Energy Tips

Energy Tips.

Electricity Saving Tips

Lighting:

  • Turn the lights off when leaving a room.
  • Use "task" lighting rather than whole room lighting when a small amount of light is required. 
  • Regularly clean light fittings, reflectors and lampshades

Timers:

Use the timer on your immersion heater. This should supply you with enough hot water as and when you need it.

Electric Shower:

Take a shower rather than a bath. A typical shower uses only one fifth of the energy of a full bath.

Computer:

  • Configure your computer to "energy saving" mode in which it will automatically change to the state of low consumption.
  • Switching off the screen can save even more than just letting the screen saver run. 
  • Turning your computer off at night instead of leaving it on will save on average 25% of its annual energy bill.  Remember you should turn off your computer whenever you are not going to use it for more than an hour.

Television:

A television in standby mode can use up to as much as half the electricity as when it is switched on.

Fridge/Freezers:

  • Don't let frost build up in the freezer compartment as this increases energy consumption. Remember to defrost and clean the inside of your refrigerator and freezer at least every 6 months and make sure they are positioned in a cool place, not next to the cooker or boiler or where possible not in the path of direct sunlight.
  • Check that the door seals on the refrigerator and freezer are tight fitting - the seals hold a 5 euro note in place when the door is closed.
  • Don't put warm or hot food straight into the freezer - let it cool down first.

Cooking:

  • Put lids on pots and turn down the heat when the water starts to boil. The lids not only keep heat in the pot but also reduce condensation in the kitchen.
  • At a certain point in cooking, turn off electric rings and use their residual heat.
  • Lots of energy saving cooking devices are under used: like slow casseroles, insulated deep fat fryers, microwave ovens and pressure cookers. They can save both energy and time - with better results!

Microwaves:

In a microwave oven, arrange unevenly shaped items with the thickest portion to the outside. Stir or turn the food over to speed up cooking time. Remember a microwave is more efficient than a cooker for reheating food.   

Electric Ovens:

  • The oven is expensive to use - try to use it as sparingly and efficiently as possible. Where possible use it for more than just one item and remember you can cook at a higher temperature at the top of the oven, and simultaneously at a lower temperature at the bottom.
  • Do not open the over door to check cooking - every time you do so you lose 20% of the accumulated heat.

Toasters & Kettles:

  • The toaster is more energy efficient than the grill for toasting bread.
  • When making tea or coffee, boil only the amount of water required (but make sure the heating elements of electric kettles are covered!).

Tumble Dryers:

When drying clothes in a dryer, dry heavy articles separately from light articles and turn the dryer off as soon as the clothes are dry - don't over dry the clothes!

Washing Machines:

The washing cycle selected on a washing machine should have the lowest water temperature required for the items being washed. A full load of washing is more energy efficient that two half loads. Use a cold rinse for your clothes.

Dishwashers:

Stop the dishwasher before the drying cycle and open the door to let the dishes air dry and always use the economy button where possible.   

Electric Blankets:

Switch on electric blankets no more than half an hour before you go to bed and switch off just before you get into bed.


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Heating & Insulation Tips

Heaters:

  • When buying heaters, make sure that they are the right size for the rooms they are to heat, and that they have thermostatic controls.
  • Remember that electric heaters other than storage heaters consume electricity at the most expensive charge rate. 
  • Use a space or portable heater instead of the central heater, if only one room needs heating. 
  • Choose heaters with thermostat controls and timers.

Central Heating:

  • Turn off the heating overnight and when you are out during the day.
  • Turn off the heating if you are going to be out of the house for more than a day. 
  • Proper control and regular maintenance of your heating system can reduce fuel consumption by 10-20% 
  • If you have gas heating, turn-off pilot lights during the warmer months. 
  • Heat bedroom areas to less than 18oC 
  • 20°C is an ideal room temperature. Turning down thermostats by 1°C can reduce annual space heating energy consumption by 10% with an equivalent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Heat Loss:

  • Open fires are wasteful of energy with more than 70% of the energy going up the chimney.
  • If the radiator is mounted below a window, a projecting window-board or shelf above the radiator will direct warm air into the room, reducing heat loss through the window. 
  • Close doors to separate heated from unheated areas of your home, and minimise the area you are heating.

Hot Water Heating:

  • Use the timer on immersion heaters. This should supply you with enough hot water as and when you need.
  • Heating hot water account for 64% of energy consumption in the home: you should be thrifty in its use. 
  • 90% of the energy consumption of washing machines goes on heating the water. Wash clothes whenever possible in cold or cool water.

Insulation:

  • Much of the heat loss from a house occurs through the windows particularly if they are single glazed. Keep curtains closed at night and ensure that the curtains don’t hang over the radiators.
  • A reflective foil, backed by insulation if space permits should be fixed behind radiators mounted on external walls. 
  • A lagging jacket on your hot water cylinder will keep water hotter for longer and pay for itself in 2-3 months. 
  • If replacing the hot water cylinder, a cylinder with factory applied insulation should be considered. Such insulation is more effective at retaining heat than a lagging jacket, is less easily damaged and cannot be pulled out of place. 
  • Insulate your attic and save up to 20% on your home heating bill.

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Home Energy Tips That Save You Money

Hot Water
Of course it should be hot, but it doesn't need to be scalding. For most people, setting the cylinder thermostat at 60°C/140°F is fine for bathing and washing. This can save up to €15 per year.

Light bulbs
If you use a particular light for an average of four hours or more a day, then replace it with an energy-saving equivalent - which will use around a quarter of the electricity and last up to 12 times longer. Each energy efficient bulb fitted could give you an estimated saving of €10.50 off your energy bill per year.

Kettles
Heat the amount of water you really need and if you're using an electric kettle, make sure you cover the elements. More modern kettles have no visible element so you use less water, you could also try to fill a cup and use it as a guide to fill the kettle, so that you boil the right amount of water.

Curtains
At night, pull the curtains to stop heat being lost through the windows.
Take care not to drape curtains over radiators as this will funnel heat straight out of the windows.

Heating
Turning the thermostat down by just 1°C can cut as much as 10% off your heating bills.
You can also save on running costs by heating your home for an hour less each day.

Television, Hi-Fi and Computers
Switch off your TV, video and Hi-Fi at the set. Standby can use as much as 10%-60%of the electricity that would be used by the device if it was switched on. Also don't forget to turn your Computer monitor off, as it too wastes electricity if left on.

Appliances
When purchasing kitchen appliances such as fridges, freezers, dishwashers and washing machines, opt for a more energy efficient appliance. An EU Energy Label should be displayed (A to G Scale) on appliances for sale in order to help you make a choice, "A" being the most efficient and "G" being the worst guzzler for energy.

Tumble Driers
Tumble driers are energy guzzlers so try to use washing lines or airers.
Don't put very wet clothing into the dryer, make sure you wring clothing out or spin dry again to help use less energy.

Fridges/Freezers
These are the most hardworking appliances in the home.
Avoid putting Warm or Hot Foods in the fridge, let them cool down first.
Don't leave the Fridge or Freezer door open, this means the fridge uses more energy to cool itself back down due to the cool air lost opening the door.

Switching Energy Supplier
In the current rising trend of energy prices it could well be worth shopping around to save money on your energy bills, further discounts are available if you switch both gas & electricity to the same supplier. It is a simple process and there is no disruption to your existing energy supply.

Insulation
Upgrading loft and, where possible, cavity insulation, will save energy in your home by reducing energy losses through the building fabric.

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Renewable Energy Tips

Renewable Resources:

  • Combining solar collectors with a wood burning stove provides an ideal year-round renewable energy heating solution. A solar collector system can provide around 60% of your annual hot water needs for free (80 to 90% in summer).
  • Simple Passive Solar Design techniques can make a big difference to energy consumption in the home. Just by facing a house south to capture the maximum daylight energy bills can be reduced by 30%. 
  • Transmission of light through windows (passive solar heating) can reduce heating costs - could you allow for passive solar heating in the design of a new home? What about integrating a solar water heating system onto a south facing roof? 
  • Adding an unheated conservatory or sunspace to the south face of your house increases passive solar gains and provides an insulating effect. 
  • Space and water heating account for over 70% of energy used in the home, so switching to clean renewable energy (e.g. wood fuel, solar energy or heat pump systems) makes a big reduction in the environmental impact of your home. 
  • Wood is a renewable fuel you can use without producing the harmful greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuels. Instead of coal or peat, throw on a log onto a fire. Whereas peat and coal take hundreds of thousands of years to form, wood is a renewable fuel that grows in just 3-70 years. 
  • Using renewable sources of energy like wood and solar energy to heat our homes reduces our reliance on polluting, imported fossil fuels like oil and coal. 
  • If you recycle glass and paper, you save on a great deal of energy, raw materials and pollution.

Alternative Heating Systems:

  • Ground source heat pumps, which collect solar energy stored in the ground, are ideally suited to the Irish climate and can provide year round space and water heating for the fraction of the costs of a conventional system.
  • A modern wood burning stove can achieve efficiencies of up to 80% compared to only 20-30% for a traditional open fire.

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