We are in an energy crisis. Not only on a global scale – oil is set to start running out in 25 years, according to the Institute of Mechnical Engineers – but in our own country. Everyone reading this will have been incovenienced by load shedding: unless you are one step ahead of the game and have become energy self-sufficient. For those of us who are still reliant on the grid, saving electricity to save money on increasingly expensive power is something you can no longer avoid. Saving electricity not only saves you money, but shrinks your carbon footprint too. That said, knowing what to do to make saving electricity a reality can be tricky. Make sure you’re not buying into these seven myths about energy-saving:
You might think that turning off your TV, computer or cellphone charger will help you in saving electricity. Think again. A cell phone charger plugged into the wall, unconnected to a phone still uses “vampire energy” – approximately one watt an hour. Think of all the appliances in your house: that’s a lot of wattage being used while nothing’s happening.
The solution: Only unplugging appliances from the power socket will guarantee zero electricity use.
Many believe that it takes more power to turn a computer on, than simply putting it into sleep mode. This may have been the case in the past, but technology nowadays has evolved: powering up your computer uses a fraction of the electricity than leaving your device in sleep mode.
The solution: Turn your computer off if you won’t be using it for a few hours. Be sure to turn it off at night and over the weekend to help preserve battery life.
You come back home in the evening and are greeted by a cold house. You head straight to the heater and crank up the dial to the max. Yet, it will take exactly the same time to get your room to the desired heat if you were to have your heater on a moderate setting. What’s more, you’ll probably have to turn it down an hour later when you are too hot – wasting even more electricity in the process.
The solution: Set your heater to a moderate heat to begin with and only increase the heat if you are still cold after the heat setting has been reached.
Common wisdom might dictate that hand washing dishes is good for saving electricity, but this is not the case. Doing the dishes by hand uses more water, more soap and more electricity than using a dishwasher, especially if you frequently wash piles of dishes.
The solution: If possible, use a dishwasher but make sure it is full and on an eco setting before you turn it on. If you don’t have dishwasher, wash your dishes in large batches rather than “as you go”.
The economic downturn of 2008 and beyond saw an evolution of many nifty and thrifty DIY tips that avoided more expensive options. Sealing draughty windows with plastic wrap and tape is one of them. While this might stop draughts, it will do nothing for preventing heat loss.
The solution: Consider window frosting in your home. It will insulate your windows – saving electricity you would have had to use heating the room.
You might think that closing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning vents in your home will prevent heat escaping, right? Not so. Ventilation systems are designed to operate as whole system. So if you close a few vents, you are putting more pressure on the system, resulting in more electricity being used.
Just because you’ve dimmed your lights by 50%, doesn’t mean you’ll use half the amount of electricity.
The solution: Rather than dimming your lights, use LED lights which consume less power. Window frosting will also allow in 93% of natural light while giving you privacy: you’ll no longer need to draw the blinds and turn on the lights.
Saving electricity in your home or office can bring about significant cost savings as you use lights and heaters less. Our Green Building Guide goes into more details about ways to green your home. You can download it for free here.
Image credit: www.camhydro.com