IN2AIR: Fuel Consumption/Energy Efficiency

With energy prices on the rise, increases in the cost of living and challenging targets to reduce the production of greenhouse gases (the ‘net-zero’ challenge), the energy efficiency of our homes is of national and international importance.

What are the key users of energy in the home?

Estimated single-use costs for appliances as of October 2022 in the UK

Ways to reduce energy use

Quick ways to reduce energy consumption

  • Turn off your appliances when you aren’t using them! According to US Department of energy, 20% of energy consumption could be due to phantom loading by appliances left on standby.  Making sure things are turned off at the plug ensures no electricity is being used.
  • Turn down the thermostat by a couple of degrees to help save some money; the room will still be heated but as a general rule of thumb every degree costs £50 so if you can get away with turning the thermostat down a couple of degrees will greatly decrease energy consumption.
  • Turn down the thermostat on your boiler, there’s no point heating water to a scalding temperature which you must add cold water to be able to use it. Storing the water at a lower temperature which you can use without having to add cold water will help save on energy consumption.
  • Shower don’t bath! Showers use a lot less water than baths so less water is heated, saving you money.
  • Reduce the screen brightness of your computer and TV, turning down the brightness from 100% to 70% will save 20% of its energy consumption and will make very little difference to the display.
  • Switch to using light dimmers or LED bulbs. Light dimmers use less energy than regular bulbs and allow you to control the brightness of the room. Alternatively LED bulbs use 90% less energy than regular bulbs and last 10-20 times longer making them a great efficient option.
  • Wear layers- this may be a basic solution but if you set your heating on a timer for the hours you most need it and wear layers in between to stay warm it can quickly reduce the energy consumption in your home.

Insulate your home

  • Make sure your home has sufficient insulation so that heat does not escape from cracks in the walls or through the roof. This tends to be where most heat escapes from in older houses.
  • Put radiator reflectors behind your radiators to help reflect the heat back into the room more efficiently. Once installed they aren’t noticeable and can help reflect up to 45% of heat back into the room, helping heat the house quicker and more efficiently.
  • Draughtproof your doors and letter boxes to prevent cold air from entering the house.
  • Install heavy curtains and close them at night, this helps to trap the heat inside the house, especially in winter months so it doesn’t escape from the windows.
  • Install a hot water cylinder insulator around the boiler to hep limit the heat loss when the boiler is in use.
  • Install double/ triple glazing in the windows, this is not a cheap option but does help prevent heat loss in the home and lowers the energy bills helping make long term savings.

Tips to save energy in the kitchen

  • Wash your clothes on a cold wash! Not only is this less damaging to your clothes over time, it’s more energy efficient. Using the washing machine on a cold setting saves 75% of the energy used.
  • Only boil as much water as you need- if you are making a cup tea, don’t over fill the kettle with more water than you need, it uses more electricity than just boiling what you need.
  • Repair the refrigerator door seals, if the seals are loose then warm air seeps into the refrigerator and uses more energy to keep cool.
  • Install high efficiency appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and dishwashers, these can be expensive to replace but they help to make the appliances more efficient and reduce the cost of running them.
  • Clean your dryer’s lint tray, this can improve the machines efficiency by 75% and therefore reduce the energy consumed, this is a simple step to make the machine more cost effective.
  • Don’t over fill your fridge, this restricts the distribution of cool air and means your fridge has to work harder to keep cool, consuming more energy.
  • Fill your freezer up!  A full freezer uses less energy as frozen food will not warm up when the door is open, however if your freezer is empty then the warm air fills in the gaps when the door is opened causing your freezer to use more energy in order to cool it down again.
  • Using a microwave to reheat food is a quick and easy way to save some money. Microwaves heat up the food far quicker than an oven, consuming less energy making it more efficient.