There is a lot you can do to influence your electricity consumption. Reducing your energy consumption has two benefits. Firstly, it reduces your electrical bills, and secondly, it is good for the environment and reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
Here we have gathered what you can do in a step-by-step checklist. We answer common myths about electricity and help you with what to think about if you want to replace your light bulbs with more environmentally friendly alternatives.
Keep track of electricity consumption
The best way to see if you can reduce your electricity consumption, and where you can reduce it, is to keep track of your electricity consumption at different times. On your electric invoice, it says how much electricity you have consumed. Oftentimes, you can get even more detailed information if you log into your electricity supplier’s website.
With the help of a portable electricity meter, you can measure how much power your appliances consume. You can buy the meter in electric department stores. You plug in the electricity meter into the wall socket and then measure how much an appliance consumes. You can also check how much the devices consume in standby mode.
In this checklist, you can see what you can do to reduce your energy consumption and electricity costs.
How to reduce your electricity consumption
- Replace incandescent lamps with low-energy lamps, or LEDs. The low-energy lamp consumes 80 percent less electricity and lasts ten times as long as a regular incandescent lamp. For each replaced lamp, you save up to EUR 50 over the course of the lamp’s life. Today, the lamps are significantly more energy-efficient than they were a few decades ago. The so-called LED technology is constantly evolving and the lamps are getting cheaper. It is therefore only in exceptional cases that you cannot use an LED lamp to save energy.
However, a turned-off lamp always saves more electricity than a turned-on lightbulb, so be sure not to leave the lamps on when you don’t need them, and to extinguish lamps in rooms that are not used. Having a timer on outdoor and indoor lighting as well as installing motion detectors instead of lamp buttons can also be a way to save electricity and lower electricity bills.
Do not unnecessarily turn on the lamp. For example, use a timer, light sensor, or motion sensor to make sure that the lamp is only on when someone is there and needs it.
- Always switch off the TV and computer with peripherals when not in use. Get branch outlets with switches, so you can turn off all appliances with a single button. You can also get a remote switch to turn off the power outlet.
If you have a separate digital box, you should check if it can be turned off without having to do a new channel search every time.
- Use the power saving mode on your TV and computer if such function is available.
If you have an appliance older than 5 years, you should switch off your appliance when not in use instead of using standby. In newer devices, standby is no longer a problem.
- Measure the electricity consumption of your appliances in both operating and standby mode. Then you can see which appliances are consuming the most power even though they are in standby or off.
- Find out how much electricity the appliance consumes before you buy it. A good way is to check the energy labeling. It is not only the purchase price that costs, but the operating cost is also up to 80% of the total cost during the life of an appliance. For example, plasma TV draws much more electricity than an LCD TV and LED TV.
- Make sure doors for refrigerator and freezer close tightly. Defrost and vacuum clean the loops on the back of the fridge/freezer a couple of times a year to remove dirt and dust that damage the performance and increase the energy consumption of the freezer.
- Cook with a lid and choose the pan according to the size of the plate. You can save 80 percent of your energy.
- Use the microwave when cooking small amounts of food. Do not use the kitchen fan unnecessarily as it draws out hot air (unless you have a carbon filter fan).
- New refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers consume less than models that are older than ten years.
- Utilize after-heat on the hob and oven when cooking.
- Keep track of energy labeling. It indicates how much energy the machine uses. You should preferably choose an appliance that is A-rated or better. A stove with glass-ceramic hobs consumes about 20 percent less than one with cast iron plate. An induction cooker consumes 40 percent less.
- Ovens have different volumes – therefore compare the electricity consumption per round, which corresponds to the electricity consumption for cooking a steak.
- This may be surprising, but the dishwasher actually consumes less electricity and water than if you wash your hands, whether you rinse under running water or dishes in the sink. On the other hand, the cost of washing becomes higher, because the dishwasher detergent is about ten times more expensive than hand washing detergent. Furthermore, energy is required for the manufacturing and transportation of a dishwasher.
- Connect the dishwasher to the cold water. Then the dishwasher itself heats the water when it is washing but rinses in cold water, which saves energy. However, if you have geothermal heat or a geothermal heat pump that produces hot water, you should connect to the hot water.
- Fill the machine properly. A washing machine that is filled in half consumes almost as much energy as a filled machine. If you buy a new machine, do not buy larger than you need.
- Use savings programs. Centrifugation reduces the need for drying. Run at maximum speed.
- Choose a washing machine with at least 1,400 revolutions of spin. Centrifugation is the most energy-efficient way of removing water from clothes. You quickly get the laundry dry and the dryer time in the tumbler decreases. Drying clothes with a residual moisture content of 70 percent compared to 50 percent increases electricity consumption by about 60 percent or by about EUR 50 per year.
- Air-dry the laundry outdoors if possible. The dryer consumes up to four times as much electricity as a washing machine, since the air is heated throughout the drying program. A dryer consumes eight times as much electricity (unless you have a dryer with heat pump) as a washing machine, ie twice as much as a dryer. If using a dryer, make sure to clean the filter in the dryer frequently – it will work more efficiently then. Whenever you can, it is always a better idea for the sake of your electricity consumption and the environment, to dry your laundry outdoors.
- Always use a Residual-current device when using electricity outdoors, to reduce the risk of serious injury.
- Replace heating system. For example, supplement your direct-acting electrical elements with an air heat pump.
- Insulate more. Supplemental insulation of walls and ceilings is a common measure and old windows are great energy thieves. However, be aware that older houses without a ventilation system need leaks for self-sufficiency to occur. It is therefore important that insulation work is carried out in consultation with a specialist.
Appliances that heat or cool require most electricity in the home
When it comes to household harness, a simple rule of thumb applies: All appliances with the task of producing heat or cooling belong to those who draw the most electricity. These include washing machines, dishwashers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, electrical elements, and portable AC systems. Not using unnecessarily high or low-temperature settings is the simplest way to reduce the consumption of electricity at home.
Myths about electricity
“It costs less to light the lamp than to turn it on and off.”
When you turn on a lamp or start a machine, the power increases for a few seconds. It does not affect energy consumption. The walking myth may have originated in the old fluorescent lamps, which had a glimmer lighter with a limited lifespan. If they were often turned on and off, they did not last as long. But that did not increase electricity consumption. Modern fluorescent lamps and low-energy lamps have other types of lighters, which can withstand much more.
“Low-energy lamps are over-advertised. Incandescent lamps contribute to the heating.”
It is true that what does not become light in the light bulb becomes heat. But it is not certain that the heat is spread where it works best. Studies show that a household can save 50-85 percent by switching to low-energy lamps. Then the waste heat of the incandescent lamps has also been taken into account.
“The larger the housing, the higher the electricity bill.”
Various studies show that it is rather habits and family size that make the biggest difference in electricity consumption. In a townhouse area with exactly the same houses, the highest electricity consumption is often more than twice as high as the lowest.
Which lamp should you choose?
With the new lamps, watts will not work as a comparison. With efficient halogen, low energy and LED lamps, more of the energy is converted into light. This means that you can replace a 60-watt bulb with a low energy bulb of 11-13 watts and get the same luminous flux. Here you can see what a bulb in watts corresponds to in the lumen and what you should choose for a lamp instead of a bulb.