Controlling home energy use during the Covid-19 outbreak

The restrictions being imposed to control the spread of coronavirus mean we all need to spend more time at home, to limit our social contact. Whether working, studying or just finding ways to amuse ourselves, it can result in a considerable increase in home energy use, with the associated higher bills and increase in carbon emissions.

A typical UK house uses 26,000 kWh of energy and emits 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Uswitch has predicted that households, where people are working from home, will use 25% more electricity and 17% more gas per day.

Our concerns are, perhaps naturally, focused on the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, rather than climate change but we need to recognise that our carbon emissions are as unkind to others as is unnecessary social contact in this Covid-19 pandemic!

So here are some tips to keep your home energy use, and carbon emissions, under control, from someone who has worked from home for over seven years, keeping in mind the basic principle, that generating heat uses a lot of energy.


  • The more space you heat the more energy you will use. Try to work in a smaller room (if possible), close the door, and turn the radiators down in other rooms during the day. Choose a sunny spot if you can, from this time of year onwards, solar gain can make a big difference in room temperature.

  • Review your thermostat settings. How long do you need the heating on for? Are you getting up later now that you are not commuting to the office?

  • How low can you go? Set your thermostat to the lowest temperature that you can tolerate in your home and make friends with your wardrobe of jumpers, vests, rugs, slippers, etc. Turning your thermostat down by 1 degree C can save you £80 a year on your energy bills according to The Energy Saving Trust and cut your emission by between 100-250 kg of carbon dioxide a year.

  • Use a small electric heater in the room you are using rather than heating the whole house (hot water bottles are good too!)

  • If you get cold sitting still for prolonged periods, get up and do some star jumps, climb the stairs or do the washing up to get your circulation going and warm up!