Saving energy is easier than you think

Saving energy is easier than you think

10/01/23

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There is no need to be ashamed of being economical. Rather, it is worth be proud of. Saving energy – whether electricity or heating – not only supports our wallets, but is also an example of environmental responsibility. It is a win-win: by consciously using energy, we save money and nature.

We often think that, in order to live more economically, it takes many sacrifices. This is not true. Success lies in trusting modern technology and everyday activities that we don’t even notice. Saving energy is not difficult. All it takes is a little awareness.

In these times of energy difficulties, the conscious use of energy is gaining additional meaning.

The difficult situation in heating is not improved by the forecasts for the heating costs of flats and houses for 2023. Electricity, heat and gas suppliers are changing their tariffs. Water and sewage companies are doing this, as are waste collection and disposal companies.

In the first quarter of 2023, it is estimated that consumer inflation will not allow us to rest from this. Not even the hardest economic heads can calculate how much we will actually be paying for electricity. On top of this, there will – of course – be further increases in property maintenance fees. And that means that we may not be doing very well for ourselves if we don’t rethink the way we use energy.

Heating prices in the near future

It is assumed that – when using district heat (generated in a heat and power plant and sent to the residential units via heat substations) – heating charges will increase by at least 20% in towns and cities (CHP plants) and by up to 200% in small towns and cities which use, for example, district heating boiler houses. Such district heating plants have to obtain and pay for the heating fuel themselves. And with its availability is still difficult.

We get used to comfort and when we suddenly have to ‘tighten our belts’, it reflects on our mind. Saving energy should not be a sacrifice. So how do we reduce our charges without reducing our comfort?

Here are 7 proven ways to save energy.

Choose appliances with the highest energy rating and replace lighting with more energy-efficient ones.

This is basic advice, but it should never be overlooked. Lower bills come from lower energy consumption throughout the building. The more appliances with lower consumption, the more energy-efficient home. Replacing a traditional light bulb with a modern led bulb (no longer as expensive as when they first came on the market) will pay for itself in a few weeks.

Unplug electrical appliances that are not used on a daily basis. Turn off the standby mode on the rest.

Why keep appliances plugged in when you don’t use them? Sometimes we simply forget about them, and that’s a big mistake. Standby mode, usually indicated by a red light on appliances, is not free. Some appliances can bill us for such ‘standby’ – and we usually have more than one such appliance. The costs need to be multiplied by their number.

Review your bills, change your electricity supplier, review your energy offer.

Being aware of who we are paying and at what rates is a key part of making savings. Often we do not even consider changing our energy service provider if we have been using the same one for years. Habit and aversion to economic subjects play against us. It’s the same with tariffs – once we’ve chosen (or perhaps someone has cleverly suggested it to us?) and we’re done. Taking shortcuts can cost us a lot – we may have been paying more than we need to for a long time. Energy realities are constantly changing and it’s worth keeping your hand on the pulse.

Use appliances that consume the most energy in the home wisely – fridge, dishwasher, TV, computer.

Saving energy is the total result of small daily habits.

Do not place the fridge next to a wall (no ventilation) or next to heat-emitting appliances (the more heat around it has to neutralise, the more electricity it will use), level it. Change the gaskets, defrost the food in the fridge (it will take a while, but frozen food will give the fridge a chill), limit how often and when you open the fridge. Let’s turn it off when leaving.

A dishwasher is always a lower water consumption compared to washing dishes by hand, which is the basis of water wastage. It is also much more hygienic (kills bacteria), which is good for your health. To increase savings, let’s use the available economy modes (they draw less water at a lower temperature). Run the machine ONLY when it is full. It doesn’t make sense to do this for a few glasses and pans.

Computers are currently our electronic equipment of primary need. Televisions, although less popular, are still a popular leisure companion. However, it is worth not treating them as an all-day companion. Use energy-saving sleep modes and programme them to switch off at a given time. This way, we don’t waste electricity.

To save energy in the long term, let’s change expensive habits.

Turn off the lights in rooms you are not in. Switch off electronic equipment that you are not currently using. Don’t leave lighting in front of the house on for longer than necessary. And if you still find it difficult to get rid of bad habits in energy use, automate your energy consumption.

Smart home and appliance rules will automatically take care of minimal energy use – for example, lights will turn off when you leave the room. On the other hand, unplugging electrics to special plugs, smart plags, will allow you to read exactly how much electricity a particular item is using. Nothing helps to change costly habits more than imagining the money that is escaping from your wallet.

Choose energy-efficient materials.

This advice concerns those who are building a house or who are not excluding a major renovation according to the principle – invest to save.

Energy-efficient construction is nothing more than the selection of structural elements that fit together perfectly and make the building structurally compact – well insulated. This will minimise heat loss. And the less it “escapes”, the less energy will be used to heat the house again. It is estimated that up to 30% of domestic heat escapes through walls!

In winter, control the heating – automatically, zonally – to save energy.

And finally – control the heating system. This should be done with the help of modern control systems and not manually, e.g. by turning the manual control knob on the radiator on or off.

This old-fashioned method will not provide comfort and the savings will be minimal. If we don’t put our trust in modern automation, we don’t really control the temperature in the house/apartment.  Meanwhile, heating is the biggest cost of home maintenance during the winter. It is impossible to avoid. It is worth doing everything possible to keep it in check – operating without control, we don’t stand a chance.

What is the point of cooling the house while we are away when you can keep it at an economic temperature that will return to a comfortable value by the time we return? Heating up the building from the start every afternoon is a waste of heating energy and money.

If we plan the temperatures of the entire house wisely for each day of the week, we can reduce heating costs by up to 35%. And these are only approximate figures; saving energy can be even more effective. It all depends on what kind of schedule we set and what kind of lifestyle we have. However, the fact that you will save is guaranteed. The effects will be visible after just a few months.

Our heating costs will certainly be reduced by a heat pump, which uses renewable energy to heat the house – check it out.

Cheap heating – what else can you do to pay less?

  • Make seals, adjust doors and windows – again, the idea is to loose as little heat as possible.
  • Open window curtains during the day, close at night. Thanks to radiation, the sun will warm up the interiors during the day. Closing the curtains/blinds in the evening will reduce the heat transfer to the outside. Here, the possibilities of smart home systems can be successfully exploited by setting up automatic rules for the operation of the roller shutters.
  • Clean and vent your radiators at the start of each winter season. Neglected heating system components are prone to malfunctions and increase the amount of dust in the air.
  • Do not block the radiators (cabinets, chairs, heavy curtains) and install an aluminium mat to reflect the heat into the interior and prevent it from ‘soaking in’ to the wall.
  • Use carpets because they are effective in reducing the unpleasant feeling of cold beating from the floor, parquet. The cold air is heavy, falling. A floor without underfloor heating is always chilled. Stepping on it, we freeze.
  • Check your preferences, i.e. establish what temperature is useful in each room and create schedules. At selected times, the heating system will consume heating energy economically.
  • Lower the temperature at night: a woollen blanket will warm you up, and you won’t feel the unpleasant cold when you sleep. A few hours of lower temperature each day will make a difference to the fees. Besides, sleep comfort and efficiency is better when we do not overheat.
  • Ventilate quickly but intensively. This may seem meaningless, but it is quite the opposite. In this way, the air is exchanged without cooling the equipment in the room (cold equipment spreads the cold to the inside). In addition, the warm air (which is lighter than the cold air) will rise to the ceiling (convection) during a short, strong ventilation, and will not be pushed out as quickly.
  • ALWAYS turn down the radiators or switch off the heating before ventilation: with the smart system, you don’t have to remember to do this, because the right rule and the cooperating hardware (thermostat window-opening sensor) will do it for you. They will automatically switch off the heating of the room when the window is opened.

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