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Week five findings from the National Smart Meter Challenge: the Energy Makeover

We discovered that:
Previous challenges helped participants create clear plans for change: For many people, the challenge offered a great opportunity to put into practice what they’d discovered in the previous month’s challenges.

Small changes to water use made a big difference: Bathroom energy makeovers often centered around small changes when using hot water including:
- Reducing the boiler temperature by six degrees
- Pledging not to run the shower for five minutes before getting in
- Actively turning down the temperature of the water once in the shower
- Fitting a new shower head that changes colour to show how much energy is being used in real timE

Alternatives to energy-guzzling appliances can be cheap and easy: Some families found alternative, low-tech solutions to reduce their use of higher energy appliances. These included:
- Regularly using a clothes airer rather than the tumble dryer
- Buying thicker curtains for the lounge to reduce heat loss
- Washing up dishes by hand more regularly to reduce dishwasher use
- Using a steamer to cook vegetables

This week’s favourite quotes:
“We enjoyed this week’s task but were surprised by how many steps we had already taken due to previous challenges. We had replaced old style bulbs with energy efficient bulbs, televisions were switched off rather than left on standby and devices were not left on charge overnight - the children had already implemented many of these changes. Major changes in the kitchen from the previous weeks challenges are already contributing to savings.” Paul, Walsall

"Having the smart energy monitor has really opened my eyes to how much energy certain things use when you think they are off, but they aren't really. While it is a little scary to see exactly what you're spending minute by minute, it is an excellent way to really keep track of what things are costing and where you might make small changes to save money. It has been surprisingly easy to make these changes and there are many that I will continue to do - very little effort for good savings if you add it all up over a year. I will be very interested to see how putting the heating on will affect the budget as a whole and will be keen to make changes again that will give us savings on our gas usage. I am thinking about getting Hive or something similar to have more control over the heating.” Kate, London

Watch the Auton family and find out all about their experiences with their new smart meters:

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You can follow the National Smart Meter Challenge with weekly updates and insights on our website and read blogs from four of the families here. Or why not join in the conversation on twitter using #smartmeterchallenge.

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