So, you want to start saving money on your energy bills. If we really simplify things there are two ways you can do this: use less energy and use cheaper energy. It really boils down to volume and cost but, just like knowing you need to save some money, knowing it and doing it are two very different things.
Here’s how you can actually start putting that knowledge into practice and take tangible action to cut down on the amount of energy you’re using, whilst ensuring that the energy you do use is as affordable as possible.
Enter an energy community.
An energy community is a collection of individuals, businesses and organisations who have come together to share energy. They produce, store and consume energy all in one place, within their local communities.
Use less energy
Before you can start using less energy, you need to know what you’re ‘spending’ your energy on. Build a habit of tracking when you’re using energy, and where the majority of it is going. You can do this through the installation of a smart meter, which most energy companies will now offer free of charge, and joining an energy community to monitor your energy consumption.
Once you’ve collected the data, it’s time to analyse it. Take a look at where you’re using high volumes of energy each day – is it all going to a few set appliances?
It might be a case of swapping some of these high-consuming appliances out for more efficient options. Make a note of the main culprits and, the next time they need replacing, shop around to find the most energy efficient option. It might mean a slightly higher investment for that first purchase but you’ll soon feel the benefits in your next energy bill.
You might also be losing energy through your home. If your house isn’t built to be energy efficient, it’s common to lose energy in the form of heat as a result of poor insulation. Making adjustments to your home by adding better insulation, installing double glazed windows and upgrading your boiler can help to save both your energy bill and your carbon footprint.
Use cheaper energy
Of course, you’re still going to need to use a certain amount of energy each month so it makes sense for that energy to be as affordable and as efficient as possible.
What if you could produce the energy you need, yourself?
By joining an energy community and becoming a prosumer, you can produce the energy you need, consume it as you wish and sell on any excess energy to your neighbours. This is typically done by installing a form of renewable energy into your home, such as adding solar panels to your roof. It means that you get the benefit of more affordable energy and the planet gets the benefit of more efficient, less polluting energy.
What’s a prosumer?
A prosumer is an energy consumer who is able to produce, store and consume the energy they need themselves. Often members of an energy community, prosumers can then sell on any excess energy to other members of their community.
Energy community members tend to have self-consumption rates of around 70%, which means that they produce around 70% of the energy they can consume. This means that around 70% of the energy they use is free at the point of consumption.
Why is this rate so high? Well, energy communities are designed to support their members in consuming energy in the most efficient way possible. Most community members will have access to a digital platform as part of their energy community, either through their phone or another application. This platform will notify them of when they have the most energy available from their own supply, so that they know when to take advantage of running their high consuming appliances such as the washing machine or tumble dryer.
What isn’t produced by the community member themselves can typically still be sourced locally, often at a much lower rate than if they were purchasing energy via the national network. For example, when the network price is 0.20 €/kWh, energy communities can offer a rate as low as 0.16 €/kWh, saving the consumer near to €300 each year.
Interested to find out how you can save money on your energy bills by joining an energy community and becoming a prosumer
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