A little Help on how to Save Energy

20th May, 2022

What a crazy world we have all lived in the past few years. Bad news has been served nearly every morning with your Weetabix before the milk has even filled the bowl.

In a first attempt to avoid the daily negativity I tried turning the news notification off on my phone. The next steps were to leave the twitter scrolling until late morning at least. Even the epic sound of Five “Keep On Movin” every morning at 06:35 still left me falling into the shower. I did try asking Siri for good news only, but her response was “Sorry I don’t see an app for that.”
No truer words have been spoken...

The one bit of news that hit me like Miley’s wrecking ball was the huge rises in energy prices. This did not just hit my bank at home, but it also puts a huge amount of pressure on what I do each day.

These rises are a result of several things; Brexit, War, climate change, supply, and demand, just to name a few. I am sure we have all, at some point, been lost reading the ‘whys’ in exhausted debate over social media platforms.

The realities are, times are tough, and I appreciate for some a lot more than others.

But I am here to help, even a little if I can. And what I can help with is giving you fine people some tips on how to reduce energy consumption in your household. With no cheaper Tariff's out there the best way to stabilise energy costs is reducing the amount we use.

Here a few tips that can help save energy around the house:

  • Set your washing machine to 30°C - the higher the temperature the more energy you need to heat the water. At least give it a go, it might not get the spaghetti stains out of white baby grows, but what will?
  • Turn the microwave off at the wall – annually your microwave will use more energy showing the time than it will being used to heat food. No one needs the time showing on the microwave we probably have a decorative 70mm clock nearby, a phone in hand or even have a watch on.
  • Fill the kettle with correct amount of water needed – one of the biggest wastes of energy is boiling water not required. Having a kettle with some indication helps massively, however if you have a bowl of coffee like me in the morning it may take some time to work out.
  • Do not leave TVs/computers or appliances on standby. Turn off – Again over the course of a year leaving equipment on standby is a complete waste of energy.
  • Switch off lights in an unoccupied room – This may take a team effort in the household. I know it took my mum around 18 years to train me how to switch off lights
  • Shower instead of Bath – We all love a bath now and again, but if you are a daily bather and love the candles on to unwind. Try switch it up to more showers this is a huge saving as the volume of water heated is much less for a shower.
  • Shower Times should be no greater than 6 minutes – Cutting down shower times will save a huge amount of energy... I am still working on this one in my house. Recently I learned it takes 25 minutes to condition your hair properly!!
  • Fit a heating programmer and sensor – Appreciate not everyone will be able to do this but being able to control the temperature and schedule heating will cut down on overheating. Reducing a stat by a degree could save around £100 a year.
  • Heat the person not the place – Thermal comfort is the hardest thing to accommodate for. Everyone has a completely different comfort level as it takes in so many variables.... so, before you turn up that stat or put on the heating. Go into the wardrobe and get the fluffy socks out and the hoodie. Loungewear is the look of 2022...so I am told.
  • Draught proofing!! - A big part of feeling cold is air movement. Draught proofing windows and doors is not costly and wonderful way to stop those unwanted draughts.
  • Do not leave phone chargers on when not in use – We all have them. Cannot leave the house without them. You protect them with your life. Huge risk of being abducted at house parties. They also waste energy being left on at the wall. So, look after your friend and turn them off when he is not in use.
  • Install LED lights – LED lights are the most efficient on the market. They cost a little more but use less energy and will last a lot longer. A little tip is when buying lights look at the power output (W) and Lumens (Lm) levels which is the brightness.
  • Maximise Your Smart Meter – Set up an online portal and track how much energy you are using. Take the option to have a plug-in visual meter showing your use in the house. This will help you understand the impact of using appliances throughout the day
  • Encourage Energy Efficiency – To get the household involved try making it fun with rewards for manage energy throughout the house. Educate about some of the practices above. Energy is a world of beautiful science.
  • Drying Clothes – Use the beautiful Scottish weather to dry clothes rather than the tumble-dryer. Will have to think tactically to avoid the rain showers, but the wind and occasional sun will dry clothes in no time.

These changes collectively could make a significant impact in reducing energy cost. And I can testify that they do make a difference. I am now 5 minutes 35 seconds in the shower..... unless I am conditioning my hair.

Now I do not want to gallop off into the sunset without mentioning renewable energy. if you have space and the money in your garden to put a wind turbine next to your trampoline or put solar panels on your roof then definitely investigate. However, the first steps should always be reducing the energy we use rather than offset it with renewable energy.

Take Care All!

Author: Lead Energy Officer, Perth & Kinross Council