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Best energy saving devices: Stay energy efficient during the energy crisis

May 24, 2024

Keep warm, stay lit and well fed during the on-going energy cost crisis while keeping hold of your cash too…

nlike some other publications which might actively seek to sow the seeds of unease amongst the British populace, we here at ES Best see ourselves as an oasis of calm amongst the roiling turbulence of current countrywide concern.

A bright beacon of radiant rationality – if you will – shining far out across a seemingly endless ocean of unaffordable energy price increase. In short, we’re well-aware that power costs suck like the event horizon of a brass-insatiable black hole right now, so we’ve found some stuff to help keep those over-inflated demands down.

Of course, when I say ‘stuff’, I don’t mean just a random collection of vague gear that any journo-gimp could have gathered together for the sake of filling space, but rather a hand-picked selection of truly innovative devices and ideas put forward by energy-saving experts that will allow you to continue to live as normal a homelife as ever while slashing back hard at the ever-growing bills.

And I’m not just talking about tech either, but rather a blend of low-energy solutions to keep you warm, illuminated, and fed as the energy companies hike prices.

So, gather round, huddle together for warmth in front of your varying device screens and get yourself fully prepped for the winter…

Best for: A bank account benefiting brew

After the, admittedly, out-of-context comment about kettles recently mumbled by former PM Boris Johnson, it seems only fitting to start our look at energy saving stuff with an actual kettle that can save bills going off the boil.

The Dual Flo from LAICA is the world’s only true one-cup hot water dispenser, meaning you can boil a full 1.5-litres for a full family round of tasty tea or to fill a pan for cooking, or simply simmer up a simple 150-250ml in just 45-seconds, keeping costs downs every time you feel a thirst coming on.

Stylishly designed to boot, the single cup flow spout makes the business of preparing a brew a helpfully handsfree one, while the savings in both water and electricity usage should prove more than easy to swallow too.

Best for: An Alexa-based end to energy vampires

We’re all guilty of leaving things plugged in when we’re not using them but leaving stuff like your TV in standby mode still sucks up power. Okay, it may not be a lot, but over a year that continual drain can add up ready to punch you right in the purse. The solution is, of course, to unplug such devices, but if you’re the forgetful/lazy type this might not always be achievable, which is why smart plugs exist.

Not a Wayne Rooney hair vanity project, but rather a means to saving those precious pennies, the plug in question here comes from Amazon and, as such, is an absolute essential for anyone who uses Alexa around the home. Simply employ it like the filling in some weird electricity sandwich between mains socket and device, pair up with the Alexa app and – boom – now you can turn the attached device on or off via app or voice control, set schedules and, should you be using your Amazon Smart Plug to control a lamp, control it remotely to give the impression that your house is occupied even when not, thus keeping the opportunistic criminal classes at bay.

A great way to save energy and command control over the home like the Captain of your very own Enterprise, I already use several such smart plugs around my house as I am exactly the kind of forgetful/lazy type I alluded to earlier.

Best for: Practically power-free cooking

While I’m not sure this qualifies as a ‘device’, what I am absolutely certain it qualifies as is an item of energy saving prowess that verges on the absolutely ingenious.

A slow cooker that requires absolutely no external power source to perfectly prepare piping-hot one-pot meals, the Wonderbag is the brainchild of Sarah Collins who created it to address the social-economic and environmental impact on people living in both her native Africa and other developing countries. And with the UK plunged into both an energy and general cost-of-living crisis, we can now add ourselves to the list of places that can benefit big-time from her bag.

Coming complete with a range of suggested recipes, the Wonderbag couldn’t be simpler to use – bring your food to the boil on the cooker as usual, then transfer the pot to the Wonderbag, seal up and leave for the allotted time. Inside the bag, heat-retention technology continues the cooking process for up to eight-hours, utterly free from any plugs or power sources, making it the most eco- and energy-cost-friendly way to whip up dinner.

Available in four sizes to serve up portions suitable from two people to up to 60 (Catering size), the Wonderbag is nothing less than a work of brilliance in the battle against energy prices.

Best for: Staying warm, staying solvent

As the avarice-obsessed porcine power companies guzzle at the trough this winter, free from all thought for anyone but their bloated selves, many might be wondering just how they’re going to do so much as keep warm.

With the usual options of central heating, gas heaters and even underfloor heating looking increasingly too expensive to run, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer at the savage hands of the cold seasons without some radiator-based climate control at your otherwise frozen fingertips. I speak, of course, of the Smart Eco Heater from AENO, a smart, app-driven, movable heating option that offers efficient and economical heat distribution in rooms up to 30m2 in size using infrared and convection heating.

Stylish looking, super-slim at 11mm and capable of simply plugging into the mains, the AENO delivers delicious heat right where you need it, while using 50 per cent less power than all other conventional classic heaters. All of them.

Made from sandblasted anodised aluminium and enamelled tempered glass, this is a premium product at a very reasonable price that can be floor, wall or even ceiling mounted, horizontally or vertically, to offer the ultimate in toasty flexibility.

Add to that the aforementioned app which lets you set timers and temperature remotely, the AENO allows you to always come home to a welcome warm environment without bleeding your bank account dry in the process.

Best for: Exacting control over your heat

According to the old proverb, an Englishman’s home is his castle. But, first of all, the energy crisis is far from just a problem in England alone and, secondly, who wants to live in a draughty old castle that’s haunted by headless-types and those who froze to death in their sleep? Exactly.

No, what we all need is a well-insulated abode with complete control over the internal temperature, right down to the last degree C. Conventional boilers linked to conventional thermostats can’t quite achieve this accuracy, which is why – to keep you snug in the ways of heat and smug in the ways of savings, you should invest in a smart thermostat.

Take this sexy looking selection from Netatmo, for example. A relatively easy to install replacement for your current thermostat, you can fit the Netatmo using either wired or wireless installation and, in reasonably competent hands, the whole thing can be up and running within an hour. And if that doesn’t instil you with confidence, remember this: my house hasn’t burnt down yet.

Once in place and linked up with the iOS- and Android-friendly app, suddenly all the pound-preserving benefits of smart heating are literally at our fingertips, including the ability to set schedules and temperatures to ensure your gaff is only heated when it needs to be and always to your desired degree. Naturally, you can also control it all remotely from the office, the train, the bus should you be returning home at an unscheduled hour. If you also have the foresight to pair the Netatmo Smart Thermostat up with Netatmo’s Smart Radiator Valves (more on those in a moment), you can even alter the temperature of individual radiators (‘district heating’) in separate rooms. Clever, eh?

Also, designed by none other than Starck (as in famed French nine-thing-maker Philippe Starck), each element of the thermostat and its accompanying relay switches not only ooze ‘smart’ but look très chic to boot.

Best for: Remote, individual radiator control

And starting a whole new entry, let alone just a fresh sentence, with a coordinating conjunction simply to infuriate any grammatical purists reading, the moment I promised mere minutes ago in which I’d give you more on Netatmo’s Smart Radiator Valves has arrived.

Available as a Starter Kit comprised of two smart valves and a relay switch (plus all necessary adapters and batteries), there is no specialist knowledge required. Once attached to your rads of choice, simply download and open up the app on your Android or Apple device and enjoy fully automatous group or individual control over your radiators with the ability to adjust the temperature in each room, set schedules or just turn on or off.

What’s more, these being ‘smart’ valves, if they detect a window has been left open, they switch off so as not to waste energy heating the room and even analyse their immediate environment, accounting for sunshine in real-time and adjusting the heating accordingly.

So, in this way, you’ll always be warm and never waste a penny. But, you may be asking, what happens if a sudden, unexpected cold-front sweeps in from, of I don’t know, Siberia and it plunges my place into the hem environment equivalent of an icebox? Well thanks to Manual Boost, you can hit that smart valve with your actual hand and temporarily raise the temperature in that room for up to three-hours – ample time to let things hot-up enough to stave off that Siberian sting.

Of course, extra valves can be bought and added to the Netatmo eco-system letting you cover all rooms in ‘smart’, and if you add-in the afore-covered Smart Thermostat then your continued warmth and relative wealth is assured as we carry on through the crisis.

Best for: Keeping your home clean and your costs down

I hate to be the bearer of further bad news, but even during the unprecedented energy crisis, dust will still fall. On top of this fresh revelation of horror, pets will also continue to shed fur and the random flotsam and jetsam of everyday life will freefall to the floor unabated, stubbornly remaining there until you fire-up the vac. But wait! Surely vacuum cleaners consume vast amounts of power? Well, yes, yes they do; which is why you might just be more than a little interested in two things: 1) Henry Vacuum cleaners also have variations called Hetty, James, George, Harry and Charles for reasons unlikely to become any clearer here, and 2) there is also a version on Henry that uses 30 per cent less energy than any other of its ilk and its name is Henry Eco.

Red, smiley and forever looking upward to the left like he’s seen something terrible just over your shoulder, Henry Eco is more than just good looks. Featuring dust-free emptying and an extra long lead, it comes equipped with an advanced, high-performance, high-efficiency motor for the powerful cleaning you may have come to know and expect from H and his pals, but with a significant reduction in energy usage that’ll save you much in the way of money/pounds/cash too.

Best for: Bigger meals, smaller cooking costs

Air fryers started becoming a real ‘thing’ about a year ago. Having heard them scarcely mentioned before that point, suddenly all the trendy kids were banging on about them on TV, on the radio and possibly in pubs. Regardless, the air fryer had landed and while it initially appealed to health fanatics who wanted tasty real food free from artery clogging cooking oil, the idea of the air fryer has now taken on an entirely new life due to the dual whammy of the global cooking oil shortage and the energy crisis. Why? Because, on average, an air fryer requires considerably less oil (up to 99 per cent less) and, indeed, power to achieve the same culinary ends as a conventional oven.

Let’s take this first example, the Vortex Plus as our case study. Firstly, with a 5.7-litre capacity basket, it’s as spacious on the inside as a tuck-cooking TARDIS, secondly, a 6-in-1 sustenance-server, the Vortex Plus can air fry, bake, grill, dehydrate, reheat and/or roast food to perfection while – and this is the third and for the sake of this round of reviews, the most important element – using up to 80 per cent less power than an electric oven.

Simplicity itself to use, thanks to digital pre-set buttons and a smart dial control, a glass window means you can keep an eye on proceedings without having to open the drawer and – something of a deal-clincher for those who don’t want the omnipresent aroma of cooking hanging in the air like a literal bad smell – the Vortex comes blessed with OdourErase technology that uses filters to remove smells before they hit the air.

Capable of cooking-up culinary creations for up to six people in one sitting, the Vortex Plus is the smart way to feed the whole family while cutting considerably back on cooking costs.

Best for: Keeping yourself clean and our costs down

Baths – big, hollow space-cloggers that are expensive to fill and, although undeniably relaxing to be in, ultimately leave you merely floating in an ever-cooling soup made of yourself.

Now, showers on the other hand have the ability to blast your hair and skin clean with consistently clean water at a constant temperature. However, they can cost to run and you may become agonisingly aware that you’re watching your kilowatts literally washing away down the drain. Which is why Triton have gone and given us this: the Amore DuElec or, to roughly translate into English, the ‘Love FromElec’.

Packing an A energy rating and offering an entirely energy efficient way to instantly heat water, thus avoiding wastage of both H2O and the electricity used to hose you in it, the Du Elec is also a stylish addition to any bathroom that comes available in a Gloss White or (for £10 more, for some reason) Gloss Black finish. It has a nicely crisp white temperature display, touch-activated controls and a five spray pattern shower head, ensuring that your everyday ablutions are as pleasurable as they are power-saving.

Best for: Cutting wasteful kettle costs

Keeping a watchful eye over the way you mix water and electricity yet again, this epic alternative to clicking on the kettle is a 3-in-1 that dispenses instant 100°C boiling water for cooking or a cup of java, hot water at 70-80°C for that Goldilocks Zone-appeasing cup of green tea, or simply chilled for a cooling glass of plain aqua to help ease your way out all the hyperventilating you did upon opening your energy bill.

Whatever you require, it all comes served to your specific volume to save on power and always fully filtered, whilst the touch-sensitive interface is child’s play itself to use and the whole waterworks comes ‘plumber-free’ thanks to a removable 3.8-litre water tank.

Featuring, in fact, some 49 total combinations mixed from the seven temperature and seven volume options, the Aqua Optima is very much the kettle-replacement of choice for the water and cost-cutting connoisseur.

Best for: The desk-bound home-worker

Things have changed since early 2020, I think it’s fair to say. Working from home – something I’d been doing since 2011, by the way – suddenly became trendy with those not wishing to die, and for many, continuing to work from the confines of their crib (or working a hybrid combo) is now the ‘new normal’.

However, working from home comes with working from home power bills, all of which are rocketing into the stratosphere like a bored billionaire on a sojourn into space. But what if you didn’t have to heat your whole house when working from home? What if you only had to heat the room you were actually working in? And then, if you’re still with me, what if you didn’t actually even have to heat the room you work in? The dream of a madman, maybe, but this is definitely not: the ökoform miniöko-up.

Yep, welcome to the world’s only heated desk. Your eyes do not deceive you and, no, I’m not yet drunk, for this cunning bit of kit generates its own heat around you while you work, keeping it contained to that individual area, while proving to be 90 per cent cheaper to run than a fan heater. I know, right?

This is one of two designs on offer from the – surprisingly given the name – Dorset-based company, but both are designed in the same way to direct heat downwards under the desk using insulation and radiant heat tech to keep you toasty as you toil.

The model seen here is also height-adjustable, to provide proper comfort and keep DSE assessment people pleased, and comes as standard with a 200 x 600mm tabletop, though bespoke options are available.

Smart as lovingly warm whip and capable of keeping the energy cost crisis just a little further away from your door, upwards of £549 for a desk might seem steep, but look into the long-term costs of heating your home against a one-time expense that will keep you warm throughout the winter, keep more of your cash out of the pockets of the energy providers and, come the spring and summer months, still function as your non-warming workstation. Now that’s got to be an investment worth considering.

Best for: A family and beyond sized air fryer

Okay, we looked at the Instant Brands Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer and its ability to serve freshly cooked food to up to six people simultaneously thanks to its 5.7-litre capacity, but what if you need more? What if, with the season of festive gluttony looming, you need to cater for a bigger guest list but still keep costs down? Welcome to the Innoteck Kitchen Pro 12L.

An all-in-one air frying oven powerhouse that can fry, bake, and roast pretty much anything you care to throw into its capacious 12L basket, the Innoteck comes with eight auto programmes that allow you to do anything from dehydrating food and cooking pizza to perfection, to spit-roasting anything that fits on the rotisserie rack.

What’s more, all this can be done using 99 per cent less fat than boring old ordinary ovens and – wait for it – the tastiest bit of all, cooking at 1800W, it only consumes 1.4kWh thus costing you between 25-35p of electricity during every hour of use, depending on which power provider you’re with. By comparison, the average electric oven uses 2400-watts to operate each hour, consuming up to 2.4kWh, so you can almost see the savings already.

Neatly designed too, with a touchscreen display and a double glass door with interior light to lend you line-of-sight of your air frying fine fayre, the Innoteck Kitchen Pro 12L could well become an absolute essential this Christmas and into 2023. Why mention Christmas again when we’re still enduring autumn? Well, as I write I am informed that current stock has sold out but will be replenished by the last week of October, so make an urgent note now, either for yourself or whoever handles your Santa Christmas list!

Best for: Big savings on energy bills

Okay, serious face on now. This bit of metal pipe you’re looking at now may not appear very exciting, but that’s because you have no idea how much of a difference this bit of metal pipe could make to your cash-flow situation.

Let’s start some serious solid facts: 60 per cent of UK homes and businesses are supplied with hard water which causes limescale. And, yes, London famously suffers some of the hardest water in the country. Limescale may not seem like much of an enemy, but its ever-spreading presence causes not only your boiler, but other water-based household appliances to run less efficiently, with only a minimum covering of limescale being capable of forcing your boiler to use up to 25 per cent more power to heat our water. So, this unremarkable looking bit of metal pipe can save you up to a quarter on your annual leccy bills.

With different options available, the H2o9 (or ‘Favourite’) featured here is the optimum solution for over 95 per cent of homes in the UK. Affixed to your incoming mains pipe, the Favourite doesn’t require any additional salt or, indeed, tweaking, cleaning or anything else as it’s not a water softener but a water conditioner. What does that mean? Okay, deep breath – made from a unique alloy cast into a solid core of turbulence-producing fins and gateways, the turbulence and repeated contact with the alloy changes the molecular structure of the minerals in the water as it flows through. This then alters the state and structure of Calcium Carbonate so that – Bob’s your limescale-free uncle – it loses its ability to cling to surfaces, keeping stuff like your boiler, showerheads, washing machine, kettle and taps safe.

Is it pricey? Yes, I suppose it is. Will it save you up to 25 per cent on your energy bills every year for 30-years? Yes, you’re darn tootin’ it will.

Best for: Keeping warm, keeping it simple

I’ve looked at some very smart and some outright-ingenious ways to keep warm, lit and fed during the energy cost crisis, but what I’ve probably failed to do right up until this point is keep is simple – typical me.

So, to that end, how about taking your heating with you around the home, without bothering the boiler, and from as little as 1p per night to run? That’s the elegant easiness of this Deluxe heated throw from Dreamland. Imbued with Intelliheat + technology that allows it to heat up in just five-minutes, this low-cost electric blanket heating solution is as good on the sofa as it is keeping you snug as a bug in bed.

Available in a range of colours, cosy and cheap as chips to run, sometimes just seeing out a cost of energy crisis in comfort can be simple.

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