Reducing electricity consumption

We’re back on ‘operation reduce electricity consumption’ here at Chez Green.

We had an electricity bill and was surprised to see, that for the first time in about eight years, we owed our company money, rather than other way around!

We pay a agreed monthly amount but for some reason we’re using more. It could be to do with price increases of course, but I’m well aware that leaving lights and gadgets plugged in is something we’re all guilty of at home.

It’s so easy to leave something on, to think you’ll be popping back into the room later or to simply forget.

So the ‘real time’ electricity monitor is back on again and every time I work in the kitchen I can see a live reading of how much electricity we are using. These gadgets are great for discovering energy vampires once you know your average ‘base rate’ for consumption and they allow you to see if you’ve left something on that is guzzling heat such as the immersion heater or electric room heater.

You might remember a few weeks ago I gave myself an ‘F’ for our Change the World Wednesday challenge – we were asked to eat locally and I totally failed.

Well I discovered this week that the UK really DOES get an ‘F’ for energy efficiency. According to Direct Blinds, World Energy Map only 3.92 of the UK’s energy comes from renewables and we don’t even appear in the list of top ten world leaders in renewable energy and CO2 emissions.

The interactive map shows me that our near-neighbours Iceland have a thing or two to teach us, but of course they can get hot water out of the ground over there, with no need for non-renewable heating!

After learning how the simple choice of whether to use a saucepan on the hob or a plate in the oven can make a difference, here are five of the things we’re focusing on:

  • Solar lighting is now fully on solar instead of using a back up battery. We’ve installed another solar panel and are testing out our new system this week. This forces us to turn off lights when not in use because, without back up power, if we leave them on, we can look forward to pretty dark evenings!
  • We’re all taking more showers than baths. This has been a revelation to me. I love a good soak in the bath but find I actually quite enjoy the shower when I get in there.
  • Something on my ‘to do’ list is to make more use of residual heat when cooking. I know it takes 20 minutes to cook rice or steam veg for example, but by leaving myself more time for meal preparation I can bring things to the boil then turn off with the lid on – vegetables and rice cook in around 45 minutes this way.
  • I’m a baked potato fiend and would happily eat one every day, but in all honesty some rice or boiled potatoes is just as good. So jacket potatoes are reserved for my Sunday treat and the rest of the week I’m using more eco friendly methods of cooking rather than putting the oven on for one potato.
  • This one is my confession – I’ve noticed that twice over the past fortnight I’ve put the immersion heater on for a bath then not had it! I’ve either forgotten and it’s got too late or I’ve ended up busy and in a rush so needed to jump in the shower – I feel very guilty about this one so it has to stop, right?!

What about you – do you need to rethink your electricity consumption habits or do you have any great tips I could use?

1 Comment

  1. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking on September 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Wow you all are such an inspiration!!