Because no-one really wants to give up chocolate.

The run up to Lent is a period of quiet contemplation for many, with those that observe the period often choosing to give up something important to them between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. For a lot of people, this is usually a seemingly naughty vice such as chocolate or alcohol. For others, the period might represent the opportunity to really get to grips with new attitudes and behaviours, which is why it’s a great time to take a look at your energy habits – even the Church of England is going green for Lent.

Making a conscious effort to stop wasting energy means you’ll use fewer natural resources, which will help to reduce your impact on climate change. It also means you’ll be spending less on bills, so really, you’ve nothing to lose and lots to gain! Keep up the good work for the whole period of Lent and your new habits will stick, benefiting the planet and your wallet long after Easter has passed.

Leaving the lights on

We’re all guilty of this from time to time, but some of us are worse offenders than others. And despite some popular myths, it does not ‘use less energy leaving them on than it does turning them off then on again’, so no excuses! Pop a pound in a jar every time you slip up and you’ll quickly mend your ways (and you can use the money to replace old bulbs with energy-saving ones – this could save you £55 a year!)

Falling asleep with the TV on

We know how it is: it’s late, you’re warm and cosy on the sofa – here come the zzzs. But leaving the TV blaring as you snooze is a big waste of energy, especially if you have a large screen or plasma TV. So as soon as you feel sleepy, turn it off and head to bed (your body will thank you for it – no one likes waking up on the sofa at 3am). Alternatively, if napping on the couch is a nightly ritual for you, set a sleep timer on your TV so it shuts off automatically after a certain period.

Leaving the heating on

You’re just climbing into bed, ready for a lovely trip to snooze town, when suddenly you think, ‘Did I turn the heating off?’ You can’t be bothered to go check, so you shrug it off get under the covers. The next morning, the house feels like a furnace and your energy bill is just that little bit higher. Sound familiar? Make turning the heating off part of your nightly routine (leave a note on the bathroom mirror if you must!). Better yet, learn how to programme your boiler so the heating switches on and off automatically – you’ll sleep easier for it.

Leaving your phone on charge

Mobile phones are the Dracula of vampire power, needlessly sucking up energy for hours after they’ve fully charged. (Learn more about vampire power – aka ‘standby power’ – here). Leaving them on charge is a tricky habit to break, especially as modern smartphones drain quickly so most people simply leave them plugged in overnight. However, you can make a difference simply by unplugging your charger when it’s not being used, as it still sucks up energy even without your phone at the end of it.

Overfilling the kettle

We Brits love a cuppa, but our kettle-overfilling habit costs a whopping £68 million a year! If you’re making a cup of tea for one person, then you need only boil enough water for one person – it’s basic maths. But if you’re liable to stand absentmindedly at the sink while you fill the kettle with more than you need, consider investing in a one-cup-boiling kettle, which will only boil enough water for as many cups as you tell it to.

The bottom line

Changing ingrained behaviour can be tricky, but it’s not impossible, and it’s more important than ever that we all try to do our bit to reduce the impacts of climate change. We can start by giving up bad energy wasting habits, and Lent is a great time to get into the swing of things.

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