17 July 2008
Taking the time to flip a simple switch or turn off your tap may seem insignificant, but if everyone took the time to do it every day, the results would be considerable. Review these tips for ways to incorporate energy-saving measures into your everyday routine.
Switch off the lights when you don't need them. Switching off 5 lights in hallways and rooms in your house when you don't need them can save around € 60 a year and avoid about 400kg of CO2 emissions per year.
Use energy-saving light bulbs: just one can reduce your lighting costs by up to € 60 and avoid 400kg of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the bulb - and they last up to 10 times longer than ordinary light bulbs. Energy-saving bulbs are more expensive to buy, but cheaper over their life span. Switching off 5 lights in hallways and rooms in your house when you don't need them can save around € 60 a year and avoid about 400kg of CO2 emissions per year.
Do not leave appliances on standby - use the "on/off" function on the machine itself. A TV set that's switched on for 3 hours a day (the average time Europeans spend watching TV) and in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.
Unplug your mobile charger when you're not using it. Even when it is not connected to the phone, it is still draining electricity. There are estimates that 95% of the energy is wasted when you leave the charger plugged in all the time.
Keep cool with a fan. Air conditioners are real energy gobblers - an average room air conditioner operates at 1000 Watt, causing around 650gr of CO2 emissions per hour and costing around € 0.10 during this hour. Fans might be an alternative, otherwise use air conditioners sparingly and look for the most energy-efficient model.
Switch to green electricity. By doing so, you'll help strengthen renewable energy sources. Currently, only 14% of Europe's electricity is generated from climate-friendly renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro, wood, biogas, and solar - and demand creates supply! You may also want to think about fitting solar panels on the roof of your home.
Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when they are full. If you need to use it when it is half full, then use the half-load or economy setting. There is also no need to set the temperatures high. Nowadays detergents are so efficient that they get your clothes and dishes clean at low temperatures.
Use a tumble dryer only when absolutely necessary - each drying cycle produces over 3kg of CO2 emissions. Drying clothes naturally is by far the best way to do it: your clothes will last longer and the energy provided is free and non-polluting!
Boil less water. If you only boil just enough water for your cup of tea, you could help save a lot of energy. If all Europeans boiled just the water they needed, thus avoiding 1 litre of unnecessarily boiled water per day, the energy saved could power one third of Europe's streetlights.
Cover your pots while cooking. Doing so can save a lot of the energy needed for preparing the dish. Even better are pressure cookers and steamers: they can save around 70%!
Take a shower instead of a bath. Doing so takes up to four times less energy. To maximise the energy saving, avoid power showers and use low-flow showerheads, which are cheap and provide the same comfort.
Turn off your tap. If you turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, you can save several litres of water. Also, a dripping tap can waste enough water to fill a bath in one month, so make sure to check that they're turned off.
Know your average energy consumption and CO2 emissions for your household appliances.