How to Reduce Your Energy Consumption and Your Energy Cost

Ground to Water Heat Pumps
31st January 2017
Solar Energy
31st January 2017

Follow these energy-saving tips to help fight air pollution, global warming and your skyrocketing electric or gas bill. By making energy-efficient choices you can save electricity and money without giving up the comforts of home, whether you rent, own a home or live with your parents!

Don't forget the basics. This simple stuff will save energy and money, right now.

  • Don't forget to flick the switch when you leave a room. Remember this at the office, too! Turn out or dim the lights in unused conference rooms, and when you step out for lunch. Work by daylight when possible. A typical commercial building uses more energy for lighting than anything else.
  • Unplug your chargers when you're not charging. Every house is full of little plastic power supplies to charge mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, cordless tools and other personal gadgets. Keep them unplugged until you need them
  • Enable the sleep mode feature on your computer, allowing it to use less power during periods of inactivity. In Windows, the power management settings are found on your control panel. For Mac users, look for energy saving settings under system preferences in the Apple menu.
  • Configure your computer to hibernate automatically after 30 minutes or so of inactivity. The hibernate mode turns the computer off in a way that doesn't require you to reload everything when you switch it back on. Allowing your computer to hibernate saves energy and is more time-efficient than shutting down and restarting your computer from scratch. When you're done for the day, shut down.

Insulation

The best way to reduce the power requirements of your home is to ensure that it is well insulated. Even in very large houses, a loft can be insulated quickly and relatively inexpensively. In some cases subsidies for loft and cavity insulation can be obtained from local authorities and energy suppliers. The reduction in heating cost far outweighs the initial cost of the installation.

Thermostats and Controls

The right heating controls will let you keep your home at a comfortable temperature without wasting fuel or heat so you’ll reduce your carbon dioxide emissions and spend less on heating bills.

If you have an electric storage heating and hot water system, use the off-peak electricity to ‘charge up’ overnight and then release heat during the day.

If your home is heated by a system of water-filled pipes and radiators running from a boiler, you have a ‘wet’ central heating system, whether it is gas, LPG or oil-fired. Your full set of controls should ideally include a boiler thermostat, a timer or programmer, a room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs).

Thermostat Temperature Tips

  • Set the room thermostat to 18°C and then turn it up by one degree each day until you find a temperature you're comfortable with. Note that the temperature shouldn't drop below 16°C for elderly people and those with impaired mobility.
  • Room thermostats need a free flow of air to sense the temperature accurately – they must not be covered by curtains or blocked by furniture. Nearby electric fires, televisions or lamps could also stop them from working properly.
  • Note that many room thermostats are for one room only, and will turn your boiler off when the room it's sited in reaches the set temperature. For this reason, it's best to install your thermostat in a room that you use all the time.

Use Energy Efficient Appliances

  • Many manufactured product lines have standardized labelling that denotes how energy efficient the appliance is, and how much energy it consumes, and even how much noise it makes. This gives the consumer greater control on choosing a product which is efficient and therefore “greener”.

How Much Can You Save?

  • Whatever the age of your boiler, the right controls will let you set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need them, heat just the areas of your home you want, and decide how warm you want each area to be. Here are the average savings you could make in a typical three-bedroom semi-detached home, heated by gas:
  • Installing and correctly using a room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves could save £70-£150 and 310kg to 630kg carbon dioxide a year.
  • Fit a hot water tank insulation jacket: £20 to £30 and 90kg - 130kg carbon dioxide a year.
  • Turn down your room thermostat by one degree: save around £75 and 310kg carbon dioxide a year.
  • You can upgrade or install heating controls without replacing your boiler, and it’s a particularly good idea to think about this if your controls are over 12 years old. Room thermostats, for example, are much more accurate than they used to be.

Windows

  • Install high-performance windows, screens and films to protect upholstery, wood and artwork from UV rays while saving energy.
  • Eliminate hot spots in your home by using high-performance windows, solar window screens and certified window firms to carry out the installation.
  • Consider high-performance windows. They’re so efficient that they may help reduce the size and cost needed for your heating system

Lighting

  • Replace standard bulbs, with energy saving light bulbs, or LED. These are more energy-efficient than regular bulbs while giving off the same amount of light.
  • Replace halogen light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs or LED. These are more energy-efficient than halogen bulbs while giving off the same amount of light.
  • Use motion-detector lights for all your outdoor lighting – they’re convenient and efficient.
  • Choose outdoor LED lighting for outdoor lighting – they last up to 2,500 hours depending on use.

For more information and tips go to the Energy Saving Trust

Refrigeration

  • Pull the plug on that second fridge/freezer located in the hot garage or utility room if it's empty.
  • A fridge should have a temperature of between 37°F (3°C) and 40°F (5°C). Any higher and the food will go off, any lower and you’ll lose nutrients and fresh food can be ruined.
  • The ideal freezer temperature is 0°F (-18°C) which will store food safely and stop bacteria forming.
  • It’s a good idea to buy a fridge thermometer and check the temperature if you are not sure whether the thermostat is working efficiently.
  • Repair refrigerator door seals if you feel cold air around the closed door or if moisture is collecting.
  • Replace your refrigerator with an ENERGY RATED qualified model. Energy-efficient models cost less to operate than older refrigerators. Look for the energy efficiency label to compare features. Choose models with improved insulation and power-saving switches.
  • Dust your fridge the next time you dust your house. Check the coils behind the refrigerator and use coil vacuums or dusters to clean it off and keep costs down.
  • Keep your freezer full. It uses less energy than an empty one. For maximum savings, consider filling your freezer with gallon containers of water.
  • Choose energy-efficient appliances. They don’t just save you money, but they’re good for the environment because they use less energy.
  • If you adjust the thermostat, it will generally take 24 hours for the temperature to adjust.

Washing and Drying

  • Wash and dry several loads at once so that your dryer isn't completely cooled down when it heats up for the next load.
  • Avoid over-drying your clothes, it wastes energy, plus causes static and wrinkling.
  • Separate wash loads into light and heavy fabrics for the shortest drying times. Or better yet, air dry your lightest fabrics.
  • Wash full loads of clothes, when possible. When smaller loads are necessary, use less water.
  • Hang dress clothing to air dry on portable laundry racks; they will also look better.
  • Clean the dryer lint filter before every load to keep your dryer running efficiently.
  • Set your dishwasher on economy mode to use less water and electricity.
  • Turn off your dishwasher after the wash cycle and let your dishes air dry. You'll save energy and keep your dishwasher from heating up your kitchen.
  • Keep the oven door closed while cooking. The temperature can drop by as much as 25 degrees each time you open the oven door.
  • Turn off your oven or burners when food is almost ready and let existing heat finish the cooking for you.
  • Use tight-fitting covers, on pots and pans when cooking on the stove to shorten your cooking time and save energy.
  • Match your pot size to the burner, on your stove. Heat is lost when small pots are used on large burners.
  •  Turn off kitchen and bath extractor fans, immediately after use.