How to save energy in a pandemic winter

Last updated: 27 October 2020

Hygge might be a word you haven’t heard since its boom period of three months in 2017, but you might need to reacquaint yourself with it to both save energy and evoke the Danish concept of cosiness and contentment in what might be the toughest winter we’ve had in recent years. 

As coronavirus cases inevitably increase, most of us will be spending far more time at home than we normally would in the run-up to Christmas and beyond. It’s more important than ever to know how to limit your energy usage and spend, but also get through lockdown with the minimum of stress.

Use candles (or low-energy bulbs)

When the clocks go back and it starts getting dark earlier and earlier, rather than having the lights on, why not invest in candles instead? As long as you’re not trying to read or cook, a few candles will provide all the light you need and help cultivate a cosy atmosphere. If you absolutely do need the lights on, make sure you’re using lightbulbs like LEDs - they last for up to 25,000 hours, use less energy, are more environmentally-friendly and in many cases cost less to buy than halogen options. 

Invest in blankets and jumpers

Obviously the best way to keep warm when you’re at home is to turn the heating on, but before it gets really cold, you’d be surprised how warm you can stay just by using blankets and jumpers. When you do eventually need to use the heating, make sure you’re being smart about it by using a smart thermostat, if possible, to ensure that the heating only comes on when you need it. You can also try the perennially-recommended technique of turning the thermostat down by one degree - you won’t notice the difference in warmth, but you will notice the difference it makes to your energy spend.

Batch cook and microwave food

One of the best things about winter is the food that it puts you in the mood for - stews, soups, pies and crumbles are just some of the seasonal dishes you could return to (or try for the first time). When you cook them, though, you’re probably not going to eat the whole lot at once, so you could end up with two or three days’ worth of food from one cooking session. This will help save energy because you need to spend less time in the kitchen, and when it comes to heating it up to eat in the future, you can just use the microwave (the most energy-efficient cooking appliance).

Read books instead of watching TV

This might be the most controversial of all our suggestions, but hear us out - there’s just as much entertainment to be found in the pages of a book than on the TV. Whether you agree is down to your preferences, but there’s no doubt that reading as opposed to having the TV on will help you save energy. Admittedly, you might have been waiting all year for the next season of The Mandalorian, but when the choice is between half-watching a film you’ve only put on for the sake of it, or reading a book, why not take the energy-conscious route?