Laura de Barra, best-selling author of Gaff Goddess and Décor Galore, shares her top tips for cutting down on energy costs in winter, and helping the environment in the process.

According to the eco-minded author, there are easy things we can do around our homes to keep in the heat and save electricity with simple changes to how we use our appliances.

"Anything involved with getting something hotter or colder is what's going to be most expensive in the home," Laura told Ray.

When it comes to saving money on our laundry, Laura says it's all about choosing the perfect cycle on the washing machine.

"If you open your manual there's going to be a table in there. It's either going to be called a consumption chart or a programme chart, and it will break down each and every cycle in your machine and how much energy they use."

For the detail orientated out there, its possible to use that table to break down the cost of each cycle in relation to your energy tariff. For Laura, though, the most simple thing is to stick to an eco-wash.

"Eco washes are, like all good things in life, low and slow. Low in energy and long washes. They use a bit more water but it will be at a cooler temperature so it will cost you less. These will thoroughly clean your clothes. A mistake that people are going to make is putting everything into a fast wash but fast washes can only be 40 per cent full to be effective and they still won't take care of heavy soiling."

If you have a dryer that you want to use less, you can either cut down how often you use it or you can cut down the amount of time things are being dried.

When you have washed a load of towels and bedding, for example, put it on one more spin so that it will get rid of 70 per cent of the water out of it and then put it into the dryer for less time.

When it comes to keeping your home warm this winter, Laura says that draught-proofing your house can be a great first step.

Keeping sustainability in mind, she suggests getting old tights that you don't plan on wearing anymore and stuffing them with old clothes, socks or rags. You can then use the tights to block air from going out your front and back door.

As for windows, Laura recommends buying some draught-excluder film which can be applied to windows using some tape and a hairdryer.

Moving into the kitchen, listeners learned that "a fridge that is two-thirds full is the one that is going to use the least amount of energy". Obviously, we can't always have that much food in our fridge at all times so Laura suggests filling space with jugs of water.

For more handy household tips, listen back to RTÉ Radio 1 above.