Technology is everywhere in our lives and becoming more important every day. A recent report showed 104 terawatt-hours of electricity was consumed by UK homes in 2019 and this is projected to rise dramatically to 125 terawatt-hours by 2035.
A lot of this can be linked to our increasing reliance on phones, laptops and TVs. While many of these products are more energy-efficient than they were thirty years ago, it’s still important to reduce electricity consumption at home, to both minimise your environmental footprint and save money on bills.
We’ve put together some quick and easy tips on how to use less electricity and gas, as well as some more long-term strategies to help in the future. For example, a simple way to save electricity is to upgrade your devices to newer, more energy-efficient models and, quite simply, switch things off at the plug when you’re not using them. Similarly, making sure your gas equipment is up to date and working properly is a good step toward efficient gas usage.
Here are some key strategies you can use to reduce electricity consumption at home:
Use the power of the sun
Installing solar panels on your home will greatly reduce the energy you use from the national grid. The sun doesn’t need to be out for them to be effective as energy can be stored in batteries to power your home through the night too. Harnessing the unlimited energy of the sun doesn’t just save you money on electricity bills, it’s good for the environment too.
Don’t leave appliances on standby
Consider using phone-controlled sockets, sockets with timers or power strips where one switch controls all the plugs to make sure you’re turning off all your appliances. But there’s no need to buy any extra equipment, you can switch off plugs manually around your home. This will save a substantial amount of energy each year simply by not leaving appliances on standby and using a small amount of electricity. You’ll find that in most cases your electrical appliances can be switched off with no ill effects.
Use a ‘smart’ thermostat
Smart thermostats learn when and in what rooms you want heat, and only turn on the heat for those times. Take a little time to figure out the technology and you’ll find you can save plenty of money by installing one of these useful machines.
Turn down your thermostat
Simply knocking down the heat by one degree adds up to big energy savings over time. Do you need the heat on full blast? Teamed with some simple draught-proofing techniques, you might find you can lower the setting by two or three degrees.
Buy efficient appliances
Look at the A rating on your appliances. These run from A to A+++. Upgrading your fridge, washing machine, dishwasher etc to a higher A rating can be a cost-effective decision in the long run by reducing electricity consumption at home.
Wash clothes at a lower temperature
Similar to your thermostat setting, you can save energy over time by reducing the temperature at which you wash your clothes. Switching from 40 to 30 degrees every time you wash reduces your electricity consumption at home and these savings add up over time.
Water is life – and money
Timing your showers using a phone is very easy and doesn’t require any additional technology. You don’t need more than five minutes for a hygienic shower so limit your scrubbing time and help the environment. There are even systems that can be applied to your shower to do this automatically.
Similarly, doing your washing up in a bowl of water rather than under running water reduces the amount of water used, which means less water is heated, lowering the amount of electricity consumption in your home.
Double-glaze those windows
Installing double-glazed windows traps heat in your home, meaning you get a lot more value from your in-home heating system. It might sound like a big undertaking but you don’t have to do it all at once. But after the steady process of double-glazing has been completed, you’ll find the increased level of heat helps reduce the electricity consumption in your home in a big way.
Block out the draughts
There are plenty of inexpensive ways to limit those cold draughts throughout your home. Put a draught excluder along the bottom of a door, add a new lining to the edge of a window, and fill in cracks and holes around the home – these will all help to keep out the cold and reduce the need to turn the heating up. This will also trap heat indoors, similar to double-glazing, meaning you get more heat per pound spent.
Lots of people shy away from getting their loft insulated because it involves hiring professionals to install the right foam in the right corners and often has a high price tag attached. However, once you get it done, the savings over time will leave you in profit, as roofs and lofts are invariably full of hidden nooks, crannies and cracks which allow heat to escape.
Use LED lights instead of regular bulbs
LED lights use far less energy than regular lightbulbs, and are now available in a wide range of colours and brightness, meaning you can have functional and stylish lighting by using these cheaper and more efficient lights. This is an easy way to reduce your electricity consumption at home while adding a whole new ambience.
Keep track of your usage
Get into the habit of reading your bills thoroughly, and consider keeping a simple diary of your electricity usage. This will soon show where you’re leaking money. You can also get integrated software systems that work with your boiler and thermostat to give more detailed results, which in turn can lead to lower energy use and greater savings.
These are some of the ways you can reduce your dependence on electricity. Don’t feel like you need to get them all done at once – start small, with draught excluders and energy-efficient lightbulbs, but keep in mind that technology such as solar panels can make a huge change to your electricity consumption by using completely renewable energy. Not only will this help in the fight against climate change, but you’ll also find your monthly bills are lighter too.
Solar power is one of the greenest and most cost-effective ways to reduce electricity consumption in the home. For more information about how it can work for you, check out what Project Solar has to offer.