From August 21st, GB Energy Supply increased gas and electricity prices by 7% and experts are saying that the Big Six suppliers (British Gas, EON, EDF, npower, Scottish Power and SSE), who supply 98% of Britain’s households with their energy, could be increasing bills as early as autumn.
We’ve researched a list of our top tips to save money whilst keeping warm in the home this winter:
Technology in the home
The Nest thermostat shows you just how much energy you use every day and allows you to adjust your home heating and your hot water tank while away from your house, using your phone. Its Auto-Away feature automatically turns itself down when nobody’s at home.
According to GRENUM, there are two key requirements to preventing heat loss/gain through a window covering: the material needs to be an insulator, and there must be no gaps around the edges as this will result in the air between the window and curtain escaping and setting up a convection current. An insulated curtain is usually comprised of three layers: face fabric, liner (bumph) and rubber-backed curtain lining.
A good money-saving tip to prevent unnecessary heat loss from radiators, according to Sophie Neuburg, energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth, is tinfoil. Aluminium foil behind the radiator can reflect heat back into the room, rather than losing it through the wall.
Double Glazed Windows
Double-glazed windows can prove incredibly energy-efficient. Alongside lower carbon footprint and lower energy bills, double-glazed windows also reduce condensation and act as great insulation against external noises.
Double-glazed windows consist of two sheets of glass with a small gap in between which is used to create an insulating barrier, keeping heat in.
Alongside offering privacy and light control, honeycomb blinds offer insulation from the cold winter winds. These types of shades have large channels which trap the air at the window. The R-value of a double-glazed window (the measurement of resistance of the shade to heat transfer) can double by just adding these cellular shades to a window.
Cover bare floorboards
Varnished wooden floors look great in a well decorated room, but according to the National Energy Foundation (NEF) can result in as much as 10% heat loss if they’re not insulated. Blankets and rugs can be used to cover floors and keep feet warm as an added bonus.
AS the last glow of summer fades and leaves begin to fall across the UK, our areas of natural beauty take on a particularly evocative character. Truthfully, there are too many places to count for a picturesque autumn daytrip, but we’ve picked out five of the best. Before you go, make sure your car insurance is up to date, and then take your pick from our selection of scenic getaways.
The legendary abode of Robin Hood is home to some of the most beautiful traditional woodland in England, including many of the oldest trees in Europe. The king of the forest is undoubtedly the gigantic Major Oak, which is estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 years old and has regularly been voted Britain’s Favourite Tree. The ancient oak’s sprawling canopy is now supported by a series of metal bars and is regularly attended to by a team of tree surgeons. The forest park itself stretches over 450 acres and is covered by a series of trails, which provide ample opportunity to explore the home of Little John, Friar Tuck, and friends.
Sometimes referred to as the Welsh Lake District, the Elan Valley winds through the rugged surroundings of the Cambrian Mountains in mid-Wales. The valley’s unique landscape, which includes over 70 square miles of stunning scenery, was formed by a series of dams and reservoirs built over a hundred years ago to supply the rapidly growing city of Birmingham with water. The area is particularly prized by cyclists, with the varied terrain offering challenges for all skill levels and age groups. If you’re setting your sights a little higher, the Elan Valley reserve was recently granted International Dark Sky Park status, in recognition of the exceptionally clear night skies which delight stargazers.
Just 30 miles outside London lies Ashdown Forest, originally planted as a hunting reserve for Norman nobles, but best known today as the birthplace of Winnie the Pooh. Author A. A. Milne had a house on the edge of the forest in the 1920s, and this magical landscape became a playground for his son Christopher Robin and the inspiration for the honey loving bear and friends’ Hundred Acre Wood. A gentle area of open heathland and scattered forest, Ashdown offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and a series of tranquil walks which belie its proximity to the hustle and bustle of the capital.
An exquisitely preserved relic of a bygone age, this magnificent 11th Century castle lies just outside the picturesque market town of Alnwick, amid the rolling hills of County Northumberland. The castle has gained renewed fame in recent years due to its use as location for film and television productions, most notably the Harry Potter series, where it doubles as the Hogwarts School of Witching and Wizardry. Adjacent to the castle is The Alnwick Garden, an endlessly surprising contemporary pleasure garden built at the behest of the Duchess of Northumberland. Some of the unusual sights on offer here include an array of ornamental water features, a giant treehouse complete with restaurant, and the safely locked away Poison Garden, which contains many of the world’s deadliest plants and aims to educate children and adults in the beauty and danger of botany.
Castlewellan Forest Park
The magnificent Mourne Mountains stretch across County Down and contain many of Northern Ireland’s tallest peaks, including the highest mountain in Ulster, the 850m Slieve Donard. Castlewellan Forest Park, which nestles in the shade of the range, is the site of the National Arboretum of Northern Ireland. As well as extensive biking trails and kids’ adventure areas, the park is home to rare tree varieties from Asia, Australia, and the Americas, most notably a pair of giant Redwoods – the world’s tallest species of tree.
Clare Walker, who was delighted to win a £1000 Shangri-La Hotel voucher, at the Shard in London and a £500 cheque in a recent Cornmarket Insurance Services competition for Foxy Lady Drivers Club members.
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