How to save energy in the digital age
By taking control of your energy consumption you can use energy more efficiently and potentially save money on fuel bills. Big Energy Saving Week is the perfect time for us to discuss the best ways to do this, such as using energy saving bulbs and sharing tips on home energy saving.
Here are my top ten energy-saving tips. Have I missed anything out? Share yours in the comments below.
1) Get into good gadget habits. Choose a blank screen if you’re listening to digital radio on you TV or tablet. Tackle so-called “vampire appliances” such as your laptop and phone by unplugging them when they’re fully charged. Remember that the simplest of measures are often the most effective.
2) Get serious about insulation. There are a range of grants and schemes available to help with the costs of insulating your home. Draught proofing is one of the most efficient ways to save energy. A thermal leak detector will identify hot and cold draughts around your home, and is a useful tool for those who like the DIY approach. Alternatively, contact a professional about tackling those costly draughts. Other effective measures include loft and roof insulation and replacing single glazed windows with B-rated double glazing.
3) Use an energy monitor. An energy monitor is a great tool to help you become more efficient. Energy monitors cost between £30 and £100, but you should see this recouped in no time. Some fuel suppliers offer them for free, so keep a look out for the best deals!
4) Switch off standby. We’re all guilty of leaving the DVD player, games console or TV on standby. According to the Energy Saving Trust, we can save between £50 and £90 on our annual electricity bill simply by switching appliances off that have been left on standby. That’s over 10% of the average electricity bill. Make it easier to switch off appliances by investing in an intelligent mains controller.
5) Apply the correct power settings. Laptops and tablets are certainly more energy efficient than desktop PCs, but it’s still important to apply the correct power settings. Save power by reducing the brightness settings, and try not to run too many applications at once.
6) Take control. There are significant savings to be made by effectively controlling your heating. Installing a thermostat will allow you to pick when your heating should come on. It may also be worth considering a smart heating control system. The recent Consumer Electronics Show demonstrated that we’ve only just entered the era of smart control and home automation.
7) Fit an eco-showerhead. This could save the average family up to £75 a year. Some water companies provide eco-showerheads free of charge.
8) Invest in LED lighting. Rising electricity prices and failing costs of LED lighting means that low-energy lighting is now a sensible way to reduce your energy costs. The payback for LEDs is now 15 months or less, and for homeowners changing dozens of halogen bulbs, the savings could be hundreds of pounds per year.
9) Embrace motion sensor technology. Ever come home from work to find out that you’ve left the lights on all day? Or entered the kids’ bedroom to find they’ve left their TV and games console on? By embracing motion sensor technology such as the energyEGG (follow the link to find out how to enter Citizens Advice’s competition to win one) we can take human error out of the equation, and ensure that we waste as little energy as possible.
10) Look out for the Energy Saving Trust logo – Big Energy Saving Week partner the Energy Saving Trust has helpfully highlighted the most energy-efficient appliances on the market. Look out for their logo on TVs, Digital Radios and kitchen appliances when making your next purchase.