By taking small steps, you can contribute to the global climate change effort - and save money on your energy and heating bills! Learn how easy it is with these simple tips.
- Turn down the heat. Reducing the temperature by just 1°C can cut 5-10% off your family's energy bill and avoid up to 300kg of CO2 emissions per household and year.
- Programme your thermostat so that at night or while you are out of the house, the temperature is set low and by the time you wake up or return home, the temperature is comfortable again. This can reduce your heating bill by 7-15%.
- Replace your old single-glazed windows with double-glazing. This requires a bit of upfront investment, but will halve the energy lost through windows and pay off in the long term. If you go for the best the market has to offer (wooden-framed double-glazed units with low-emission glass and filled with argon gas), you can even save more than 70% of the energy lost.
- Don't let heat escape from your house over a long period. When airing your house, open the windows for only a few minutes. If you leave a small opening all day long, the energy needed to keep it warm inside during six cold months (10°C or less outside temperature) would result in almost 1 tonne of CO2 emissions.
- Install good home insulation, one of the most effective ways to reduce CO2 emissions and to save energy in the long term. Heat loss through walls, roof and floor commonly accounts for over 50% of overall space heat loss. Insulate your hot water tanks, the pipes of your central heating as well as your wall cavities and fit aluminium foil behind your radiators.
- Move your fridge and freezer - placing them next to the cooker or boiler consumes much more energy than if they were standing on their own. For example, if you put them in a hot cellar room where the room temperature is 30-35°C, energy use is almost double and causes an extra 160kg of CO2 emissions for fridges per year and 320kg for freezers.
Reducing the temperature by just 1°C can cut 5-10% off your family's energy bill and avoid up to 300kg of CO2 emissions per household and year.
- Defrost old fridges and freezers regularly. Even better is to replace them with newer models, which all have automatic defrost cycles and are generally up to two times more energy-efficient than their predecessors. When buying new appliances (not only fridges, but also washing machines, dishwashers, etc.), choose those with the European Grade A+ label, meaning that it's very efficient - but also compare the energy consumption among A+ graded appliances since it can vary.
- Be careful which settings you use - if you set your fridge on its coolest setting, you will not only consume more energy; your food will not keep fresh as long since it might be spoilt through freezing.
- Avoid putting hot or warm food in the fridge. You save energy by letting it cool down first before placing it in the fridge.
- Check if your water's too hot. Your cylinder thermostat doesn't need to be set higher than 60°C. The same goes for the boiler of your central heating. Remember, 70% of the energy used by households in the EU is spent on heating homes and another 14% on heating water.
- Human activity generates six gigatonnes of carbon dioxide per year, while the Earth can recycle only three gigatonnes. The rest accumulates each year in the atmosphere, thus reinforcing the greenhouse effect. Remember to save energy!
- Fill up that freezer!
Help it consume less energy by keeping it full. It requires less energy to cool a full freezer than an empty one. Should you not have filled it, add some plastic bottles filled with water or even old newspapers – until you need the space!
- Clean the dusty coils behind your refrigerator to help disperse the heat to increase the energy efficiency of the refrigerator. Dusty coils can waste as much as 30 % extra electricity!
- The recommended temperature for a refrigerator is between 1 – 4 °C and for the freezer it should be set at -18 °C. Each degree below these temperatures makes no difference as to how well the food is preserved, but it does increase energy consumption by approximately five per cent. Place a thermometer in the refrigerator and the freezer to check the temperature!
- Defrost your food by taking it out of the freezer the night before and placing it in the refrigerator or simply leaving it out on the counter. Avoid defrosting in the microwave and adding to your electricity bill!
- Don't use the pre-wash cycle on your washing machine.
Modern washing machines allow you to bypass this cycle, saving 15 % of the energy that would otherwise be used.
- Bake in one go!
When baking a quiche, why not profit from an already heated oven and place your apple pie in it as well? You will save 50 % on your gas or electricity consumption!
- Switch the stove or oven off a few minutes before your food is ready and make use of the residual heat to finish cooking.
- To save on energy when cooking, cut up your veggies into small pieces to reduce the cooking time. When boiling or steaming vegetables, boil the water in the kettle first – rather than on the hob, and use only as much water as is necessary.
- Iron your clothes in one batch, rather than one item at a time. You will save the energy required to heat up the iron each time you want to use it.
- Switch to LED flashlights.
With a lifespan of almost 100 000 hours, this lamp will serve you for dozens of years without producing any waste or pollution!
- In the office, switch from the old computer monitor to a more energy-efficient LCD screen. If you're using your screen up to eight hours a day, you can save up to 100 000 W in one year.
Know your average energy consumption and CO2 emissions for your household appliances.
Try our Carbon Calculator to see how you can make a difference and make a pledge.