Electrical energy is all around us, from the streetlights and roadsigns outside to the smart tech and devices we have in our homes.
Everything goes along with our interactions or not, ok loading and unloading the washing machine, dishwasher and other ‘white goods’ needs some manual intervention but for the most part these machines we rely on and could not be without are “set and forget” by design and working nature.
There is another side to this in that whether the devices, machines and appliances are being utilized or not – if they are ‘on’ they are using energy.
Some devices use more than others, some have eco modes but if they are in a standby mode, they still are using energy and this adds up, not only that but there could be risks of electrical fire due to the transformers heating up and this does well happen – I, of course, do not want to put across a negative or scary message but these things are very real in some situations.
Some simple steps for energy conservation to reduce your carbon footprint can be taken as follows:
Turn off appliances (at the wall) when not in use as the rates of energy really add up:
- A modern microwave on standby consumes around 3 watts of electricity per hour, that’s 504 watts per week, just over half a kilowatt.
- Modern inkjet printers use around 30 – 50 watts whilst in use and somewhere between 3 – 5 watts when not in use.
- An energy-efficient rated washing machine can use between 1 – 6 watts of electricity on standby mode.
The list above can go on and on, there was a study carried out by the Energy saving trust called ‘Powering the nation’, it found that between 9 – 16% of energy used in homes is used to power appliances and devices when they are not in use and in standby mode, that is a fair whack of needlessly wasted energy.
Consider switching to LED or CFL light bulbs and turn them off when not in use, perhaps utilize a timer switch or motion sensors, you can also add dimmer switches for LED bulbs as well as some other types of lighting.
If you have air conditioning or some sort that has heating, consider putting on an extra layer of clothes or having an extra blanket on your bed at night to keep warmer.
For keeping cool, think about perhaps installing ceiling fans as these are very energy-efficient nowaday and will reduce the load on HVAC systems using less power, you can also close curtains or blinds on the sunny side of your home, therefore, reducing the work of any cooling devices.
Make sure to change the filters on HVAC systems regularly and have them serviced properly as the units will be more efficient this way as well as overall longevity of the units.
Do you have an electric water heater that can be turned off at night? There can be some delay in heating the water up but you can retrofit a timer to water tanks to conserve energy only and turn on when you need it or set it to heat up before you or your family wake up in the mornings.
Clothes dryers are absolute hogs when it comes to energy usage, it is not feasible the whole year but it is easy to line dry clothes as well as buying a cheap clothes horse for use inside your home to cut down on energy wastage. In cold and wet weather there is no choice but to use the dryer so make sure to keep the filter clean removing any lint that builds up occasionally, the appliance will not need to work so hard for the same results. Dryer balls are available to buy and can save upto 25% of energy by drying your clothes quicker.
Keep your fridge and freezer full as space not taken up by food is basically not insulated so well, the motor has to work harder to keep a constant and controlled temperature. Filling void spaces with simple cheap foodstuff like bread in your refrigerator or bagged vegetables in your freezer will save a considerable amount of energy overall. Be sure to keep the elements and coils clean as this will save energy usage as well as prolonging the life of the appliance. Make sure also to cover food whilst in the fridge, this creates less condensation so the motor does not need to work so hard and also prevents cross contamination and possible food poisoning is some cases.
When cooking food use lids on the pans as a lot of energy is wasted otherwise and your food will cook much quicker too.
Try not to pre-heat your oven so much, many recipes require this but in practice there is little point for some dishes especially long cooking ones, it really makes little difference overall.
It is worth utilizing your microwave more when cooking, pre-cooking meat, jacket potatoes and more then finishing them off in the oven will greatly reduce energy consumption and costs.
If you use a dishwasher but do not have many items to wash, it is better to hand wash these rather than running the machine half empty, this method really works well and can be further cut down by washing up in the sink as you go. If you just cannot go without using the dishwasher, just turn off the heat dry and use a tea towel to dry the cutlery, dishes and so on once the cycle has been completed.
You can easily turn down your water heaters temperature by a degree or a couple more, this really adds up to save money over a year. It may be worth updating to a tankless water heater if your existing setup is getting old. If you have a standard water heater and it is not insulated you can buy ‘jackets’ for them that are easy and quick to fit thereby reducing heating and constant temperature time.
It is the same with heating thermostats in that you can set the heating only when you are home, it seems silly to keep you home warm whilst out or working, right?
Find out when the off peak energy rates are active from the energy supplier, doing your laundry or running the dishwasher at these times will surely save some money. Make sure to run full loads when running these appliances, some modern devices have ‘half load’ options that can be utilized in these scenarios.
When showering consider the use of a ‘low flow’ shower head, you will not notice much difference with water delivery but will be conserving as well as saving energy as there will be less physical water to heat.
You can save money and energy usage outside by utilizing solar powered lamps and floodlights with integrated timers, the LEDs they use are super bright if of a CREE type and cost nothing to run after purchase with even grey days being able to charge them up to run throughout the night.
The steps above are a good way to start saving on energy use as well as costs, each little bit helps and all adds up in the end.
I hope these tips help you to save energy as well as the costs of it, leave your comments below for further tips I have missed out.
Thanks for reading!