Inflated gas and fuel prices. The news of the day. Not a day passes without if having its effect on our lives. Which may be a good thing, because it is helping more and more people realise that they need to improve their approach to sustainable living. Not just in order to make ends meet, but also to help combat climate change.
It is becoming apparent that more and more people are looking for ways of improving their energy efficiency. As cheaply as possible, or at a high-value investment. From a minor behavioural adjustment to a major overhaul of your home. Anyone can chip in in their own way. Want to know more about how you can improve your approach to sustainable living? Then read on!
What you can start doing today
Starting with small adjustments for use in your home straight away:
Install a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat creates much more insight into your gas and power consumption at home. At any given time, you can see how much you are using in terms of gas or electricity. You can adjust the presets to let you switch to the right temperature at the press of a button. You can set the heating to switch off at a particular time, when you are not at home, or when you go to bed – making sure you never forget to turn off the heating.
In addition, insight into your consumption is key. Being aware of your consumption automatically causes you to pay more attention to switching off the heating on time, or to turn the heating down by a few degrees. A small adjustment that lets you cut down your annual electrical bill by as much as 100 to 150 Euros. Very much worth the effort!
Switch off the lamps when you leave the room
It may seem so simple, but it is often overlooked. By making yourself pay attention to switching off the lights in rooms that you leave, you can cut back on your power consumption by a large amount.
Many people are not aware of standby power consumption – meaning that, although a lamp may be switched off, it may still be drawing some amount of power from the outlet. So unplug as many devices as possible – particularly for those devices that see little use.
Another solution: using switch-operated power strips. This lets you unplug multiple devices at the flick of a switch.
Cut back on warm water-consumption
Warm water, what could be better – particularly in winter. But without noticing, we tend to overconsume warm water, which is a waste. Our showers account for a total of 80% of all warm water used in our households. This means showers are the best option for reducing warm water consumption. Naturally, reducing shower time is a good idea – but it is not the only solution. Water-saving showerheads, currently on the market, can limit a shower to use a maximum of 7 litres per minute instead of 9. A smart way of saving water!
Investing for a sustainable life
In addition to small adjustments available for anyone, there are larger changes that call for an investment – which will definitely earn itself back in a number of years.
Insulate your home
An inadequately insulated home can result in a bothersome loss of heat, which shows on your heating bill. Here is what you can do: plug up holes, gaps, and slits, or use draught excluders. It may sound simple, but it is a small change that can have a major impact.
But if this does not fix the issue, then it may be smart to look into floor and ground insulation, cavity wall insulation, roof insulation, or insulating glass. These insulation methods keep out the cold, and help keep your home warmer. Insulating your home costs money, but this investment earns itself back over several years through the amount of money you save on power.
If your home sees a lot of sun, then consider a solar panel system. Solar panels are a great investment – in terms of the environment, and in terms of finance. While costly to buy, solar panels earn themselves back in an average of seven years. Or even more quickly than that, considering the current electrical prices. And once the investment has been repaid, you continue to generate free power via sunlight.
When buying a solar panel system, an inverter may be among its most important parts. Because without an inverter, you cannot use the power you generate in your household. An inverter, for example by Huawei or Sungrow, converts generated direct current into 230 Volt alternating current; the kind used by your washing machine, coffee maker, or phone charger.
If you are a frequent driver, then changing a fossil fuel car for an electric one is a very sustainable choice. Over the course of its economic lifespan, an electric car emits an average 60% less CO2 than a petrol-powered car with an exhaust.