Energy efficiency advice - frequently asked questions (FAQ)

  • 1. How can I save energy?

    Households can save up to £150 a year on their fuel bills by following the simple steps below:

    • Lights off: Turn off your lights when you leave a room and you could save on average between 5-10% of your energy bill.

    • Don’t standby: Turn off appliances at the plug when they’re not in use.

    • Turn down the heat: Turn your thermostat down by 1ºC and you could cut your heating bills by up to 10%. This can save as much energy as installing cavity wall insulation.

    • Turn off radiators in unused rooms. This can save as much energy as installing loft insulation.

    • Air dry laundry instead of tumble drying.

    • Only boil what you need: Only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need.

    • Start reflecting: Reduce the amount of heat lost from radiators attached to outside walls by putting heat reflectors behind it. Tin foil with the shiny side facing the radiator will work really well and is a cheap way to cut your energy bills.

    • Be smart and turn it to 30ºC: Almost 90% of the energy used by a washing machine is for heating the water, so switch to a cooler wash. Today’s washing powders are just as effective at 30ºC and your clothes won’t fade as fast.

    • Unplug your chargers: On average 95% of the energy used by mobile phone chargers is wasted because they are left in when they are not being used, so remember to unplug yours!

    • Monitor your usage: You can borrow an energy monitor from Hale End or Walthamstow Library, to help you use energy more smartly. For Library opening times and information on how to become a member, visit the website or call Waltham Forest Direct on 020 8496 3000

    • Keep heat in: Make your home more energy efficient by following the advice note for your property below.  

    Residential Energy Advice notes: These advice notes have been prepared by the Council to help residents identify cost effective ways to improve the energy efficiency in their homes. Savings made on energy bills will often cover the costs in a couple of years (i.e. the payback period). There's a different note for different homes, find yours:

    For further information on saving energy visit the Energy Saving Trust:

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  • 2. How can I save water?

    Thames Water:

    • Work out how much water you use in your home and where you can make savings
    • Top tips to save water in your home
    • Install a water meter for free from Thames Water, you will then only pay for the water that you use plus a fixed charge, most customers find they pay much less with a water meter
    • Water saving tips for home and work
    • Information on water saving products including products for the bathroom, kitchen, toilet and outdoors

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  • 3. What can I do about my waste?

    Give & Take: Your rubbish could be someone else’s treasure. A website run by local organisation Forest Recycling Project for people to give away things they don’t need and others to take what they do need.

    Reuse Centre: Pick up a bargain at the Reuse Centre. The centre is full of goods that residents have discarded and are good enough to sell. For opening times and location visit the website.

    Local householders can donate unwanted paint at South Access Road (Walthamstow), Kings Road (Chingford) & Gateway Road (Leyton). You can also buy reclaimed paint from Forest Recycling Project.

    Local reuse services:


    Walthamstow Sell or Swap


    Love Food Hate Waste: If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the CO2 impact would be the equivalent of taking 1 in4 cars off the road. Make more of your leftovers and learn how to better plan your shopping.

    Recycling: Find out what you can recycle where in Waltham Forest.
    Green Waste: For residents with a backyard, order a compost bin and start composting or for residents with street frontage to store a container, recycle your green waste and food waste.
    Charity Shops: Find some great bargains at your local charity shop like clothes, books, bags and shoes. Why buy new stuff when there’s so much great old stuff that costs less. And don’t forget to donate your old stuff to charity shops who always need stock.

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  • 4. What can I do to save transport costs?

    Energy Saving Trust:

    • Flying and cruise ships are the most carbon intensive forms of transport, consider other options to make your holiday greener
    • Driving smarter will not only reduce CO2 emissions but you’ll also save money by using less fuel.
    • Consider the green options when buying a car

    Sustrans: Go on a walking or cycling holiday 

    Walk it: For short journey’s instead of driving or taking the bus, why not walk instead, you’ll not only feel better, but save money too. Walkit will help find the quickest routes, routes avoiding main roads, carbon saved and how long it takes.

    Cycling: Cycling is a fast, efficient and reliable form of transport. It can help you to avoid traffic, keeps you fit and saves you money. Visit the borough’s Cycling webpages, TFL or London Cycling Campaign for information on cycling in Waltham Forest.

    Bike Recycling Centre: Buy a reconditioned bike or learn how to maintain your own bike (second Saturday of each month 10am-12noon).
    Free cycling lessons: Don’t feel confident on the road? Live, work or study in the borough? Get free cycle training.
    Car Club: Access pay-as-you-go cars when needed, for as little or as long as is required, just book it, drive it and return it. If you don’t use a car much, it could be a cheaper alternative to car ownership or owning a second car. There are cars around the borough, join Streetcar today.
    Liftshare: Drive by yourself? Halve the cost of petrol just by sharing with someone going the same way. Use Liftshare to find a car share buddy.

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  • 5. How can I save food?

    National Trust: Learn about growing your own food, and get some good tips on what to grow when with Eat Seasonably Campaign.

    Organiclea: Join their veg box scheme, learn how to grow, volunteer at their nursery, do a course or buy their vegetables.

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  • 6. Biodiversity and natural habitats

    ​Adopt a tree or flower bed: You can adopt a tree through the borough's Adopt-a-Flowerbed or Adopt-a-Tree scheme.

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  • 7. Buy Green

    Fairtrade: Buy Fairtrade


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  • 8. Can I get help with installing renewable energy e.g. solar panels?

    Feed in Tariff
    Feed-In Tariffs were introduced on 1 April 2010 and replaced UK government grants as the main financial incentive to encourage uptake of renewable electricity-generating technologies. Most domestic technologies qualify for the scheme, including:
    • solar electricity (PV) (roof mounted or stand alone)
    • wind turbines (building mounted or free standing)
    • hydroelectricity
    • anaerobic digesters
    • micro combined heat and power (CHP).

    For more information visit the Energy Saving Trust

    Renewable Heat Incentive

    The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a UK Government scheme set up to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies among householders, communities and businesses through the provision of financial incentives. The UK Government expects the RHI to make a significant contribution towards their 2020 ambition of having 12 per cent of heating coming from renewable sources.

    There are two phases to the introduction of the RHI:
    • Phase 1: the introduction of the RHI for non-domestic installations in the industrial, business and public sectors.
    • Phase 2: the domestic element of the RHI, is expected to be introduced in spring 2014 following the consultation published in September 2012 and more recently the UK Government Heat Strategy.

    For more information visit the Energy Saving Trust

    The Renewable Heat Premium Payment is a one-off grant designed to help towards meeting the costs of installing renewable technologies in your home, until the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is introduced for domestic customers.

    Futher information can be found here.


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  • 9. Waltham Forest's Energy Strategy

    The energy strategy sets out how Waltham Forest will reduce energy and water consumption. Using less energy and water will not only save money, it will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, which is the main greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. The energy strategy complements the climate change strategy.

    Download the London Borough of Waltham Forest Energy Strategy (788KB PDF file)

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  • 10. Annual Green House Gas reports for London Borough of Waltham Forest

    The government asks that Council’s annually report the carbon Co2 equivalent emissions generated from Council operations.

    The format is the same as that used by industry and businesses and shows emissions based on "scopes” depending on where the Co2 equivalent emissions were generated ie: on site or remotely at power stations.

    • Scope 1 includes gas consumption and Council owned fleet

    • Scope 2 includes purchased electricity

    • Scope 3 includes business travel and main contractor emissions

    Download the Greenhouse Gas Report: April 2010 to March 2011 (505KB PDF file)

    Download the Greenhouse Gas Report: April 2009 to March 2010 (176KB PDF file) 

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  • 11. Nottingham Declaration

    The London Borough of Waltham Forest signed the Nottingham Declaration in June 2007. By signing the Nottingham Declaration we have agreed to develop plans with partners and local communities to address the causes and impacts of climate change on a local and where possible on a national level. We aim to work with all sectors and industries in the local community to reduce energy use and improve the quality of the environment we all share, recognising the very real concerns of our residents on this important subject.

    Download the Nottingham Declaration (151KB PDF file) 

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  • 12. Waltham Forest Carbon Footprint

    ​In September 2007 a carbon footprinting study was conducted to estimate the Council's carbon footprint.

    Waltham Forest Carbon Footprint can be downloaded here


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  • 13. Green community groups in Waltham Forest

    Transition Waltham Forest:

    Transition Walthamstow:

    Transition Leytonstone:

    Hornbeam Environment Centre:

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  • 14. Green Ambassadors for youth

    WWF recognise that young people are the future: the values they hold, the decisions they make and the actions they take – at home, in the workplace, and in the community – will shape the future of our planet. But they are also having an impact right now – through what they buy, how they get about, and what they do in their leisure time. They are also a powerful influence – on each other and on those around them. Engaging with youth is therefore an important investment and a great opportunity.
    For more information please visit WWF

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