Energy Saving Tips
Eco-Exmoor Devon encourages the use of renewable energy, but saving energy is of primary importance. Saving energy reduces you fuel bills, lowers your carbon footprint and combats climate change.
Here are some of our tips for saving energy. Some involve no cost, just a change in behaviour. Others involve investment
, but pay for themselves over time.
- Turn of appliances when not needed. Many appliances such as TVs and Digital Recorders have a ‘Stand-by’ mode. This wastes energy, so turn them off. Remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
- Fill up the washing machine, dishwasher or tumble drier; a full load uses less energy than two half loads. If the weather is dry and warm, hang your washing out, rather than use the tumble drier. Sunshine is free and has no carbon footprint.
- Install energy efficient lighting: the latest generation of LED fittings are worth investigation.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Remember, if you have energy efficient lighting / flourescent tubes, leaving them on for 15 minutes uses less energy than switching them on again. Think about if / when you will return to the room again.
- Turn down your room and radiator thermostats, wear warmer clothing! Reducing the room thermostat by just 1°C can save up to 10% on your heating bill.
- Set your hot water cylinder thermostat to 60°C/140°F.
- A dripping tap wastes energy and water. Water utilities use energy to collect, treat and pump water to your house.
- Insulate your property well: ensure there is at least 250mm loft insulation; more if possible, and that the walls are insulated where possible. Eco-Exmoor Devon works in co-operation with the Cosy Home Company, a like-minded local green and ethical company, providing insulation solutions for period properties; secondary double glazing, draught proofing and sheep's wool loft insulation.
- Double glaze your windows or fit secondary glazing or fit heavy lined curtains if that is not possible. Draw your curtains at dusk. Check your windows and doors for draughts.
Visit the Energy Saving Trust for more information and advice.
- Eco-Exmoor Devon strongly recommends that you source as much of your electricity as you can from renewable sources. Local is best, as it minimises distribution system losses. An alternative is to take your electricity from a supplier which obtains its electricity from renewable soucres; such as Good Energy and Ecotricity.
Maximising your PV investment
You have installed PV and now you wish to reduce your reliance on the grid even more to:
- Reduce your ‘imported’ electricity demand
- Insure against rising fuel prices
- Insure against potential grid instability
- Further reduce your carbon footprint
How do you do it? There are a number of ways this can be achieved:
- Smart Behaviour; learning to think about your electricity demand and change your behaviour
- Smart Technology; reinforce your investment by adding technology that smartly monitors, controls and stores your electricity generation.
PV is generated when the sun is out! Obvious!!
Firstly you need to learn about and understand the electricity demands of your appliances. All appliances are power rated in watts (W). The higher the watts, the higher the electricity demand. All electrical appliances sold within the EU must have a label showing basic information:
This label from the Eco-Exmoor Devon office kettle shows that it is rated at between 1850 to 2200W. Look at the rating of your appliances to assess the maximum power demand. Typically,kettles, washing machines, dishwashers, and tumble dryers are energy hungry. Note that their demand is uneven during their operating cycle. A tumble drier is a constant high demand, but a washing machine peaks when it is heating the water during its wash cycle. Our office kettle would consume over 50% of the electricity generated by a typical domestic 3.6kW PV system during the midday peak generation period, but is only on for about 3 minutes. So make your coffee before drying your clothes, otherwise you will demanding more than your PV system can generate.
The best way to maximise the use of your energy generation is to operate you energy hungry appliances during the daylight hours when you PV is at its peak output. Do not operate them at the same time though! Plan to stagger their use; run the dishwasher after your washing machine. Also remember that peak PV electricity generation occurs between the hours of 12:00 and 15:00.
The scope for maximising self-generated electricity usage can limited by a number of factors:
- Daily variation – it rains in the UK at times…..
- Seasonal variations
- Periods of occupancy of the property; you may be out during the working week.
To improve your utilisation further, you need to consider PV Smart Technology solutions next.
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