Measuring energy

A good place to start is to find out where you are now. This can be done a number of ways. You could get an energy monitor. This tells you how much electricity your home or business is using at any point. It works by clamps on the wires going into your electricity meter. Most of them work wirelessly, so you can walk round the property with them, and see the impact of turning your various appliances on and off.

Energy monitors

Ofgem recently revealed that the average home in the UK spends £1,254 a year on their energy bills. (2019).  

To work out how much energy you use, a good place to start is your energy bill, which should include your estimated annual costs.   

To find out how much electricity is being consumed in your home at any given time you could get as an energy monitor. Simply, connect this to your electricity meter, then walk round the property with the monitor and see the impact of turning your various appliances on and off. 

For more detailed monitoring you can get a plug-in meter that measures the amount of energy used by each appliance. Plug it into a socket and plug the appliance into the meter for a period of time, and you can then calculate how many kWh of electricity it uses per day, per wash or per boil for example.

Some electricity companies are giving out free energy monitors to customers. You might check with yours.   

Smart meters

Smart meters measure how much gas and electricity you’re using, as well as what it’s costing you, and can show this information to you on an in–home display. Furthermore, smart meters automatically and wirelessly send the readings to your energy supplier at least once a month, so you will receive accurate, not estimated bills.  

They can also help you save money by showing you what you are paying, so you can adjust how you use energy and when. For example, you may choose to use more energy when your energy tariff is at its cheapest like overnight, if you are on this type of tariff from your energy supplier. 

However, monitoring your energy consumption should not stop you from using energy when you need it for heating and cooking.  

Some people also worry about the safety of their data. The data collected by the meter is protected by law. 

Smart meters are free and installed by your energy supplier. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales you can either ask to upgrade to one, or you may be contacted by your supplier automatically to see if you would like a smart meter. The cost of the meter roll out is spread out over everyone’s bills. 

If you install a new smart meter make sure it is SMETS2, which means you can switch energy suppliers without any interruption to your energy readings, bill payments or gas and electricity supply. It can also take export meter readings if required. 

If you already have a SMETS1 meter installed then you may need to send in your meter readings in order to get an accurate bill following a switch of your energy supplier. You can find out more about smart meters on Ofgem’s website here.

Or on Smart Energy GBs website who is government backed and whose role it is to inform the British public about smart meters. 

Working out a building’s energy performance

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) tell you how energy efficient a building is. If you have moved house in the past few years, you will have been provided with one by the estate agent, seller or. landlord.  

An EPC contains: 

  • information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs
  • recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money 

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), is valid for 10 years and will be registered online. You need an accredited assessor to carry out an EPC of your property.