From 1 April 2023 all non-domestic properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least E. Find out more information on our Energy efficiency legislation page.
Use the links below to find the information you need:
- Check the energy efficiency of your home
- Energy efficiency funding schemes
- Advice on renewable energy
- Energy myth-busters
- Smart meters tips
- Ways you can save money and energy
- Advice on keeping warm this winter
- How we are reducing fuel poverty and energy use
Check the energy efficiency of your home
Improving the energy efficiency of your home can help save money on your bills and reduce your carbon footprint, helping our planet.
There are a number of schemes available to help you with the cost of work to upgrade the energy efficiency of your home.
If you do not know the energy efficiency rating of your home, or would like ideas about how to improve your rating, use the online checker to find out what energy efficiency or low carbon heat improvements may be suitable for your home.
Energy efficiency funding schemes
Solar panel group buying scheme
A new group buying scheme for solar panels and battery storage has been launched by Worcestershire County Council and Solar Together.
Residents and businesses are able to register their interest until Friday 10 March. There will then be an auction for pre-approved installers to submit their bids for the work, with notifications sent out to people in mid-March, detailing the cost and specification of the work.
It’s then up to individuals if they want to go-ahead. There’s no obligation to continue with the installation.
The group-buying scheme offers solar panels with optional battery storage and EV charge points, as well as retrofit battery storage for anyone who has already invested in solar panels and is looking to get more from the renewable energy they generate as well as increase their independence from the grid.
Find out more about the Solar Together group buying scheme.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
The Government requires energy companies to provide funding to help improve the energy efficiency of homes, reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty.
If you are on certain benefits, you may be able to get help funding, all or some, of the cost of some types of insulation or heating systems, such as a replacement boiler.
To qualify you need to be claiming one of the following:
- Income Support
- Income related Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Pension Credit Guarantee (not savings credit)
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Benefit*
- Disability Benefits
– Personal Independence Payment
– Disability Living Allowance
– Attendance Allowance
– Armed Forces Independence Payment
– Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
*based on income thresholds and household composition
Check out the Act on Energy website for more information on funding for energy efficiency improvements.
Advice on renewable energy
- Installing renewable energy systems in your own home can cut your energy bills and the harmful carbon emissions your household creates.
- There are many forms of renewable energy including solar panels, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers.
- You could also be paid for the energy you generate for seven years as part of the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.
- Find out more about installing renewable energy technology in your home on the Energy Saving Trust website
- You can also call Act on Energy on 0800 988 2881.
Is it cheaper to leave the heating on low all day or turn it on only when needed?
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the idea its cheaper to leave your heating on low all day is a myth. Having your heating on only when needed, is the best way to save energy and money. Heating controls & programmers can assist with scheduling when needed.
To keep the hot water boiler on all the time, or turn it on & off as needed?
If you have a gas, oil, or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) central heating system, experts say it will always be cheaper to set & use the system timer, so the hot water comes on only when required.
However, if you use an electrical immersion heater and have an Economy 7 or 10 tariff (where energy is cheaper at night), it's cheaper to heat your water during the night. Making sure your hot water tank is well insulated.
Do electrical devices on standby or chargers left in sockets use energy while not in use?
According to the Energy Saving Trust, any switched-on charger or appliance that is plugged in will still draw small amounts of electricity regardless of whether a device is attached or not.
Do smart meters save money?
Not on their own. Smart meters replace existing gas & electricity meters to measure your usage. This will mean an end to estimated bills as the meter readings are automatically sent to your supplier from the smart meter. However, using your smart meter in home display will help you identify high, medium & low usage periods. The more information you have on your usage the more in control of it you can be. During high usage you can check which appliances are in use & switched on, switch them off & see the change to your energy consumption by checking the display again. The in-home display will allow you to see how much energy was used in the last hour, week & month by kWh & what the costs in pounds & pence.
Is it cheaper to use electric heaters or your central heating systems radiators?
The Energy Saving Trust say electric heaters are one of the most expensive forms of heating. They advise the cheapest way to heat your home is by using an efficient gas central heating system with a programmer, full set of TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves) with a room thermostat.
Is it cheaper to use electricity at night?
If you’re on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff, yes – you’ll pay less for electricity during the night but higher than average during the day. For all other tariffs it doesn’t make any difference.
However, National Grid has introduced Demand Flexible Servicing – Smart meter users can opt in to reduce their demand at peak times and be paid for shifting to non-peak times.
The difference between controlling the heating with TRVs & the main thermostat
Thermostats will control your boiler and the temperature of the home & each TRV controls the water flow through each radiator, giving you extra control to adjust the warmth of each room with a TRV. This means you can set rooms to be cooler if not in use, in return this will save energy & money.
Will painting radiators black help or using reflective radiator panels help save energy and money?
According to the Energy Saving Trust, painting radiators black will not help. Using reflective radiator panels will prevent heat being lost through the walls behind the radiator, especially uninsulated walls resulting in saving heat & money. You can buy these panels in DIY stores.
Will drying my clothes indoors cause damp & mould?
Its best to try and dry your clothes outdoors if the weather permits as drying indoors can sometimes cause condensation & damp in old & poorly insulated homes. Alternately, try to time your washing cycle with putting clothes to dry during the hours you are using your heating.
According to the National House Building Council, if you need to dry clothes indoors, improve the ventilation by opening the window and closing the door of the room where the clothes are drying, allowing excess moisture to escape.
Using 30-degree celsius washing machine cycles will not clean your clothes
Washing cycles operating at 30 degree celsius cycles can help save money. Most washing detergents are now designed to work just as well at 30C as they would as higher temperatures. Stubborn stains could be removed using a stain-remover & pre-wash cycle to prevent you using the higher temperatures.
Turning the thermostat up high will heat your home quicker
Central heating systems work at the same constant speed regardless of the temperature being set higher, so it will not meet a higher temperature any quicker if set higher.
You cannot have wall insulation an old house where there is no cavity
35% of heat in a home is lost through external walls. There are several ways to insulate walls, if the walls are solid brick without a cavity, you can insulate walls internally or externally. This is called solid wall insulation or internal wall insulation. You may be eligible for a grant to fund this through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. Contact your local energy charity, Act on Energy for more information.
Cavity wall insulation will make your home damp
Cavity wall insulation is much more likely to solve problems of damp caused by condensation as this makes the external walls less cold & less prone to damp. For most households, cavity wall insulation has a huge impact on keeping your home warm, losing less heat & reducing the amount of energy used to heat your home.
Smart meter tips
Smart meters are an end to inaccurate energy bills. They provide an accurate reading of your gas and electric usage rather than energy suppliers working with estimates. The smart meter will send your meter readings to your supplier automatically and wirelessly.
A smart meter can support you in monitoring and reducing your energy consumption. You will be able to see what energy your using, when and how much it costs on the in-home digital display. You can use this to your advantage and manage your energy consumption by identifying higher energy usage periods & which appliances are currently in use
- Smart Meters explained: About smart meters | Smart Energy GB
- How to read your smart meter in-home display
- Getting the most out of your smart meter
Top tips for keeping warm & saving money on energy bills without a financial outlay,
- Turn radiator TRVs (Thermostatic radiator valves) off in rooms that are not in use. Watch a video on how to use your room & radiator thermostats efficiently.
- Bleed radiators to prevent ‘cold spots’ & improve the efficiency & heat outlet.
- Keep all internal doors closed – to prevent heat escaping from rooms that you are heating.
- Avoid placing furniture & furnishings in front of the radiators to allow the room to heat efficiently, this includes radiator covers.
- Don’t hang curtains over radiators to prevent heat being pushed up to escape through windows – tuck them up and away, if possible - whilst keeping the windows covered.
- Turning your thermostat down by 1 degree celsius, although be sure not to compromise your health, ideally & for most residents without health complications this will be between 18 -21 degrees celsius. The Energy Saving Trust has estimated you could save around 10% a year on your energy bills. You could alter the thermostat setting by reducing 1 degree daily, until you find the most comfortable heat setting for your home without compromising your health. Visit YouTube to watch a video on how to use your room & radiator thermostats efficiently.
- Make good use of your heating controls with a timed programme setting when you are at home, having the heating turn off 20 minutes before you leave will still leave your home sufficiently warm before your exit.
- Turn off appliances instead of leaving them on standby – the average UK household spends approximately £65 a year powering electrical appliances left on standby, according to the Energy Saving Trust (based on the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee, for a typical three-bedroom home).
- Only heat the required amount of water in your kettle – you could save £13 a year on your electricity bill by not overfilling your kettle, according to the Energy Saving Trust (based on the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee).
- Ensure lights are switched off when you leave a room – you could save around £25 a year on your annual energy bill, according to the Energy Saving Trust (based on the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee).
- Turn down the flow temperature on your gas combi boiler to save money – step by step guidance can be found Walkthrough - Money Saving Boiler Challenge
- Shower for less time & swap baths for short showers – the typical household could save £95 a year by limiting shower times to 4 minutes & save an additional £20 a year by swapping 1 bath a week for a 4-minute shower according to the Energy Saving Trust (based on the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee, for a typical three-bedroom home.)
- Wash dishes in a bowl of hot water to avoid the hot water constantly running, saving money on hot water use & overall water use.
- Only run washing machines & dishwashers at full capacity to reduce the number of cycles and use lower temperate cycles – use eco settings, if possible. The Energy Saving Trust estimates a saving of £17 per year if you reduce your dishwasher use by 1 cycle per week. In addition, reducing your washing cycle by 1 cycle per week and using settings on a 30-degree cycle instead of higher temperatures could save you £34 per year (based on the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee, for a typical three-bedroom home.).
- Avoid tumble dryers and use drying racks inside or washing lines outside where possible in warmer weather – The Energy Saving Trust estimates a saving of £70 a year by avoiding the use of a tumble dryer (based on the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee, for a typical three-bedroom home.) Remember to open windows slightly for good ventilation when drying clothes indoors to prevent damp & condensation in your home.
- Talk to your supplier as soon as possible if you’re struggling with energy costs, they have an obligation to work with you on payment plans.
Energy Saving Trust – Short hack video
Save £564 on your energy bills: Visit YouTube to watch a video on quick & easy tips for saving money on your energy bills (based on the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee, for a typical three-bedroom home).
Top tips for keeping warm & saving money on energy bills with a small financial outlay,
- Replace all traditional/halogen lightbulbs with energy saving LED bulbs. The Energy Saving Trust estimates a saving of £55 a year on your electricity bills. (For more information, visit Guide to energy efficient lighting - Energy Saving Trust)
- Better insulate your hot water cylinder with thicker insulated jackets which you can buy from DIY stores. Topping up your hot water tank insulation from 25mm to 80mm thick, using a British Standard jacket could save around £70 a year according to The Energy Saving Trust. (For more information, visit Insulating tanks, pipes and radiators - Energy Saving Trust)
- Install radiator reflector panels to prevent heat being absorbed by the walls. The Energy Saving Trust estimates a saving of £35 a year. (For more information, visit Insulating tanks, pipes and radiators - Energy Saving Trust)
- Draught proof windows & doors. The Energy Saving Trust estimates a saving of £60 a year. (For more information, visit A helpful guide to draught-proofing - Energy Saving Trust)
- Draught proof around chimney. The Energy Saving Trust estimates a saving of £90 a year. (For more information, visit A helpful guide to draught-proofing - Energy Saving Trust)
Saving based on the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee for a typical gas-fuelled semi-detached property.
Energy Saving Trust – Draughtproofing & insulation short video
Cost comparison of cooking appliances
With air fryers, slow cookers, ovens & microwaves there’s a lot of appliances to choose from when cooking.
Based on the October price cap & calculations below, you can review which the most cost effective depending on the length of cooking time for each appliance, remembering that all makes & models have various power usage.
- Using an 800W microwave for 15 minutes will cost roughly 7p
- Using a 1500W air fryer for 1 hour will cost roughly 51p
- Using a 200W slow cooker for 5 hours will cost roughly 34p or roughly 7p per hour
- Using a 2000W electric hob for 1 hour will cost roughly 68p
Calculating the cost of your own devices & appliances
Every appliance has a power rating which is usually given in Watts (W) or kilowatts (kW) - 1000W is equivalent to 1kW.
Each brand, model & size of appliance will vary, the Watt (W) or kilowatts (kW) can usually be found printed on the appliance or in the user manual. This figure (W or kW) tells you how much electricity is needed to for the appliance to work but, the amount of overall electricity it uses depends on how long the appliance is turned on.
To calculate the overall amount of electricity the appliance will use whilst cooking, multiple the appliance wattage by the number of hours you will use the appliance and divide this number by 1000 to get the daily kilowatt hour.
For example, you want to use your electric hob which is 2000w for 1hr
2000W x 1 (hour) ÷ 1000 = 2 kWh
Now to calculate the cost…
Electricity is sold by kWh, currently electricity is capped at 0.34p/kWh (usually displayed on your bill as units, check this as yours as you may pay less if you’re on a fixed deal).
Using the daily kilowatt-hour (kWh) you calculated previously, multiple again by the cost of electricity, which is currently capped at 0.34p/kWh
For example, 2000W Electric hob used for 1hr = 2 kWh
2kWh x 0.34 = 0.68p
Total cost for using the 2000W electric hob for 1 hour is 68p.
For an online compassion calculator, visit Electricity Cost Calculator - How much do your appliances, heaters cost to run? (sust-it.net)
Ways you can save money and energy
By taking some simple energy saving measures you can save money on your bills.
Top energy saving tips
- Reduce your boiler flow temperature - follow Nesta's simple guide to reducing your boiler flow rate
- Use smart technology to control your heating
- Turn your thermostat down 1 degree (your home should be a minimum temperature of 18 degrees celsius)
- Switch your appliances off stand-by
- Use a bowl to wash up in
- Replace all your bulbs with LEDs
- Turn off lights when you’re not in the room
- Draught proof doors and windows
- Spend one less minute in the shower each day
- Do one less load of laundry a week
- Fill the kettle with just the right amount of water
Check out more ways to cut your bills from the Energy Saving Trust.
Switch energy provider
This is one of the easiest things you can do to save you money on your bills.
- Use an Ofgem approved price comparison website to compare energy prices.
- You can also call Act on Energy on 0800 988 2881.
Get a smart meter
A smart meter will give you near to real-time information on your energy consumption to help you manage your energy use and save money, as well as reduce your carbon footprint. It also means your billing will be more accurate as information will be sent direct to your energy provider. Smart meters can be installed for free.
Find out more about how to get a smart meter on GOV.UK
Join an energy switching scheme
Energy switching schemes join groups of people together. Energy companies then bid for the right to supply those individuals to supply their gas and electricity. Because it is one bulk contract, members of the scheme benefit from a lower price. Auctions take place three times a year.
- Find out more about the Big Community Energy Switch
- If you rely on heating oil then you may want to consider joining a community oil buying club.
- Find out more about joining a community oil buying club.
Advice on keeping warm this winter
If you are not very mobile, aged 65 or over, or have a health condition such as hear or long disease, it is important you keep warm. You must heat your home to at least 18 degrees Celsius.
Read advice from the NHS on how to keep warm during the winter.
How we are reducing fuel poverty and energy use
We have an important role to play in supporting our residents to reduce their energy use and to improve the energy efficiency of homes across out district.
Our Home Energy Conservation Act Plan (HECA) sets out how we will work with partner organisations to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel poverty. You can also read about our current achievements and our future plans.
pdf Read the 2022 HECA report (222 KB) .
This links to actions in our new Intelligently Green plan, which sets out how we are tackling climate change. Read Intelligently Green plan.
Green Homes Grant / Local Authority Delivery Scheme
To find out more information, Visit Act On Energy website or by contacting them on 0800 988 2881 to find out more on the scheme, and whether you are eligible.