No 21st century household would be complete without a range of gizmos and gadgets to help make quick work of day-to-day tasks. These items make our lives easier but most of us don’t realise how much damage our bad energy habits are having on the environment – or how we can save energy through our appliances to change our ways. The UK’s track record on energy efficiency is less than rosy, and us Brits have recently been hailed as Europe’s worst energy wasters.
It’s easy to forget that even the smallest tasks eat up electricity and drain ever-dwindling energy resources. Find out how you could save energy through your appliances with some quick and easy tips – a thumbs up for the environment and better for your wallet too…
Don’t leave Appliances on Standby
A million tonnes of greenhouse gases are pumped into the atmosphere every year by appliances left on standby in the UK according to the latest government figures, so it’s obvious to see where energy savings can be made. Switching off appliances at the mains and not on standby would save enough energy to power 2.7 million homes for a year.
Make it a habit at the end of the day to check that you’ve taken the plugs out on big appliances like washing machines and dishwashers, right down to mobile phone and MP3 player chargers. It all makes a difference, but 71% of us admit to forgetting to switch off.
Use Appliances more Economically
We spend around £2 billion a year on electricity to run household appliances, but using your items more efficiently would help to cut this annual bill and save energy. Better technology makes it easier to get more out of appliances then ever before. Using lower settings is more efficient and often just as effective. You’ll get the same results using newer washing machines at lower temperatures – but a 40°C wash uses a third less energy than a 60°C cycle.
Buy Energy Efficient Products
When replacing an electrical item in your home, look out for products carrying the Energy Saving Recommended logo. This indicates that the item is energy efficient and will cost less to run by saving energy, without necessarily being more expensive to purchase. Appliances including fridges, freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers and boilers will have the logo if they meet the requirements.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, an energy saving dishwasher costs just 9p a cycle to run, compared to 16p on an inefficient appliance – that’s around £20 a year saved on your electricity bill.
And why not think ahead to the digital switchover when you buy your next television? Everyone needs to upgrade to digital TVs between 2008 and 2012, and an energy saving Integrated Digital TV means you don’t need an extra set-top box plugged in.
Think Before you Use Energy
Next time you go to boil the kettle or load the washing, think before you switch on: do you really need to fill it right up; is that a full load you’re washing? Putting a bit more thought into everyday and often unconscious actions will make a surprising difference to how much energy you use. Taking a smarter approach to using electrical items couldn’t be simpler, but the Energy Saving Trust’s recent survey uncovered that laziness was the chief reason for our poor energy efficiency record. A few tips to help make you think:
- Try a half-load or economy programme on the washing machine
- Wait until the dishwasher is full before using it
- Only fill up the kettle with as much water as you need
Reuse and Recycle Old Appliances
Under new legislation, electrical retailers will be obliged to offer recycling services for old electrical equipment. Until then, it’s up to you to dispose of your unwanted or broken appliances yourself, so make sure you do it the green way.
If possible, reuse or recycle your goods rather than throwing them away, even if they’re damaged or broken. Check if your local area has recycling facilities for electrical items. If it’s still in working order, then your appliance could find a good home with someone else. Donate them to your local charity shop or try freecycling – you could even swap it for something else you want. You don’t need to be an eco warrior to take a greener approach to your everyday life – even making small gestures in your home by saving energy through your appliances will collectively make a big difference overall.