Our homes are filled with energy consuming devices.
The average Dane uses around 1.600 kWh/year, whereas a family of two adults and two children in average uses approximately 4.450 kWh/year. The electricity prices vary, but in average we pay approx. 2,25 DKK/kWh, and the electricity bill for a typical Dane is about 3.600 DKK and about 10.013,-/year for a family of four.
There are, however, several things we can do to bring down our energy use, which will not only bring down the electricity bill, but also fight climate change at the same time. Energy savings are one of the easiest ways to reduce CO2 emissions, and due to the enormous climate potential in behavioral change, it is one of the EU fields of action, we will hear more about in the years to come.
The EU member states are among other things encouraged to establish a collective awareness about the benefits of energy savings and energy efficiency as a tool for motivational change that will affect the CO2 emissions.
Most people will save money on their electricity bill by changing their habits slightly – and replace older electrical devices with newer and more energy efficient models. Turning our attention to our daily activities and habits, there are surprisingly many ways to do things slightly differently, which in a year will amount to significant electricity savings.
Lets put it to the test, shall we?
About one fifth of your electricity use goes to computer, iPad, music, game consoles etc.?
LED lights spend 4-5 times less electricity than halogen lights? And they last 10 times longer.
A Playstation consumes three times more power than a Wii?
Standby consumption costs us 1,8 billion DKK a year and represents CO2 emissions of 450.000 tons?
Make sure the temperatures in your refrigerator and freezer meet the recommendations of 5° for fridge and -18° for freezer. To measure the temperature in the fridge, place a thermometer in a glass of water and check the temperature after 24 hours. You measure the freezer temperature by placing a thermometer in a glass of neutral alcohol and check the temperature after 24 hours. In an upright freezer you place it near the freezer door, and in a freezer cabinet, you place it on top in the middle.
Your electricity consumption goes up by 10% in both fridge and freezer if the temperatures are just 2° colder than recommended.
Use the fridge to defrost. Your frozen food releases free cold, which you can use effectively to reduce the electricity consumption of your fridge. One kilogram of frozen food gives you one hours of free cooling in the fridge, and if you defrost meat for the night’s meal just three times a week, it amounts to several free hours of cooling over a year.
Take advantage of the energy used in your oven. There is no need to pre-heat, unless you bake bread or cookies. Put instead the dish in the cold oven and add 10-15 minutes to the cooking time. Benefit also from the delayed heat by turning off the oven the last 10 minutes. This will save you approx. 20 percent of your electricity consumption.
Another efficient savings tip is to use convection. When using this function, you reduce the temperatures by 20% and save electricity accordingly. Another advantage of convection is the possibility to insert multiple baking trays at the time and minimize the time your oven is turned on. Lastly, you should avoid using the oven to defrost your dishes. You can save up to 30 percent by defrosting before putting things in the oven.
Let’s stay at the oven, because it is one of the power-guzzlers of the home. If you can avoid using it and instead use one of your other devices, you can save up to 70 percent of your electricity consumption. Use e.g. the microwave or the pots for cooking or the toaster to warm up your bread – it uses only 10 percent of the electricity use of the oven.
Put a lid on the pot and use the steam. The water should just cover potatoes and vegetables – any more than this will require the hob to use unnecessary energy, which is a waste of both water and electricity. You save 30 percent of your electricity use, when you exploit the heat from both the hob and the steam under the lid.
Set the hob at the lowest possible setting. The lower you set it, the less electricity used. Set the hob to the highest temperature to get things boiling quickly. When it boils, turn it down as low as you can until it starts to simmer. Make also sure to use the right burner; if the pot is smaller than the burner, you’ll waste a lot of good energy heating up the excess part of the burner.
This advice is actually just common sense: turn off the lights. Many of us forget to turn off the light when we leave a room, so make a habit of turning it off and avoid paying for unnecessary power use.
Benefit fully from the energy used when you start the washing machine by filling it up. Perhaps your laundry can wait a day or two, if there is only clothes enough for half a machine? We all have our favorite clothes that needs to be ready for use at all times, but if you avoid the half-full-washes, you can over a year save up to 50 starts. As a bonus, you will spare your favorite blouse when saving it from over-washing.
As a rule of thumb, your washing machine is appropriately full when you can place your fist in the void above the clothes without pressing it together.
Lower the temperatures when you do your laundry. This will bring the energy consumption down by 35-45 percent.
High temperature programmes of 90° are completely unnecessary, since 60° sufficiently both cleans the clothes and removes dust mites from your linen. Likewise you may do your colour-safe laundry at 40° – or perhaps even 20-30°. The clothes cleans easily at low temperatures, even with small stains or a bit of mud on the trousers.
The (tumble) dryer is another power-guzzler, so use the clothesline when possible. If you do use your dryer, it is recommended to check the manual to see how much clothes to fill in. Too much or too little will cause the dryer to use too much energy, and using the dryer correctly will help you save a lot of money during a year.
Spin your clothes at high rotation before putting it in the dryer. Spinning uses hardly any electricity, and it reduces the time required in the dryer. Make sure to clean the filter after each use. This will shorten the drying time and save electricity.
Take control of your standby consumption and save 500-700 DKK a year. Many of our devices have a standby function, which allows us to turn them on fast.
However this convenience may rapidly cost us 400 kWh per year (per device). It is unnecessary use of electricity in the times of day where we sleep, are at work or on holiday, and it is relatively easy to introduce a savings routine, in which you shut it all off in one place with an autopoweroff.