Thursday, May 26, 2016 ENERGY TIPS
It’s ironic when you think about it, but saving energy can feel both costly and like a lot of hard work! In reality though, being “greener” can be just as kind on your wallet as it is on the environment, and there are also plenty of things that you can do without spending a single penny.
It really is a case of “every little helps”. Turning the heating down, or turning the lights off when you leave a room, might feel like a drop in the ocean, but you will be amazed when you see the impact on your next statement. So for those of us who aren’t quite ready for a complete overhaul, to transform our homes into renewable energy eco-houses, it’s all about making some simple, sustainable changes in our day to day lives – it all adds up!
Using our appliances more efficiently is a free and easy place to start. For example, avoid boiling a full kettle of water for just one cup of tea (we’ve all been there), or running the washing machine for a couple of dirty t-shirts. Some refrigerators have an “energy efficient” setting, so it’s worth checking that you’re using that – it is permanently chugging away after all. When it comes to replacing old appliances, look for products with the Energy Star logo, as these will be far more efficient than older models.
Next time you have to replace a light bulb, try switching to fluorescent, rather than more traditional incandescent bulbs. They’re not as luminous and garish as they sound – honest! – and can last up to 12 times longer than your old bulbs, so you can expect big savings in the long run. If you don’t like how they look in certain rooms, go for a mixture throughout the house – even this small change can make a big difference. Little by little, right?
If you need a bit of competitive motivation and encouragement that all of this is actually making a difference, get a smart meter installed in your home. The display screen allows you to personally track your energy usage so that you can see the fruits of your efforts for yourself, day by day!
Then there are things you can do that might cost a fair bit up front, but that will have an even more dramatic and lasting impact on the efficiency of your home. Start by making sure that your ceilings and walls are properly insulated. We know, summer’s just around the corner, but insulation isn’t just about keeping heat in – a well-insulated house will also stay cooler in the hottest months. Get this done once, and it should last at least 40 years! For the same reason, think about replacing older windows with double-glazing and vinyl frames.
Make sure you know what’s available in your area – from the government or local council – in terms of tax incentives for energy-efficient improvement works on your home, and take what you can get! These often cover new windows, insulation, heating or air conditioning systems, so don’t miss out.
Finally, if you’re completely baffled, overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, it’s worth arranging an energy efficiency audit of your home. An expert can give you a much better idea of where you stand, and where to focus your attention. No judgment or condemnation, just a friendly nudge in the right direction!