Do you know that everything that we do, buy, use and eat has an impact on our environment? In fact, your impact is just a fraction of the total greenshouse gas pollution produced to maintain your lifestyle. One of the ways to minimize our carbon footprint and have a positive impact on our environment is to cut back on our energy consumption.
The household is a good place to start. Plenty of effective ways reduce energy consumption and save on power bills! On an average household energy bill, the largest expenditure is heating and cooling the home, followed by water heating. So it’s a good idea to look at these areas and start making some changes.
Home Energy Saving Ideas
1) Heat and cool your house when necessary
If you have central heating and an adjustable thermostat, turn your heat down a fraction. A reduction of 1°C can cut bills by 10 percent. You can make central heating run more efficiently by using the zoning and timing functions, so that heat is only delivered to rooms that need it. Same applies with air conditioning to prevent cooling an empty room, which is a waste of money.
2) Make use of the sun’s warmth
Install large windows on the sunny side of your house. You could also trim back shrubs and trees outside this window to maximise the sun coming into contact with the window. This will be beneficial in winter. But in summer, you can stay cool by installing awnings, eaves or blinds that block the sun.
3) Insulate your home
Adding insulation in the roof space, wall cavities or under the floor will make a difference in household temperature. A well insulated home can be up to 10°C warmer in winter, and as much as 7°C cooler in summer.
4) Wash clothes in cold water
About 8 percent of the energy required for a hot wash is used to heat the water, so use a cold wash if you can. A hot wash also generates five times more in greenhouse gas than a cold wash. Cold water uses 90 percent less energy than if you use hot water to wash your clothes. Buy a front-loader washing machine if you can. They are more water-efficient, and consume 40 percent less energy compared to a top-loader washing machine.
5) Dry your clothes on the line
Whenever the weather permits, it is best to hang your clothes outside to dry rather than using an electric clothes dryer, or a tumble dryer.
6) Check the location of your fridge
Fridges should be kept out of direct sunlight, and away from other heating devices such as ovens and microwaves. They need enough room around them for good airflow. Perhaps your fridge needs to be relocated in a good spot to save both energy and money.
7) Switch off appliances on ‘stand-by’
Switch appliances off at the wall to avoid wasting money on ‘stand-by’ energy. Appliances on ‘stand-by’ mode consumes energy 24 hours a day and account for 10 percent of a household electricity bill.
8) Choose energy-efficient appliances whenever you can
When looking for a new appliance for your home, look at the energy rating labels. The energy rating labels have two elements, a star rating and a consumption indicator. The more stars an appliance have on the scale of 1-6, means the more efficient it is. The consumption indicator shows how much energy the appliance uses. So if two items have the same star rating, choose the one with the lower rate of consumption. Furthermore, take into account that an extra star in an energy rating can result in savings of 10 percent per year, which can benefit you in the long-term.
9) Choose natural gas over electricity
Natural gas is normally cheaper and produces one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions of electricity from coal-fired power stations. So if you have access to gas, consider switching to gas-powered products when it’s time for a replacement.
10) Choose a laptop
Laptop computers require fewer materials to produce, and use up to 90 percent less energy compared to desktop computers. So when you are ready for an update, consider buying a laptop.
11) Insulate the hot-water pipes
Ensure that the pipes of your hot-water system are properly insulated to minimize heat losses between the storage tank and the tap. Heating water accounts for more than one-quarter of the household energy bill and as much as half of total water-heating costs can be due to heat loss.
12) Use energy efficient light bulbs
Replace your conventional light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs, known as compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). They create an equivalent light at a significantly lower wattage. For example, a 25-watt CFL is as bright as a 100-watt conventional bulb. CFLs can last 10 times as long and use 80 percent less energy. So it makes sense to switch to these light bulbs.
13) Choose an energy efficient hot water system
When you want to change your hot water system, it is a good idea to choose an energy efficient gas, solor, or electric-heat pump unit. Although they are more pricey, they have long term benefits. They are not only cheaper to run, but they will save you money and also reduce greenhouse gases.
14) Install water-saving devices
These devices will use hot water more efficiently and reduce your energy use. Innovative tap and shower fittings can cut the flow by more than half. For example, for a standard shower head, you might use 15 – 20 litres of water per minute. A water-efficient showerhead, in comparison, can use as little as 6 or 7 litres of water.
15) Seal up gaps and cracks
Look around your home and plug gaps that you see around the windows, doors and any other external openings to prevent heat loss. This is particularly good for winter as household heat loss can be reduced by up to 25 percent.
16) Use natural sources of light
Ways that you can leave lights off during the day include rearranging furniture so that your work spaces and reading spots are close to windows, walls can be painted in light colours, and use highly reflective tubular skylights to bring energy efficient lighting through tall roofs to rooms deep within two storey homes.
17) Planting trees for shading in summer
This is a good idea if your garden has room for trees. They can provide natural shading during the hot summer and also keep the temperature inside your home comfortable.
More Household Energy Saving Ideas?
Now that I have provided seventeen highly effective ways to reduce your household energy bill, do you have more energy saving ideas to share? Please leave a comment if you have enjoyed this article or some more useful tips that we can all benefit from.