Energy conservation is an emotive subject that touches many areas of home
improvement. Although our site presents many alternative options and eco-friendly
ideas, the extent to which you lead an eco-friendly life, and what measures
or changes you are prepared to make, will always come down to requirements
in your area and personal choice.
Being energy efficient means assessing your home and lifestyle for opportunities
where you might save resources. Although some of the measures outlined
in these pages may take some effort, for most, this will be outweighed
by the rewards of a more eco-friendly and cost-effective lifestyle.
Thermostats play a vital part in regulating heating and air temperature
throughout your home. Make sure that water- heating thermostats are
not set too high. In addition to wasting energy, this is potentially
dangerous in terms of scalding. Make sure that radiators are installed
with thermostats so that their temperature is kept under control.
REDUCING POWER REQUIREMENTS
The demands of modern living require power to
supply appliances, provide
heat, and run all the consumer items that fill our homes. However, reducing
the amount of power you use may not require a major lifestyle change.
You can make a huge impact simply by being a little more careful about
the items you buy, being aware of their power use, and finding ways of
using less power in your home.
The best way to reduce the power requirements of your home is
to ensure that it is well insulated. Even in very large houses,
an attic can be insulated quickly and at relatively low cost. Some
states or municipalities even subsidize insulation projects. In
fact, the reduction in heating costs that result from improved
home insulation far outweigh the initial expense of installation.
Right: Roof insulation -- Most houses lose a large proportion
of their heat through the roof. Therefore, insulating your home’s
roof space is a key measure to take.
Many product lines now have standardized labeling systems that
denote how energy-efficient an appliance is, how much energy it
consumes, and even how much noise it makes. This labeling has made
it much easier for consumers to have some control when choosing
products that are more efficient and therefore “greener.”
Right: EU Energy Label: This label is a mandatory notice that is
applied to all domestic appliances sold within European Union countries.
It allows consumers to see clearly the efficiency and energy consumption
of a product.
|US ENERGY STAR: Products with this label meet the US Department
of Energy’s strict efficiency guidelines.
Rating: A star rating
from one to six stars indicates energy- efficiency levels.
How Efficient are Modern Electrical Appliances?
Electrical power is rated in watts, and all electrical appliances will
carry labels stating how many watts are required for them to run.
If this is not the case, they may state volts and amps, and wattage
can be worked out by multiplying the volts by the amps.
The table below gives an approximate guide to the amount of electricity
(in watts per hour) that is used by common household appliances. Quite
simply, the higher the figure, the larger the amount of energy the appliance
Important note: Please keep in mind that there is embedded
energy costs of building components (e.g. appliances and the raw
materials used to construct them (steel, plastic , etc)). Bottom
your appliance only if
they are very old and/or break down frequently.
|Energy used (watts per hour)
|Electric clothes dryer
||Very high consumption
||In general, the larger the oven, the more energy it
||Larger units use more energy
|Electric space heater
||Huge user when in constant use. Electrical storage
heaters provide a more economical option
|Immersion water heater
||Make sure that its thermostat is working well and
timing is controlled at efficient levels for household use
||Use as a backup or emergency heating source, rather
than on a daily basis
|Electric tea kettle
||Fast boilers use up more power
||Rapid heating elements use more power
||Try to limit ironing to only those items you consider
|Computer system (PC)
||Screen size in CRT monitors is important in determining
power usage. Less of an issue with LCD. Choose "blank" screen as
screen saver. In Wndows, use "Power" options (Advanced)
to opt for hibernation mode.
||Choose one with an option to toast one slice
||___ represents energy used per cycle
||Large variations in consumption are due to size differences
||Size is the determining factor here
||___ represents energy used per cycle
||Make sure you monitor and adjust the temperature level
||Defrost regularly, if necessary, to maintain efficiency
||Make sure that filters are clean and it is working
||Size of the system and speakers will affect consumption
||Screen size (and type: LCD, plasma, CRT, projection
,etc.) largely determines power use. Switch off completely when not
||As with televisions, switch off completely when not
|Exhaust fan (oven)
||Use will depend on size, but essential for removing
|Heated towel bar
||Keep on a timer so it is not in constant use
|Exhaust fan (bathroom)
||Use a timer linked to the light switch to prevent
|Regular light bulb
||The brighter they are, the more power they use
|Low-energy light bulb (compact fluorescent)
||More expensive than standard bulbs, but require less
power for the same amount of light produced
||Provide good, even light at reduced power requirement
levels compared to standard bulbs
Top of page