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Questionnaire: Are You Saving all the Energy You Could?

By: Kathryn Senior PhD - Updated: 6 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Low Energy Light Bulbs Low Energy Bulbs

Answer yes to all the following questions and you are doing very well – if you have some no answers, this can help you identify areas where you could make improvements.

Q1 - Are all your Light Bulbs Low Energy?

Low energy light bulbs are now widely available. They work in a completely different way to traditional incandescent light bulbs and use around a tenth of the electricity to produce the same amount of light.

Low energy bulbs are now available in different fittings – screw and bayonet – as well as different shapes and sizes. You can even get them to work with dimmer switches or dimmed lighting. Low energy bulbs also tend to last longer – so they save you money twice over.

Q2 - Do you Remember to Turn Lights Off?

British teenagers are apparently the worst in Europe for leaving lights on in their rooms when they leave them to go out or to go to another part of the house. Even with low energy bulbs, it makes no sense to have lights on in an empty room.

Q3 - Do you Keep the Central Heating Down?

When you are in the house in winter, try setting the thermostat to a degree or two lower than you normally would. It may be that no one notices! Just one or two degrees will make a noticeable difference to your energy usage though – and your quarterly bills in the winter months.

Q4 - Do you Wear Extra Layers When it’s Cold?

During a chilly day, it’s easy to turn up the central heating – but it’s more cost effective and kinder to the environment to wear another layer of clothes. Shops in large centres are particularly bad for this. During pre-Christmas shopping, customers melt in their winter coats while the shop assistants work in comfort in thin shirts and summer tops.

Q5 - Do you Have Radiator Thermostats Fitted?

When you have the central heating on, the central thermostat sets the overall maximum temperature by switching off when the set temperature is reached. But unless every room is being used, why not fit individual radiator thermostats to keep unused rooms cooler. In the day, for example, radiators in unused bedrooms can be switched right down, while the radiators in living areas are set to a comfortable level. If you work at home, try to set the heating system up so that you are only heating the room where you work – not the rest of the empty house.

Q6 - Do you Fix Dripping Taps and Showers?

Taps and shower fittings wear out with time and a dripping tap can be annoying in more ways than one. If a cold tap drips, that is wasting water and could cost you money if you have a water meter. But having a dripping hot tap is just throwing money and the Earth’s resources down the plug hole.

Q7 - Do You Switch Appliances Off?

Leaving appliances such as stereos, audio equipment, TVs, DVD players and recorders, computers, printers and even washing machines on standby when you are not using them is allowing energy to seep out of them for hours on end. Use an internet site to estimate the energy output of common appliances on standby and work out how much you can save by turning them off. If necessary, invest in some smart sockets with remote controls for hard to reach sockets and just switch them off all at once using the remote.

Q8 - Do you Have Good Insulation?

Heating a house and not using insulation is like having the heating on with the window open. Good loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, as appropriate for your house can make a big difference to your energy usage and your electricity and gas bills.

Q9 - Do you Have Double or Triple Glazing?

Most people do now, but are there some small windows still lurking in your house that are single glazed? Have you a badly fitting window frame that is letting a draft in and your heat out? Sealed unit double or triple glazing can help keep the heat in and having large windows that are south facing can use the energy from the Sun to keep the room warm on sunny days in winter.

Q10 - Do you Draw Curtains at Night?

If your home has large windows, even if they are double or triple glazed, heat is lost through them after dark. You can minimise this by having thick, lined and well fitting curtains and shutting them at night to insulate the window and keep the heat in.

Ten simple ways to reduce your energy consumption and reduce your bills!

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