Turn down the heating and use washing machines, dryers and stoves during off-peak hours – Cabinet energy plan for households

The government’s response to the energy crisis is to advise the public to use washing machines, dryers, stoves and other household appliances off-peak and to turn down their heating this winter.

The coalition will this week consider a range of measures to reduce energy use in the public sector over the coming months, including turning off lights outside public buildings and turning down indoor heating thermostats.

Employers are being asked to heat specific floors where employees congregate rather than entire buildings.

While these will be part of measures due to be finalized by coalition leaders and ministers today and approved by full cabinet on Wednesday, a renewed Reduce Your Use campaign is expected to return this autumn and winter.

A government source said there was “re-emphasis on” this campaign, due to be announced in the next month or so.

This includes asking the public to use stoves, tumble dryers, washing machines, showers and kettles more efficiently and, if possible, outside of the 4pm to 7pm peak hours.

They are also asked to turn down their thermostats at home and not heat unused rooms in their homes.

People are also being asked to drive at lower speeds to save on fuel and not to use the car for short journeys, instead walking, cycling or using public transport.

A series of government guidelines will be issued to reduce the state’s overall energy use this winter, with guidance on retrofitting and insulating homes likely to be included.

Environment Secretary Eamon Ryan is expected to deliver a memo to Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tanáiste Leo Varadkar.

One of the tests is to keep the heat in buildings at a certain temperature in the coming months.

Government workers may also be asked not to spread out across different floors to heat specific areas rather than entire buildings.

For months, governments and energy experts have been pushing for “reduce your consumption”-style campaigns to promote energy efficiency, but “take shorter showers”-type appeals have met with derision.

But the lawsuits are gaining momentum now as countries introduce limits on air conditioning, introduce lights-out policies in public buildings, and lower heating ratings in other public spaces.

Something similar is being signaled here, and while details are yet to be announced, the government recognizes the need for the public sector to lead by example.

However, that still leaves the thorny issue of our largest power guzzling sector.

A move to reduce data centers would be popular, and while difficult from a policy perspective, some visible action may need to be taken.

It comes as the Climate Change Advisory Council has said, short-term measures like temperature controls must be implemented now to keep energy supplies going.

Chair Marie Donnelly said these measures could save between 20 and 30 per cent on heating bills this year.

“In the short term and given the crisis we are in at the moment, one of the things we have recommended is that people take action now to reduce heating bills for this winter,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“It’s going to be a difficult winter, unfortunately the cost of fossil fuels is rising every day and we need to take all the action we can.

“So what we are proposing is that the short-term measures that are actually low-cost but have a big impact, such as attic insulation, draft-tightness, maintaining your boiler and temperature controls, are done now and the paperwork involved is simplified.

“For example, a reduction on the purchase price instead of having to go through the process of online application payment and then refunding the payment.”

Ms Donnelly said discounted public transport fares should also be extended as this measure could save people money and reduce emissions.

She said cycling, walking, working from home and carpooling could reduce private car use and therefore emissions.

“One of our concerns is that Ireland is too dependent on imported fossils fuels. Fossil fuels are 67 percent of our emissions, they’re also costing us a lot of money right now and we have no control over that,” she said.

“The choice is to use our own energy, our own energy comes from the wind and the sun. We need to roll out more onshore wind, solar and indeed offshore wind.

“Our first priority is the expansion of public transport, bus services and other public transport infrastructure. And when they are there, when people have a choice, then you look at things like congestion charges.

“The congestion charge is about saving people money, of course it will also save the climate.”

https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/turn-down-heating-and-use-washing-machines-dryers-and-cookers-outside-peak-hours-cabinet-energy-plan-for-households-41964476.html Turn down the heating and use washing machines, dryers and stoves during off-peak hours – Cabinet energy plan for households

Fry Electronics Team

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