Taoiseach Micheál Martin spoke indirectly of an “approach to reducing demand”, while Boris Johnson was blunt about telling people to buy new kettles, but what both were getting at in recent days was the need to use less gas and electricity.
As the price of power soars to terrifying heights, EU and national leaders are formulating all sorts of complex financial, legal and political responses.
But they’re also getting back to basics, urging households, businesses and the public sector to “reduce their consumption,” as the Irish campaign is dubbed.
Suddenly, “Were you born in a barn” (close the door), “We’re not an airport” (turn off the lights), and “Have you turned off the immersion?” (You don’t need that much hot water) aren’t retro t-shirt slogans. Slogans more, but mantras for everyday life.
So what can you do to reduce energy consumption and save a few bucks off your bills?
Turn down the heat
The simplest rule of thumb to remember is “if it’s hot, it costs a lot”.
Any household appliance that generates heat to do its job uses a relatively large amount of energy.
This includes obvious things like radiators and portable heaters, shower, oven, washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher.
But smaller appliances like kettles, coffee makers, hair dryers or straighteners, electric towel rails, toaster ovens, and irons can be power-hungry for their size.
Be economical in consumption
The basic advice from Energy Advisors is to use equipment when you need it, for as long as you need it, and only as much as you need it.
Don’t leave the heating on when you’re not at home just because you’ve set it to come on at a certain time every day.
Do not heat rooms that are not used and do not heat all rooms to the same temperature. Some are naturally warmer than others.
Fill the washing machine
Wait until the washing machine is full before using it, wash at 30ºC or lower, remove the odd stain when the rest of the garment is clean and if it is just a touch-up that is needed , try a few hours on the clothesline instead of a full foam-and-rinse experience.
Leave the tumble dryer, only use it to finish line-dried clothes.
Use the microwave, toaster or sandwich maker to prepare small or individual meals instead of turning on the entire grill.
Beware of the kettle. But also beware of the claims made by “energy efficient” kettle manufacturers.
The former UK Prime Minister’s statement that investing £20 in a new kettle would save you £10 a year was quickly refuted by engineers, who pointed out that while a new kettle might boil faster, it requires higher wattage to do so.
For some people, these measures are nothing new
However, it only helps to boil as much water as you need each time.
Use fridges and freezers intelligently by keeping them open as little as possible and in a cool place if possible.
Stock up the freezer
Fill gaps in freezers with everything from crumpled newspaper to plastic containers of water to keep the machine from repeatedly trying to refreeze warm air that enters when the door is opened.
Take shorter showers. Take your time and then go just a minute shorter. And then maybe another minute.
Use energy-saving LED light bulbs, turn off unnecessary lights, unplug charged devices, and don’t leave devices on standby.
Try to avoid peak times – 7am-9am and 5pm-7pm. If you have a smart meter and time-of-use tariff, you will benefit directly from cheaper tariffs.
Even if you don’t, these are the times when power generators will burn extra gas to meet the surge in demand.
The distribution of demand throughout the day should theoretically keep electricity prices somewhat lower.
For some people, these measures are nothing new. This is the only way they can hope to keep energy bills manageable.
Many others will wonder if they are worth the hassle and inconvenience.
It’s true that only a few cents are saved here and there, but even 20 cents a day is 73 euros a year. Save 50 cents a day and the savings can increase to €182 in a year.
In the context of the latest bills and the price increases that are yet to come into force, that is still little, but every watt costs and every cent counts.
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/remember-if-its-hot-it-costs-a-lot-tips-for-cutting-energy-use-and-costs-this-winter-41966313.html Remember, When It’s Hot, It Costs A Lot – tips to reduce energy use and costs this winter