15 Aug 2014

Turn it off: Saving energy in the home

guest blog from Keiran Wake

New plans unveiled by EU commissioner for energy, Günther Oettinger, will encourage EU states to increase their energy efficiency by 30 per cent by 2030.

Speaking of the new target, Oettinger said: “Our aim is to give the right signal to the market and encourage further investments in energy-saving technologies to the benefit of businesses, consumers and the environment.”

With this in mind, it’s likely that governments across Europe will intensify the focus on energy efficiency in the home. In an effort to help you get ahead, this post will suggest ways you can reduce your energy consumption, improve safety and cut household bills.

The phone charger

Rarely are we seen without our smartphones, which usually means our trusty charger is in tow too. The average mobile phone charger uses around two to six watts of energy — fairly small fry in the grand scheme of our household’s energy usage.

However, if you’re a grab-and-go kind of person who’s always forgetting to unplug their charger when not in use, you could be wasting up to 0.5 watts an hour. If this happens all day every day for 365 days a year, you stand to waste 4,380 watts of energy — or around 730 full smartphone charges.
When put in context, this type of energy wastage should not be overlooked, so unplug next time your phone’s fully charged.

The tumble dryer

Our busy lives mean we all want to get our everyday household tasks done quickly and efficiently. As a result, many households make frequent use of a tumble dryer. However, the tumble dryer is actually one of the most expensive household items to use.

According to British Gas, the average tumble dryer costs owners around £30 to £40 per annum, producing between 129kg and 175kg of CO2. As you can see, this isn’t the environmentally or wallet-friendly option.
It’s easy to cut this energy usage in the summer. Drying laundry outside is a great way to eliminate the need for this energy-hungry appliance, helping to minimise your usage to just the winter months. If you’re looking to buy one, always choose the tumble dryer with a high energy-efficiency rating.

Overloading sockets

While it is important to be in the know about energy usage, it’s also important that we use our appliances safely. We’re all guilty of overloading sockets without even knowing, but doing so can be particularly dangerous, causing your appliances to overheat and potentially even cause a fire.
So how do you know if your extension plugs are teetering on the danger line? It can be difficult to work out, but Gentoo, in conjunction with the Electrical Safety Council, has made it easy with their socket overload calculator. This interactive tool is perfect for discovering what’s safe and what’s not.

These small changes won’t change the world overnight but, if we all work collectively, we can help our home nations to smash the new 2030 energy efficiency target. 

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