By Robert Morgan
It’s a sad fact: we do things every day that waste money. It’s not like we notice it, because it’s not coming directly out of our pocket. But small habits – like not turning off lights, taking a longer shower than is necessary, doing half a load of laundry or forgetting to turn off the heater when you leave the house – actually waste loads of your money every year. Oh, and did I mention they also waste energy?
Making a few small changes can make a huge difference. And who doesn’t want to save money whilst creating a greener, cleaner environment? I’ve thought up 10 Ways to Save Energy At Home that will also help you save money, no matter what the season.
Be Mindful of the Thermostat
Most of us switch the central heating off sometime in April, or May if we are unlucky with the weather. But while it’s on, we’re not very smart about the central heating, with most people leaving the heater on even though they’re not in the house. Even if you switch it on only when you’re home, most people keep the heat constant even at night, when you’re under the blankets. Studies show that we sleep better in a cooler room, so it makes sense to turn the thermostat down.
New innovations like the NEST thermostat can be controlled from your mobile phone, allowing you to turn the heat up or down whether you’re home, out or already tucked into the covers. You can save up to 3% on your heating bill for each degree you drop in temperature.
Stone and marble floors are cooler in summer whilst wood is easier to heat in winter. If you live in a cold climate, building a house with marble floors would be a nightmare to heat; conversely, if you build a house in a hot climate that has many south facing glass panels, you’re asking for huge air conditioning or cooling bills. Try to stick with traditional architectural styles: there’s a reason houses in Sweden are made from wood whilst those in Greece are made of stone painted white with few windows indeed.
Simply Dust Behind Your Fridge
The next time you are cleaning your home, check the coils behind the fridge. These often collect lots of dust, which over time can reduce the fridge’s efficiency and cost you more money and energy to run.
Opt For Energy Saving Appliances
This is a no-brainer: when your various appliances give up the ghost, it’s time to look for an energy efficient replacement. This will not only save you money, they’re obviously better for the environment. Look for Energy Star Certified white goods for the best energy ratings.
Consider a Wood Stove
If you’re staying in one or two rooms all day, why are you heating the entire house with central heating? Wood & Multi Fuel Stoves can heat your home in winter in exactly the rooms you spend the most time in. Just ensure that you burn the right type of wood in your stove. Burning unseasoned wood for example will increase emissions and produce a lesser flame and heat, than if you were to burn dry, seasoned wood. A lower heat output means you need to burn more wood for the same heat.
Unplug Battery Chargers – or Use Solar
When you are not charging batteries unplug your battery charger. Many chargers still draw a power even when they are not in use. Even better: buy a solar charger and use that!
Reduce Your Water Use
In countries like the UK, people often wonder why they need to reduce water use when H2O seems so abundant. But using more water means using more energy thanks to two things: the pump and the water heater. Of course it’s also a good idea to save water (after all, it takes an awful lot of energy to purify it to make it potable!) but taking shorter, slightly cooler showers will put more pounds in your pocket.
Use Energy Saving Bulbs
In most of the EU, regular tungsten bulbs are already being phased out in favour of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Although they cost a little more than regular bulbs, they last a lot longer and you could save around £30 a year in electricity costs. Not only that, they emit far less heat, which means you save money cooling your house in the hotter summer months.
Use the Sun – Or Not
The sun is powerful. It can significantly help heat your home in winter, and in summer, it’s important to block its rays with shades and blinds. If you have air conditioning, this will mean it will work less and use less energy to cool your home to the required temperature
Hob Sizes and Pots
Ensure you match the hob size to the pan you are cooking with. Using a large hob with a small pot is a waste of energy (and often causes it to boil over more easily!)
There are many more quick and easy energy saving tips that you can do all year round. By taking the time to think more about energy saving techniques will help the environment – and your bank balance!
Images: Wikicommons except stove, by Charlton & Jenrick