Eco Tips

Energy saving in the home

Reducing our carbon footprint in the home is essentially about reducing the amount of energy we use – whether that is for lighting, cooking a meal or having a wash. Here are some tips.

  • Turn off lights when they are not needed.
  • If you have an emersion heater, make sure it is well insulated. 
  • Have a shower rather than a bath. Limit the length of your shower time especially if it is a high pressure shower – a 9 minute pressure shower uses more energy than a bath!
  • Instead of a daily shower, wash with a flannel. We are seldom as dirty as we might think!
  • Dishwashers are meant to be efficient but are not always the most ecological way of washing up. A dishwasher uses 1KWh for a 70-100 minute programme. Heating 2 litres of water to fill a washing up uses 0.2KW.
  • Boil only as much water as you need when making hot drinks.
  • When boiling with a pan on a stove use a lid to keep the heat in (except when cooking pasta as the water will boil over).
  • Limit how many pans you need to cook a meal. Try and reuse a hot plates whilst they are still hot.
  • Turn off the hot plate (if electric) before the cooking time is over so as to make good use of the heat in the hot plate.
  • If you are using the oven, plan to cook several things at once to make full use of the energy you are consuming.
  • Use a microwave for steaming vegetables, stewing fruit, making porridge/ custard etc.
  • Run your washing machine on its coldest setting and choose the shortest programme time.  
  • Only run the washing machine when it is full.
  • Don’t wash clothes until they need it: ie they smell sweaty, have a tide mark or spots. We have grown used to the idea of washing everything all the time!
  • Hang washing outside to dry. Ideally wash things in the morning to allow plenty of drying time, especially in the winter.
  • When it’s raining, hang wet washing inside on a clothes dryer. 
  • Many kitchen appliances are labour saving but doing things by hand is good for arm muscles – and arm muscles can be applied for different  purposes obviating the need for lots of small appliances.
  • Similarly in the garden, manual appliances such as lawn mowers and brooms are good for exercise and fitness.
  • Turn off appliances when not in use as they will still be drawing a small amount of electricity. 
  • If you have solar panels choose to run electrical appliances when the sun is shining. The electricity will power these directly without any loss via the distribution system. 
  • Don’t buy new appliances until you need them. Do some research, which are ecological; which energy efficient; which have a long life; which are easily repaired if they break down? Check out Ethical Consumer’s advice: https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ 
  • Consider buying second hand.
  • If you will only need an appliance for occasional use, consider borrowing one – eg via  neighbourhood app.

Author: Judith Russenberger

Environmentalist and theologian, with husband and three grown up children plus one cat, living in London SW14. I enjoy running and drinking coffee - ideally with a friend or a book.

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