By taking small steps, you can save energy and money while helping to protect the environment.
70% of the energy used by households in the EU is spent on heating homes and another 14% on heating water.
- Turn down the heat. Reducing the temperature by just 1°C less can cut 5-10% off your family's energy bill and save as much CO2 as you would emit on a 1 600 km road trip.
- Programme your thermostat. Set the temperature lower at night and when you're out of the house. This can reduce your heating bill by 7-15%.
- Don't overheat your water. There is no need to set your water heater at a temperature higher than 60°C.
Heat loss through walls, roof and floor commonly accounts for over 50% of overall space heat loss.
- Install double-glazed windows. This can cut heat energy lost through windows by 50-70%.
- Insulate your home. Insulate hot water tanks, central‑heating pipes and wall cavities. Fit aluminium foil on the wall behind your radiators.
- Buy efficient appliances. Choose a refrigerator, washing machine or other household appliance with an A+++ label. But even two A+++ graded appliances can consume different amounts of energy, so don't forget to compare!
- Keep cool with a fan. Fans use much less energy than air conditioners.
Switch off & unplug
- Switch off the lights. Switching off 5 lights in hallways and rooms in your house when you don't need them can save €60 and avoid 400kg of CO2 emissions.
- Turn devices off. Use the 'on/off' function on the device itself. A TV set switched on for 3 hours a day and left on standby for the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.
- Use a single multi-socket power strip for your electronics. When not using them, simply switch off the strip and save 10% power.
- Unplug your mobile charger. Even when it is not connected to the phone, it is still draining electricity.
- Unplug everything before going on holiday. If devices are still plugged in, they continue to use up energy - even when switched off.
In the kitchen
- Don't place a refrigerator or freezer near your boiler. Next to a heat source they consume much more energy than standing on their own.
- Defrost old refrigerators and freezers regularly or replace them with newer models, which all have automatic defrost cycles.
- Set the temperature of your refrigerator between 1 – 4 °C. A freezer should be set at -18°C. For every degree lower, you increase energy consumption by around 5% – without making any difference as to how well the food is preserved.
- Dust your refrigerator. Dusty coils can waste as much as 30% extra electricity.
- Don't put hot food in the fridge. Save energy by letting it cool down first.
- Fill up your freezer. It requires less energy to cool a full freezer than an empty one. If it's not full, add some plastic bottles filled with water or even old newspapers.
- Bake in one go. Make the most use of a hot oven. Baking a quiche? Why not bake an apple pie as well? You will halve your gas or electricity consumption.
- Cover your pots while cooking and you will use lessenergy.
- Cut vegetables into small pieces. This reduces the cooking time.
- Boil water in the kettle first rather than on the hob when boiling or steaming vegetables.
In the bathroom
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. This can save several litres of water.
- Take a shower instead of a bath. This uses up to 4 times less energy. To maximise the energy savings, use a low-flow showerhead.
- Check your toilet for leaks. A leaking toilet can waste 200 litres of water per day − the same as flushing it 50 times.
- Fill up your washing machine and dishwasher. If you need to use them when half full, use the half-load or economy setting.
- Choose a low temperature. Nowadays detergents are so efficient that they get your clothes and dishes clean at low temperatures.
- Avoid the pre-wash cycle. Modern washing machines allow you to bypass this cycle, cutting energy consumption by 15%.
- Avoid using a tumble dryer. Each drying cycle produces over 3 kg of CO2 emissions. Drying your clothes naturally is not only good for the environment, it also makes them last longer.
- Iron your clothes in one batch. You will save the energy required to heat up the iron each time you want to use it.
And for extra credit…
- Switch to green electricity. Power from wind, hydro, wood, biogas, and solar produces less greenhouse gas emissions. Also think about fitting solar panels on the roof of your home.
- Plant a tree. One tree of average size absorbs about 6 kg of CO2 per year, so over 40 years it soaks up about 250 kg of CO2.
- Compost! Start a compost heap for your organic waste, and encourage neighbours to do the same. Compost is a natural fertiliser and can increase the soil's ability to retain water and air.
- Remove your name from commercial mailing lists. This can save many trees and a lot of water each year. You can also put a "no ads" sign on your mailbox.
- Pay your bills online. Eliminate your paper trail as well as the energy needed to transport bills by post.
- Share pictures rather than print them. Archive digital photos on a computer and share them using social networks.