The days are shorter, summer clothes are packed away and a hot roast is in the oven. Winter has well and truly arrived.

So what can you do to keep your home warm and save on energy costs?

Heat from the sun is the most energy efficient way of heating your home. You can let the sun's radiant heat pour in during the day, then catch and retain this heat with (1) good insulation and close-fitting, quality thermal-lined curtains.

Close-fitting curtains (2) can also stop drafts from gaps in window frames. You can seal doors and other leaks with draft excluders. These steps along with good insulation might reduce, even remove the need for additional heating and will help enclose the heat within your house.

There are many options when it comes to energy efficient heating dependent on the area you are looking to heat and the type of heating solution you choose. A general rule of thumb is to invest more into the most suitable, energy efficient heating solution for the rooms you use most often and focus less on the rooms you aren't likely to use as much. You can find more information about heating on the EECA Energywise site.

Water heating can account for up to 30% of your energy usage, maybe even more if you enjoy long hot showers. The most common water heating system in New Zealand is an electric hot water cylinder. Your hot water cylinder can be made more energy efficient for a relatively low cost - by applying foam lagging (insulation used to prevent heat diffusion) to the first metre of the hot water pipe you can help retain heat within the cylinder and increase your overall energy savings.

Another appliance that is often overlooked is heated towel rails. They might not appear to use a lot of power, but heated towel rails operate at between 60 – 80W and in a majority of cases run 24/7. This is more than enough time to dry your towel several times over! By installing a towel rail timer you will be able to control the use of your towel rail to assure a dry towel in the morning without unnecessarily wasting energy.

So whether you love or loathe the colder seasons, there are measures you can take that don't always involve great expense and can often result in energy savings.

Read more energy saving tips here. Feel free to share any of your tips with us below.