10 Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency at Home and Put Money in Your Pocket
Domestic Energy Efficiency has long been a hot topic of debate and subject to extensive research and capital expenditure for countries and organizations alike for many decades. The so-called green revolution has helped to push this principle into the public arena.
It might surprise you that in the UK, domestic energy accounts for a large proportion of the country’s CO2 emissions. To most, the subject of climate change seems a little esoteric and is often dismissed as an academic and/or political issue, but let’s tackle this issue in a rather more tangible and immediately rewarding way... MONEY!!
The following ten tips, in no particular order, can help improve your Domestic Energy Efficiency, and by virtue CO2 emissions and help to save the future of human civilization. But more importantly, keep more of your hard-earned cash where it belongs… in your pocket!
Nice eh? Let’s go…
1. Know thyself
Whether you are a homeowner, tenant or estates manager for a large supermarket chain, occupant behavior is one of the key factors in an effective energy management strategy.
Lighting has a sizable effect on Domestic Energy Efficiency. For instance, turn your lights off when you’re not using them. If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, regardless of the type of light. This will save you around £15 on your annual energy bills.
Building good habits is the cheapest (it’s free) and most effective means of controlling energy use not to mention eternally rewarding for your self-esteem.
[Image courtesy of Pinterest]
Going away for a few days? Off on holidays? Almost all electronic appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. You may want to think about getting a standby saver which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.
You can save around £30 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.
Check the instructions for any appliances you aren’t sure about. Some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in so that they can keep track of any programs you want to record.
3. Careful in your kitchen
You can save around £50 a year by simply using your kitchen appliances more frugally:
• Use a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap and save £30 a year in energy bills.
• Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need and save around £7 a year.
• Cutback your washing machine or dishwasher use by just one cycle per week and save £5 a year on energy, and a further £8 a year on metered water bills.
4. Heads up!
If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower), fit a water efficient shower head. This will reduce your hot water usage while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower.
A water-efficient shower head could save a four-person household (e.g., a family of four or even a shared student flat) around £67 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £100 on water bills if they have a water meter.
5. Don’t hog the shower
By spending one minute less in the shower each day, you will save around £10 off your energy bills each year, per person. With a water meter, this could save a further £10 off annual water and sewerage bills. If everyone in a four-person family did this it would lead to a total saving of £80 a year.
6. Batten down the hatches
There is no point in spending all that hard earned dosh to only have all that lovely heat escape outside. Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney.
DIY draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can cost around £200 but can save up to £25 to £35 a year on energy bills.
7. Take back control
Did you know that more than half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water?
Having a room thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves installed will dramatically improve your Domestic Energy Efficiency and could save you between £80 and £165 a year.
Even turning down your room thermostat by just one degree can save between £85 and £90 a year - OK you might need an engineer to fit these but the payback is very short in the long run.
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 only the areas of your home that need heating
• set the temperature for each area of your home.
8. Think smart
Controls have come a long way and modern innovations can allow you to control your heating remotely via a mobile app, meaning that you can manage the temperature of your home from wherever you are, at whatever time of day. You can also see the past and current usage and become your own mini energy manager.
9. LED by example
If the average household replaced all of their remaining old-fashioned tungsten bulbs with CFLs, and all of their halogens with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and save about £35 a year on bills with substantially longer operating lives (depending on hours of use of course).
You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs). They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and fittings.
10. You trying to AC the world?
Keeping windows and doors closed when the AC is on will have a dramatic effect on your AC running costs as, after all, that small compressor cannot possibly compete with trillions of tonnes of unconditioned air. Do you even need to turn it on? Most modern building designs attempt to make the most of the natural ventilation from the opening window. This is free cooling! Clearly, this is not always possible for instance in polluted cities.
There you go, not too painless and think of all the lovely new things you can buy with that extra money, or just blow it on a new energy guzzling gadget.
This list is clearly not exhaustive and there are a wide variety of consumer products available to help you reduce bills, but I personally revel in DIY solutions. We live in excitingly innovative times and the potential for providing solutions is almost limitless.
Do you any more suggestions or tips? Feel free to let us know and let’s share some ideas regarding improving Domestic Energy Efficiency.
Globally-recognized innovative change expert Nigel Barlow on how there has never been a more important time to foster innovation.