Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint are both hot topics in today’s economic climate. So what if you could do both all from the palm of your hand?
Energy experts Love Energy Savings have compiled a list of the top 10 energy saving mobile apps available through the Apple store and the Play store, giving you the power to reduce your heating, electricity and even fuel cost, all at your fingertips.
Smart home technology is constantly making your home more intelligent. You can now control everything from your doorbell to your washing machine, all from your smartphone -- and now, you can save on your bills with it, too.
Hive is one of the biggest names in smart thermostats today. Hive claims it can save customers as much as £130 a year. That promise, alongside its user-friendly features, makes Hive one of the most popular systems on the market.
It has a number of money-saving features, including frost protection to prevent your pipes from freezing in low temperatures and a holiday mode to make sure you’re not wasting energy when you’re away from home. You can even connect Hive to your Amazon Echo, allowing you to control your home’s heating with your voice!
Cost: £199 (Hardware)
Pros: It’s incredibly intuitive and easy to use
Cons: Hive thermostats need to be installed by a British Gas engineer
Nest is the brainchild of Google and Nest Labs, a company specialising in home automation devices. The result is one of the most sophisticated smart thermostats available.
As well as being able to monitor and adjust a room’s current temperature, Nest can also detect light, humidity and motion to recognise whether or not you’re in the room. It can then use these sensors to learn your schedule, meaning there’s no need to programme it in every day, as it will instinctively adapt to your habits.
You can control it in advance, too. The ‘holiday’ mode gives you the power to schedule your heating to turn on when you know you’ll be returning home - that way you’ll know you’ll be coming home to a warm house.
Cost: £199 (Hardware)
Pros: Senses opportunities to save energy and alerts you to them
Cons: You’ll need to purchase multiple temperature sensors if you want to heat your whole property remotely.
The final smart thermostat in our list may be less well-known than our previous entries, but Tado claims that it can cut your energy bills by 31%, paying for itself in just 12 months.
While Tado has a higher upfront cost than its rivals, it’s the only one that gives you the option of self-setup, saving you professional installation fees. Tado also gives you the option to fit a thermostat to each radiator in your home, giving you accurate room-by-room control over the temperature of your house - all from the app.
Another great feature is Tado’s geolocation automation. Geolocation uses the app and your smartphone’s location settings to automatically turn your heating on or off as it senses you arriving or leaving home.
Cost: £249 (Hardware)
Pros: Self setup will save you money upfront
Cons: Tado can’t learn your preferences, meaning you’ll need to manually input room preferences
With a number of apps available to assist you with your heating, keeping your home energy usage under control has never been easier. But what about when you’re out on the road?
With the handy WhatGas app, you can see exactly how much each petrol station charges per litre before you get there. This way, you can pre-plan journeys to make sure you’re always getting the best rates.
Pros: You can easily plan your journeys to save the most money on fuel
Cons: Accurate pricing information requires app users to regularly update prices manually
Saving money on your petrol bills is one thing, but you can save even more by opting to choose a taxi instead. Uber revolutionised the taxi industry with its introduction of customer profiles. Now you can choose your destination, the type of car that drives you and order your taxi all from the convenience of a mobile app - all while being automatically charged for your trip.
Uber has now taken things a step further with the introduction of UberPool. UberPool matches customers that are heading in the same direction and will assign a single driver to courier them to their destinations, giving customers an opportunity to save money on fares and do their part for the environment.
This way you’ll not only split the cost of your fare, but it means a single taxi can do the job of up to 4.
Pros: Cheaper fares than a standard UberX taxi
Cons: The promptness of your journey is reliant on other passengers and your fare’s discount relies on a number of factors, making it difficult to predict
It’s easy to lose track of how much energy you’re using at home until you’re hit with an unpleasant bill. With an app like the Energy Cost Calculator, available to Android users, you can see accurate readings of how much energy you’re consuming on a daily basis.
The app works by asking you to input data from your meters. Then, it takes readings and gives you data on your gas, electricity and water usage. The app lets you colour-code data and add comments to readings so you can better understand and navigate the information.
You’ll need to update the app with regular readings to discover your average rate of consumption over a set period.
Note: By installing a smart meter in your home, you’ll receive the most accurate data and won’t need to submit meter readings to view your usage.
Pros: Customisable charts let you visualise data in whichever way is most helpful to you
Cons: The interface is difficult to master and there are few instructions
When trying to cut back on your energy usage, it’s important to know how you use your energy, as well as how much. With the Energy Cost Calculator app, you can analyse which appliances in your home use the most energy. The concept is pretty simple: enter the wattage of your appliance and how often you use it to find out how much it is costing you to run.
The app isn’t 100% accurate as it doesn’t have access to information about your tariff. It also relies on you giving accurate readings on how much you use an appliance. However, it’s a good starting point to find out which appliances are costing you the most to operate.
Although this app doesn’t save you money right away, you can begin to use your appliances more responsibly once you have a better understanding of which ones are eating away at your energy bills.
Pros: Gives you insights into how you use your energy at home and where you can save
Cons: Relies on you providing accurate readings to be useful
Keeping an eye on your appliances is a smart way to save on your energy bills, but an even bigger step is to make changes to your everyday behaviour.
The main aim of JouleBug is to help you make your everyday habits more sustainable, whether it’s at work or home. You’ll be advised to take small steps, like opening a window instead of using a fan, that add up to a big difference.
The app is structured like a game, rewarding your efforts with trophies and allowing you to share your accomplishments with your friends for bragging rights. You can also get involved in local challenges, watch informative how-to videos and track your actions to see a breakdown of the impact you’ve made so far.
Pros: Turns being more eco-friendly into a fun, competitive game
Cons: The app could do with an update to include new tasks and stay relevant
9. Eco Charger
Running out of phone battery is a modern-day nightmare that most of us fear. To combat this, many people are guilty of overcharging our phones when it’s simply not necessary (putting your phone on charge before bed, for example, is much longer than it needs to fully charge).
The Eco Charger app will help you keep your charging to a minimum. The app will trigger an alarm when the battery is fully charged to let you know when it’s time to unplug.
By sticking to the Eco Charger’s alarm, you’ll save money on your energy bills by only charging when you need to and also preserve the lifespan of your phone’s battery.
Pros: Automatic notifications to prevent overcharging
Cons: No option to change the notification sound
10. My Earth
Originally created by researchers and students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology, the My Earth app is designed to help you keep track of your personal energy usage, your savings and your total impact.
The app contains five main categories: electricity, recycling, travel, food and usage. It includes day-to-day activities to measure how environmentally friendly your actions are. These activities can range from small measures like recycling your glass bottles to larger tasks like switching your appliances with energy-efficient replacements
My Earth includes a diary for users to check off their activities and lets you visualise how small steps can add up to a bigger impact environmentally. By using an image of a polar bear on an iceberg, users can see how their actions cause the iceberg to grow or shrink - helping people make sense of carbon units and how their actions affect the grander scheme.
Pros: You can see how your actions as an individual make a difference
Cons: You’ll need to remember to record your actions for accurate results
“Finding new innovations to save our customers money on their energy bills is something we’re always looking out for,” says Phil Foster from Love Energy Savings. “When it comes to utility bills, more often than not, it’s small actions that snowball to create large bills.
“With the help of mobile apps, customers can now keep a closer eye on how they’re using their energy, but more importantly, take actions to become more energy conscious and save money in the process.”
Did you know you can switch your energy provider straight from your phone? Compare quotes from energy suppliers on your mobile by entering your postcode today and see how much you could save.