveyed had no idea they could switch.

It can take up to two months for switching to complete, so you'll want to move fast before the winter winds set in.'s energy expert, Jeremy Cryer, said: "If you're paying the bills yourself, rather than through the landlord as part of a 'rent plus bills' arrangement, then you have a right to decide how you spend your money and who you get your services from.

"It's a good idea to inform your landlord of any changes you want to make - whether before or after you've moved in - to ensure you don't fall foul of any clauses in your tenancy agreement."