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Saving energy around the home


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While we go to great lengths at IPR to find products that help individuals create their own alternative power sources, in most cases, the biggest savings can be made through a bit of common sense around the home. We put this short eBook together to help get you started

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Saving energy around the home

  1. 1. by Jamie Rose,
  2. 2. IntroductionEnergy efficiency – it’s a term we all hear a lot. And there’s a very good reason for that.It matters – a lot.In a world where technology evolves quite literally by the second, it is easy to becomeabsorbed in the advantages it affords us. However, we are also becoming a world thatincreasingly cares, and is more educated about the effect every day living has on theenvironment now, and for future generations. These are our families we are talkingabout, their future, and their lives. It is our responsibility to take steps to conserve ourprecious resources.Luckily, there is an added incentive to us making the effort to do so. Yes, when we dosomething that matters, we feel good about ourselves, our lives, and have a compellingsense of achievement that is addictive, and leads to us try even harder. But on a morepractical note, it saves money – our own, well-earned cash.Every penny matters. A small adjustment today can mean a significant difference to thecost of your outgoings on an annual basis. We are talking pounds and poundspotentially, that can make a real difference to a modern household’s budgeting. Savingenergy around the home can enhance your life!This guide introduces to simple measures and energy saving tips that you can do rightnow and will make a difference.Set out in easy to read sections, it will provide you with clear and useable advice so youcan start to reap the rewards, as well as helping the world that you live in.Not only will it remind you of the ideas that each and every one of us should already bedoing as a matter of course, but the guide will also look at changes that we can makewithin our homes that most of us aren’t aware of.It also will provide you with advice on making those essential household purchaseswhere energy efficiency is a consideration, as well as helping you look at the largerhome projects that are becoming increasingly popular and we are seeing more andmore of on our streets today.What the guide will do is make a difference – not only to your pocket, but to the wayyou lead your day to life when considering energy efficiency.2 How To Save Energy Around The Home
  3. 3. Contents PageLighting…………………………………………… 4Computers/Devices…………………………. 5Extractor Fans…………………………………. 6Insulation……………………………………….. 7Wrap up Warmer……………………………. 8Your car………………………………………….. 9Central Heating………………………………. 10Produce your own Energy………………. 11Energy Efficient Appliances…………….. 123 How To Save Energy Around The Home
  4. 4. LightingWhen it comes to saving energy, and the pennies, lighting is probably the most wellknown areas and the easiest to put into action.The last few years have seen a big change in the household lighting industry.The most evident change is with low energy light bulbs. Where a few years ago theywere frowned upon as a design embarrassment, they are now accepted as the norm.The concerns about the lower level of light they emit have long since been abated andas with a lot of concerns, in practise they were not found to be more important thanthe energy saving advantages. And on the issue of style, the lighting manufacturershave adapted styles to incorporate the different shape if this is of issue to theconsumer. However, it is mainly seen that the light bulb has evolved and it is anaccepted look.When it comes to making an instant, easy and effective change with lighting and energysavings, it is the most obvious that can make a real difference – turn lights off! Did youknow that your lighting accounts for approximately 8% of an average household’senergy bill? Simply by switching off a light when you are not in a room is an instantsaving. It may seem obvious, but we all do it. If you are leaving a room for a period oftime, switch off.It also pays to put some thought into what lighting you use. For example, in a livingroom, a variety of lighting options can create a warm and cosy look, as well as meaningthere is a light for different purposes. When you are watching TV, it can be nice to havea lamp on as opposed to an overhead light that is brighter, or a reading lamp by a chaircan provide more than adequate light for the purpose it was designed for. Think aboutwhere you put your lights. Not only does it add to the ambience of a room and make anindividual style statement, it gives you flexibility for your lighting needs, meaning onebright light is not the first option. This is also a wiser choice than the dimmer switchthat a lot of us have and may think is an energy efficient option.Change the way you think about your lighting today and most importantly – switch off!4 How To Save Energy Around The Home
  5. 5. Computers & DevicesAhh, modern living. Where would we all be without computers, laptops, hand helddevices….and the list goes on. Our lives have undoubtedly been irrevocably changedover the last decades, and it seems technology changes quite literally by the hour.But did you know that a desk top computer uses more energy than a laptop? Or thatthe type of monitor or printer attached to your computer can make a difference ofdouble, treble or even more in kilowatts used on an annual basis?Yet the majority of us will hold our hands up and admit that we leave our computers on,whether we are using it or not, sometimes for hours without even a glance at it.As is the golden rule with energy efficiency, if you are not using it, turn it off. We seemto have a perception that it takes more energy to turn an electrical item on and off but– wrong! And if the thought of not having your computer ready for action instantly,then use your head and utilise the ‘sleep’ or ‘standby’mode. By doing so, you are savingenergy whilst it obviously will generate some usage, and you can access what you needto quickly. Be aware that an alternative is the ‘hibernate’ mode. This shuts down thecomputer in effect, but means that when you power up, it will return to where youwere previously with applications.As afore mentioned, a laptop uses less energy than a computer. This makes logicalsense as there are fewer components needing to be run on an independent basis.However, easy and sensible options can be used to further make an energy saving.Lighting rears its head again as a large energy consumer, but also as an easy option toamend its usage. Simply by lowering the brightness of the screen, you are conservingpower.Computers, laptops and computers come with many pre-installed programmes andprocesses, but in reality, many of us use very little of them. For example, games cantake large amounts of energy and having a device that is constantly searching for awireless signal is of little use if you are not checking emails or browsing regularly, whilstadmittedly being extremely useful if you are.And one last thing – don’t overcharge your device. Not only is it potentially detrimentalto your battery life long term, it is wasting valuable energy and your pennies.5 How To Save Energy Around The Home
  6. 6. Extractor FansIf we could judge energy consumption based on looks, you would know instantly thatthese guys mean business. And if you could judge energy consumption on noise, youwould undoubtedly come to the same conclusion.But of course the monstrosities of the past have come of age, and the new fans on theblock are already taking their energy saving seriously.When we look at extractor fans, they do have a worthwhile purpose within the homeenvironment. By taking excess moisture out of the room where damp air exists, usuallya bathroom, kitchen or utility room, they prevent a build of condensation that canresult in mould and an unhealthy atmosphere.However, imagine they are doing the same job in a house where you have the heatingon. Instead of just sucking out the damp air, they are effectively sucking the warm airright out of your house. You feel colder, you turn the heating up, it costs more, it usesmore energy, and so it goes on. As such, when using your extractor fan, think. Limit itsuse to doing the job it is built for, removing condensation, and turn off as soon as ispossible. Be aware that it may be making you feel a little colder, and so resist thetemptation to higher the thermostat.It is also common in a lot of households for the extractor fan and light to be on oneswitch unit. The idea of this is that the fan automatically comes on when you enter, andswitches a few minutes after you leave. Whilst this may seem a nifty and worthwhileidea, it can be problematic when looking at it realistically. Say you take a shower in thedaylight – in order to use the extractor fan, you need to have the light on also. Thisobviously is a waste, as well as being potentially embarrassing if you don’t have a blindon the window! This theory works in reverse of course. If you go into the bathroom ofan evening, the fan will come on whether you need it to or not. Also, when you aretrying to clear condensation, often the time that the extractor fan is on isn’t necessarilylong enough to clear the problem, and so you have to keep putting the light on againand again for no advantage.The solution here is to isolate each item on to a separate switch so they can be usedindependently of each other.6 How To Save Energy Around The Home
  7. 7. Extra insulationThe benefits of extra insulation are well publicised. In fact, well it come to insulating ourlofts and walls, we have many companies telling us and selling us the advantages.Heat rises. If you are heating your home, the warm air will therefore go towards thehighest point, the roof, and simply disappear into thin air. By insulating your roof area,you help to prevent this loss, and keep the warm air where it should be – inside. Thiscan mean a huge saving in terms of your annual heating bill, and when you are notusing as much heat, you are saving essential energy resources.It is a similar theory with wall insulation. Houses need to breathe and have air, and soventilation bricks are essential. But they can mean that as much as a third of the heatlost in your home goes through the walls. Having cavity wall or solid wall insulation, youcan save pounds of money and make a difference to the energy we use.Look out for schemes in your area that help with costs, sometimes meaning you can getsuch insulation for nothing.There are other ways that you can insulate your home, making it more energy efficientand helping you save money long term.By lining your curtains and blinds, you are helping to keep warm air in, and cold air out.In a similar way to the wall and roof insulation, by making efforts to minimise heat loss,you are preventing that heating thermostat being turned up a notch. And don’t forgetthat when it is warm outside and the sun is shining, take advantage and let the warm airin. Even when it is turning colder, the sun is a very powerful heating implement.Wooden and tiled flooring may look contemporary and more importantly for some, beeasy to clean, but as those of us who have it in our homes know, it isn’t the warmestoption. As much as we lose heat through the walls and the roof, our floors are guilty ofthe same, albeit to a lesser extent. Carpet not only feels warm underfoot, but itscomparative depth along with the material it is made from, make it a far more efficientinsulator. Just make sure you wipe your feet before you come in.7 How To Save Energy Around The Home
  8. 8. Wrap up WarmerSo we have just talked about insulation and the theory that by creating layers, keepswarmth in, and cold out. The cold has to work much harder to get inside throughthicker layers than thin, and the warm air has to work harder to get out through manylayers other than one.Well the same applies when we think of our own bodies.I am sure that we all know an elderly person who would rather put on an extra cardiganthan put the fire on, despite that it is a proven medical fact that the elderly feel the coldmore. Of course, going back in time, luxuries such as central heating were not evenclose in years to being invented, and so people had no choice but to add layer uponlayer of clothing in order to keep warm, or quite literally survive. As in all sayings, “WiseOld Bird” is a very true statement indeed.And so as we are told to take the advice of our elders, when you feel cold, the firstoption should be to put another layer of clothing on. It doesn’t help to conserve energyby wearing a T-shirt with the heating on full blast, whereas it also helps theenvironment and your pocket to have the heating on lower and to wear more clothes.When it’s bedtime, do you snuggle under the duvet with a thin sleeveless top on,shivering and struggling to get warm? Invest in proper nightwear that suits the currentclimate – that is what it is made for don’t forget. Duvets too come in differentthicknesses. Tog ratings are used by the manufacturers to indicate how warm a duvetwill be. The higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet. Some duvets come in twoparts so in the summer, you literally undo one half and use just one, and add the otherback when it’s colder.Of course, when it comes to sitting on the sofa relaxing at night, there are other optionsthan putting on a fire, however attractive it may seem and however cosy it looks. Howabout putting a throw over yourself, or a warm blanket? And nowadays it is bang ontrend to wear an all in one item that screams snuggly and comfortable.The message is that do not think that heating is the first option. Change your way ofthinking and you are making changes to your life, your purse strings and to the worldyou live in.8 How To Save Energy Around The Home
  9. 9. Your carPetrol and exhaust fumes are a major contributor to pollution. You can literally see it attimes, choking the air you are breathing in, suffocating the atmosphere.Lets take this situation - youre travelling to work in your five seater car. Its your prideand joy, shiny and new, and yeh, its costly on the petrol but you look good in it dontyou? You pull up at the lights, and a car full of people start staring at you. You thinktheyre admiring you car right? NO! They are actually thinking what a fool you are fornot car sharing.Car sharing is a very modern, very sensible and very sociable idea that both helps toconserve energy, preserve the environment as well making major economic sense to allinvolved, even down to the wear and tear on our over crowded roads. By sharing thetravel costs, you could literally cut your costs by up to four fifths, and with petrol pricesforever on the increase, there’s never been a better time to get involved. Councilsactively promote the idea via road signage, an indicator that it is a very worthwhile ideato be involved in.Whilst the most obvious travelling companions are work colleagues, friends andneighbours, websites now exist in the aim of putting potential car sharers together. Inwhat has to be a win, win situation, you get to socialise on your otherwise tediousjourney, and your passengers save on high public transport costs. Of course, the majorwinner here is the environment – less cars on the road, less pollution. It’s a very simpleequation.Why not walk or get a bike? A lot of employers now help you to purchase one forgetting to and from work, and in post Olympic Britain, it has never been cooler. Thebenefits to you are almost as important as the energy saving factor, whilst the obviousmoney gain is pretty immense. Exercise is the body’s way of using up natural energythat we all make – no cost – it’s all natural. And the more you exercise, the moreefficient you become at being an energy machine, resulting in better health and abetter body and mind.This is one of the easiest, cheapest and most beneficial changes that you can make.9 How To Save Energy Around The Home
  10. 10. Central HeatingWhen you are looking at saving energy, central heating is the big player, with over halfof the money spent on a household’s bills going on heating your home and providinghot water. But as such, there are some very worthwhile changes that can be made.Efficiency is key here. If your boiler is old and needs knocking with a hammer now andagain, and your radiators are banging away, feeling half hot and half cold, then youhave not only an energy wasting problem, but a money wasting problem also.Having a new boiler may appear to be a huge expense, but it will pay for itself, startingfrom day one. Nowadays, suppliers are accountable for efficiency more and more, andsince 2005, all new boilers installed are very likely to be condensing boilers. Theseboilers are built to be more efficient, so if you are serious about saving energy, then thisis a must.Of course, there are other ways to save energy other than by replacing your boiler, andeven if your boiler is fairly new, there are sensible ideas that you can adopt that willmake both a short term and long term difference.If your boiler has a built in thermostat, there are likely to be options to set minimumand maximum temperatures, as well as having modes for summer and winter, so youcan isolate your heating in the warmer months. Turning down your thermostat by amere one degree, can save you 10% on your heating bills. Play it even cooler, andgradually turn the temperature down over a period of days, see how you adjust, untilyou feel you have reached the point at where you are not willing to compromise. It islikely the result will truly surprise you!If you are going to be out, turn your heating settings off. Why heat a house when no-one is in purely as it’s an effort to do? It isn’t!Do similar with your radiators. Many people have radiators on rooms that are not evenused. Turn these down or off completely – it is of no benefit to heat a room that isempty. And look at the radiator thermostats- turn these down by a notch. It is likelythat you won’t even notice the difference.And don’t forget the old shower versus bath energy usage debate. A shower should winevery time, using on average a fifth of the water you would use if choosing to soak in abath.10 How To Save Energy Around The Home
  11. 11. Producing your own energyLook in every town and city today and there is increasing evidence that people arebuying into the idea of producing their own energy. There are numerous green energyproducts online.One of the most recognisable methods of doing so is the solar panel. Panels are now arecognisable part of many households, and as time goes on, the cost of having theminstalled is becoming more affordable as the competition out there increases.Solar panels work by using light energy from the sun to generate electricity. Onceinstalled, they are pretty much maintenance free for decades, so the initial outlay ispretty much it. And as there are no pollutants or harmful elements, this is a very greenoption. All you need other than the panels, is the sun.The government is very much in favour of solar panels, and there are incentives fortaking this option. Also, energy companies can actually utilise the electricity yougenerate, and you can draw on them if necessary. Not only are you saving money, butpotentially making money also.Another recognisable feature of our landscapes in today’s modern world are windturbines. Where once we saw these as something for the future, today they are verymuch an everyday item. And like solar panels, they can be used to generate electricityin your own home. All you need is a turbine …and the wind!As previously, this is a very environmentally friendly option. It is simply using theelements around us to achieve sustainability. Like with solar energy, the up front cost isbecoming more affordable, with differing options when it comes to a turbine. They lasta long time, require little up keep and maintenance, and you can store, and sell on, theelectricity that is made.When looking at heating, both personal households and businesses are very muchlooking at ground source heat pumps as a realistic way forward. As the name suggests,pipes buried in the ground literally extract the heat produced within. By going through afew basic processes, heat is generated that can be used to heat your radiators, waterand under floor heating systems. As the temperature underground is protected fromthe elements, this provides a consistent option for year round use.Just as the other methods mentioned, this is a very green option, that after initialoutlay, requires very little outlay and maintenance to keep going for a long time. Andagain, you can both save money, and make money too!11 How To Save Energy Around The Home
  12. 12. Energy Efficient AppliancesWhen you are looking to replace what are commonly known as white goods in yourhome, what do you look for first? Is it features, cost, or energy rating?All electrical items are now very clearly labelled regards their energy rating. This is anextremely useful tool and is now required to be displayed by law. It means you canmake an extremely well informed choice when purchasing household appliances as itgives an accurate indicator of how much energy the item will use.It is well known that household appliances can be a large drain on household energy.One item that is renowned for this is the tumble dryer, whilst undoubtedly a largemajority of households own one. Whilst there is nothing better than putting yourwashing on a line for that fresh, clean smell, our climate also means this is often notpossible.However, by doing your research before making that final decision on which to buy, youcan still save energy, and thereby money.Energy ratings are graded from A to G, with variants of ‘+’ and ‘++’ being used to furthereducate. Nowadays, it is very rare to find an item with a rating less than C. Ultimately,the manufacturers of household appliances want to sell them, and energy efficientproducts are more likely to sell. Not only do they save us money every time we usethem, but they make us feel like we are in control of what we spend our valuablemoney on.Another item that we need to use is the fridge freezer. A household essential, we haveno choice than to leave this on every minute of the day. However, follow some simplesteps and save energy and pennies.Never over fill your fridge or freezer. Doing so means that the appliance will have towork that much harder in order to be efficient. Just as when we exercise we use moreenergy, when your household appliance needs to work harder, it too uses more energy.Ensure you defrost your fridge freezer regularly. By doing so, you are ensuring it worksin its most efficient way. Even by making sure the condenser coils that sit right at thebottom are kept dust free, you are ensuring everything is working in the best waypossible.***********************************************************************This eBook was produced by Jamie Rose from - you canfind detailed reviews of products designed to help you save or even produce your ownenergy within our green energy section.12 How To Save Energy Around The Home