Cost of Living Week 6-10/11/2023

We are living in a time where the cost of living is impacting every person in some shape or form. The rising costs of bills, food and living means that we are having to be really savvy with the way in which we use energy, spend money and make changes to our lifestyles and balance our finances whilst trying to maintain warm homes and good health and wellbeing.  The monetary impact may well mean that you feel limited in the choices available to you, over time this stress can impact mental health and physical wellbeing.

Financial poverty is hitting many households across the UK and we are very aware of the impact that this has on individuals, families and communities.  At ecobirmingham we want the people of Birmingham to have the tools to enable them to make better, greener, fairer choices that also supports their wellbeing. We are really pleased to be part of a consortium in Birmingham working together to give residents informed advice and guidance on how they can save on energy, save money and limit the impact to the environment.   

This week in particular highlights all the amazing work happening in Birmingham to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. We are pleased to be working alongside BVSC, Birmingham Green Doors, MECC Trust, Acocks Green CIC, Witton Lodge Association, Birmingham Footsteps and Birmingham Community Energy who are all giving out advice and support and doing amazing work across Birmingham and the West Midlands.  

When it comes to energy, environment, and sustainability, we appreciate it can feel overwhelming to find the right type of support or even to know where to start. Here are some things you could think about.

  1. Insulate your homes adequately living in damp and cold conditions has a negative impact on physical health. If you have vulnerable family members or those with long standing health issues ensuring homes are heated effectively will benefit their long-term health. Warmer homes also cost less to maintain when they are insulated efficiently. 
  1. Understand the costs of running household appliances. Swapping appliances for energy efficiency and looking at how you can reduce the cost of your bills through making some simple changes. 
  1. Getting to grips with your energy supplier and knowing your consumer rights. Reducing and limiting the uses of coal, gas, and oil (fossil fuels) that cause greenhouse gases and impacts the earth’s climate change. 
  1. Managing bills, finances and life admin, our advisors can help you take steps to manage your financial situation and wellbeing.  

You can contact us or any of the above-mentioned organisations that may be more local to you for help and support. 

What can I do now?

Sometimes we don’t know where to start and lifestyle changes are hard to embed because it means we have to start doing something new and unfamiliar.

Here are some of our top tips for things you can do to keep your house warm this autumn and winter. It will save on energy, is good for the environment and your pocket!  

  • Keep the heat in and the cold out – look at all your windows and fit draught proofing strips to windows and doors. Cutting out draughts stops heat escaping and prevents cold air from entering your home you could save up to £125 a year. 
  • When was the last time you bled your radiators? Trapped air leads to cold spots and the radiators not emitting heat sufficiently, so give all your radiators a mini service, all you need is a radiator bleed key, and it’s as simple as opening the valves and letting out the air, useful to place some old towels to catch any residual water that may leak out.  
  • If you have put your heating on, set the thermostat between lowest comfortable temperature of 18 degrees and up to 21 degrees, turning this down by 1 degree could typically save you £145 a year on energy bills. 
  • Switch off appliances and turn them off standby mode, this can typically save you up to £65 per year. 
  • Avoid placing furniture in front of radiators, this allows heating to work more effectively.  
  • Reduce the time you spend in the shower, try showering in under four minutes, this could save a typical household up to £100 per year. 
  • Reduce the temperature on your washing machine to a 30-degree cycle and reduce the number of times you use the washing machine to once a week. This could typically save you £35 a year. 
  • Invest in a heated clothes airer and avoid using the dryer. Embrace the dry and or warm days and put your washing outside to dry naturally.  
  • Switch your light bulbs to LED light bulbs, they use one fifth of the energy of a traditional halogen bulb and lasts ten times longer.  
  • Turn off the lights in rooms that you are not using.  

We hope that you find the tips above a good starting point and if you are keen to learn more than get in touch.   

This list is not exhaustive and are suggested ways of improving the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. We would love for you to share your tips and advice with us, send us yours to our email at  [email protected] and we will share yours across our social media pages or you can tag us @ecobirmingham on Facebook, Instagram or X (Twitter)  

If you are an individual looking for some advice and interested in being more energy efficient at home or a community group interested in advice and knowing more about how you can be more energy efficient contact [email protected] . This service is free and available to all residents in Birmingham. Look out for energy cafes, workshops, advice clinics popping up across the city.  

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