There are two topics on everyone’s lips these days: 1) How can I save energy? and 2) How can I save money? Often, these questions are one and the same.
There are plenty of drastic and expensive measures you can take to save energy, such as installing insulation or double glazing, and these will pay for themselves in just a few years. But what about small measures that you and your family can start doing right away? After all, if we’re going to simultaneously save the environment and our purse strings, everyone should be able to chip in! Here are our favourite, simple changes to save energy:
- Wear the right clothes
Starting off with an obvious and easy solution to a high heating bill – get warm by wrapping up instead! The warmer you are, the less heating you’ll need to warm the house, and the less energy you’re consuming! After all, every degree above 20°C can add 10% to your heating bill, so it’s worth dropping just a degree or two.
- Turn off the lights
Not necessarily while you’re still in the room, of course, but light redundancy should be kept to a minimum. Empty rooms should be kept in the dark to avoid needlessly using energy. Speaking of lights…
- Get energy efficient bulbs
If your house is still using incandescent light bulbs, then lighting could amount to 19% of your total energy bill. This is because those lights operate at only 1.5-5% efficiency, wasting the rest of the energy. Several years ago, we were introduced to Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), but their 7-10% efficiency didn’t make up for their slow ‘warm-up’ period to reach maximum luminosity. LED lights have taken the light efficiency podium place more recently, being around 14% efficient, but MIT claims they are working on a bulb that will reduce filament waste, increasing its efficiency to around 40%. That’s at least an 800% increase from incandescent bulbs!
- Turn off standby devices
Yes, it might be easier to put the device on standby rather than turning it off entirely, but you might be surprised to hear that leaving electronics on standby constitute 10% of your overall energy usage. The most common devices that we set to standby are TVs and mobile phones, so if you’re looking to minimise your energy bill these are good places to start. Other areas to pay attention to are computers, laptops and video games, but in these cases, it takes a lot of energy to boot up, so you might be better off only turning them off overnight and setting to standby during the day.
- Manage your hot water consumption
We use hot water for an awful lot of things in the house, and heating up all that H2O has a large impact on your energy consumption. But there are a few areas where people don’t often realise they’re using up more energy. Dishwashers, for an example, have a bad reputation but actually only use a few gallons of water – roughly the equivalent of three minutes of running water from the tap. A 2008 study in Bonn University found a dishwasher load of dishes cleaned by hand used up 49 litres of water, while a dishwasher used just 12.
Washing clothes also uses a lot of energy, especially at higher temperatures. If you wash with cold or warm temperatures (both of which are usually adequate for washing) you can enjoy noticeable reductions to your bills.
- Save energy in the kitchen
The kitchen is FULL of appliances that use up energy, and there are several ways you can use less. When cooking on a stove or in an oven, cover your pots and pans so they heat up faster. If you’re boiling water (on the hob or in a kettle), only use the amount you need so the water boils quicker with less energy. Wherever possible, use a microwave to cook instead of an oven, because it uses a lot less power.
When it comes to your fridge, don’t put hot food in there! The fridge tries to keep itself at a low temperature, and if you warm up the interior with hot food, the appliance will be working overtime to get the temperature back down. Additionally, as much as it should go without saying, make sure you close the fridge and freezer doors!
- Shut the doors and close the curtains
Heat always seems to escape somehow, either out of the house or into areas of the property that aren’t in use. Try to seal off the areas that you aren’t using by closing the doors – there’s very little point in heating a room no one is using. Meanwhile, closing the curtains will help block the escaping heat from the rooms you are heating and will block cold drafts.
- Time your energy usage
The amount you are charged for power will differ depending on what time of the day/night you are using power in your property. This will be subject to the tariff that you’re on, but it’s worth running machines like dishwashers and washing machines after midnight when energy is cheaper. If your machine has a timer delay, you can schedule the machine to start while you sleep (assuming it isn’t too close to any bedrooms!).
Those are our top tips for saving energy in your home and – best of all – anyone in the family can help! Mums, Dads, and kids can all pitch in. Why not share these tips with your school and show the teachers what the kids have learned about energy saving? They’ll probably encourage similar measures in the classroom!
Have any questions about energy supply, or looking to find out more about renewable energy for your school or building? Go to our Contact Us page to get in touch – we’d be very glad to hear from you!