It’s cold outside, you’re staying in, putting on your heating, your TV and you head for long nice hot shower. How’s that going to look like on your power bill? You can do that without feeling guilty. Here’s how:
Step 1: Switch-off. An easy way to save power is to fully switch off anything which is plugged in and uses electricity. For your computer, printer – even your modem – it might come in handy to install a plug where you can do this all at once. Since you can only really be in one room at the time, switch of the lights in the others.
Step 2: Use with care. The washing machine uses a lot of electricity. Why not wash at 60 instead of 90 degrees, 40 instead of 60, 30 instead of 40? And forget about the dryer, why not dry your clothes the old-fashioned way? Other ways of using things more effectively are: turning up the temperature of the fridge, you don’t want to eat frozen yogurts anyway. Try also to turn down the brightness of your (TV, computer) screen, a couple of notches, you won’t even notice.
Step 3: Use some tools. The save energy in your home wiki speaks about the magic of insulating: “Up to a third of your home heating escapes through the roof. Prevent this by insulating. Not only is it simple to do, but it’s also the most cost efficient energy saving measure you can make. If you don’t already have it, invest in cavity-wall insulation. This will prevent another third of your heat escaping.” Solar panels can be a great investment too, especially to help you heat warm water.
Step 4: Replace. It makes sense to use energy-efficient appliances. However, it does not make sense to throw away things which are in perfect shape to replace them for others who loose less energy. If your concern about energy saving is based on idealist/moral grounds (we use too much energy in general and especially fossil fuels, atomic energy etc.) and not just because of your wallet, then buying new stuff is definitely not the best way to save energy – producing a new low-consuming computer f. e. uses much more energy then what you can save with it. Things break. And when they do, that’s a good moment to consider buying a power-saving alternative. LED-lights for example live long and consume much less energy. For fridges and other kitchen-tools, there are energy standards.
Step 5: Reconsider. Do you know how your power is produced? Does it come from coal burning plants? From Atomic energy plants or maybe wind mills? There is only one way to know for sure: switch supplier. There are many options for renewable energy, some examples are ekotricity and Good Energy in the UK.
Picture courtesy by reway2007, thanks.