Simply using less energy

This is all common sense and I hope I’m not insulting people’s intelligence here by stating the obvious, like remembering to turn off lights and appliances when you’re not using them. Turning them off at the plug, not leaving them on standby –  they still go on using electricity on standby. The amount over a few hours is small, but if you leave stuff on standby all the time, it’ll be significant enough that when you stop doing it, you’ll notice a reduction in your electricity bill (unless the cost of electricity has gone up in the meantime).

If like most people you have central heating, you can be warm at a thermostat setting of 18 for rooms and spaces you don’t spend much time in, and about 21 for the room you’re in most of the time. If you have the thermostat higher, you’ll use more energy to heat the house more than you actually need to be comfortable. If like me you don’t have central heating, you can get little card-mounted digital thermometers that you can use to see what your room temperature is. I don’t know if they’ve still got any, but I got mine from Hebden Bridge Alternative Technology Centre (ATC). They were free. But Energy Saving Trust- approved ones are available online for £2.49 if there aren’t any left at the ATC.

Other boring reminders: boil as much water as you need, rather than the whole kettle full. Put lids on saucepans – food cooks quicker that way. Set the burner or hob to the amount of heat that gives you the right temperature for boiling or simmering or whatever you need – not some raging mini-inferno in your pan. Enough home economics already. Oh – wash at the lowest possible temperature and the shortest cycle that gives a clean wash. Weather permitting, dry clothes on the line outside rather than in a tumble dryer. etc etc.

All those vaguely annoying things that your parents probably used to say, if they were anything like mine – like “shut the door” and “turn out the light” and “put on a sweater” and “turn off that damned radio before you go out” and “you’ve got legs, why don’t you use them?” – are ways of using a bit less energy (including petrol or diesel for the car) while still staying warm and comfortable.

And on the topic of cars, there’s a new ride share group here with no members yet. You could make its day and sign up. Then someone else might too. Before you know it, we could be using less energy for personal transport. Well, the chance would be a fine thing.

These ways of using less energy apply at work too. A lot of offices leave things running overnight that don’t need to be on. Some computers need to stay on overnight for updates, but monitors don’t need to be on, or printers. Turn stuff off before you go home!

That’s it!


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