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Martin's 19 Green MoneySaving tips: From water-saving gadgets to getting paid to recycle

It's not as easy as it was to go green. The energy crisis has put paid to some key routes. Yet as the UN climate change conference COP26 continues, I wanted to try...

This article was originally written by Martin and the MSE Team for our weekly email on Wednesday 2 November. It has today (Tuesday 9 November) been updated by the MSE team. 

The team and I have been putting our (green) thinking caps on. Our prime focus is easy change where cash and planet saving intersect. Yet, while sometimes going green saves you money, there are times the two conflict. The ecologically sound options can sometimes be costly and involve lifestyle sacrifice.

So the list is far from an exhaustive one. Issues such as whether you fly, what you eat, and whether you over-buy imported consumables all matter too. Yet I'll stick within our consumer finance expertise and leave hardcore eco-change to those who specialise in it.

After all, what defines green is far from clear-cut. There are a myriad of factors, so ultimately this isn't about preaching, it's about options. The judgement and choice must be yours. See our guide on 28 quick ways to go green and save.

Easy ways to use less energy at home

Cutting energy costs isn't just about cheaper tariffs, which are tough to find right now anyway, it's about using less too. So see if any of these suit (savings based on someone with typical use):

- Turn your thermostat down. The easiest thing to do on this list. For each degree you cut the thermostat, expect to cut bills by 4%-ish, so £55/yr. Try it and see how it feels.

Fit a water-saving shower head. Free ones are available - see point 1 above. For a family having 20 showers a week, it's a 2%-ish saving, so £30/yr.

- Don't assume all energy-saving light bulbs are equal. LED uses about half the energy of the bigger fluorescent spiral 'energy-saving bulbs'. Obviously turning 'em off when you're not in the room helps too.

- Turn draught detective. Walk round your home spotting window and door draughts. You can even make your own sausage dog draft excluder. Decent draught-proofing can cut 2% off energy bills, so £25/yr. This applies to chimneys too, where you can get a 1.5% further reduction.

- Cut your shower time. For each minute less in the shower, a four-person household could save 2%, so £30/yr. Some MoneySavers even turn the water off to lather and back on to rinse.

- Wash more clothes less. Try to do one fewer load a week and make sure you fill it up each time. The savings aren't huge, around £8/yr for modern machines, but can be much more with old ones.

- Think 'how many cuppas am I making?' Be conscious about this when filling the kettle, so you don't over-fill.

- Standby isn't the problem it used to be. It's EU law that TVs and other devices made since 2013 can't use more than 0.5 watts in standby mode. To show the scale of it, a TV watched 4hrs a day would cost 77p/yr in standby. Switching off is better, but it isn't quite the issue it was.

- Use radiator thermostats. Installing thermostatic radiator valves and using them with your thermostat allows you to control temperature room by room, and could save you almost 6%, so £75/yr, although an initial outlay is needed.

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