OFTEC Ireland, the trade association for the liquid fuel industry, has teamed up with Energy Saving Trust to share advice on reducing the cost of heating during a chilly winter lockdown.
Energy Saving Week, which runs from 1st - 5th February helps householders take practical steps to cut their energy bills.
With the majority of Northern Ireland furloughed or working from home, a significant number of people are more dependent on their home heating being on for longer periods of time.
OFTEC has tips on small changes households can make to be more energy efficient:
- Only heat the rooms you are using.
Turn down individual radiators in rooms you are not using to save money. If you have thermostatic radiator valves these can be lowered to number one for low background heating. Also, in the rooms you use regularly, ensure radiators are not blocked with furniture as this reduces their effectiveness. The temperature in hallways and bedrooms should be cooler, ideally between 15 - 18°C for persons in good health.
- Turn the thermostat down by one degree.
You can reduce your heating bill by up to 10% by lowering your room temperature by just one degree.
- Identify the benefits available to you:
The Government has introduced several schemes in the last few months to support those struggling financially. These include short-term financial help from the Finance Support Service and an emergency heating payment for those in extreme difficulties through the Warm, well and connected programme - search NI Direct for further information.
- Energy Efficiency Upgrade:
Check with your local council if you qualify for the Affordable Warmth Scheme that aims to assist those in fuel poverty with boiler replacements/upgrades and insulation measures. In addition, you can review the many grants that are available for energy upgrades as part of the NI Sustainable Energy Programme - this info can be found on the Utility Regulator's website. Any energy efficiency improvement will reduce heat loss and save you money.
- Speak with your energy provider.
Always speak with your distributor and agree a payment plan for your energy needs. Many suppliers are prioritising vulnerable groups such as older people, families with small children or those with underlying health conditions. We would always recommend you use a Member of the NI Oil Federation as their members have signed up to the Consumer Council's Customer Charter which gives consumers a vehicle for redress should an issue arise.
OFTEC Ireland Manager, David Blevings said: "We're lending our voice to Energy Saving Week 2021 because we know that the weight of energy bills can be a massive burden for people in the winter months, particularly during extended periods of lockdown and uncertainty.
"Sadly, a lot of people will be spending this winter in a cold home because of fears over escalating heating bills. We hope that through Energy Saving Week those people can find solutions to a warmer home."
Energy Saving Trust's Northern Ireland Programme Manager, Angela Gracey Roger said: "We are delighted that OFTEC Ireland is supporting Energy Saving Week as we celebrate the event's 20th year in Northern Ireland. Energy Saving Week is here to support and help householders manage energy use, while keeping their home warm, reducing the impact on energy bills and the environment."
In addition to encouraging simple changes to save energy, Energy Saving Trust are running a Primary Schools Challenge which has been sent to all Primary Schools in NI via Eco Schools at keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, as part of NI Schools' Energy Efficiency Awareness Programme.
For more information on how to heat your home with biofuels, watch our video about making the switch to HVO in Northern Ireland.
(*1) New research finds 96% of UK homeowners are concerned about their home energy efficiency, Energy Saving trust, Poll ran from 1 December – 18 December 2020