People often ask me whether you can really make meaningful energy savings at home. I had been pursuing efficiency at home in a hap hazard way for some years by gradually replacing old technology light bulbs with newer technology and replacing failed domestic appliance with A rated versions, walking round switching lights others have left on and so on. However, I never sat down and did the maths.
It was raining this Sunday morning so I dug out some old electricity bills. I had paper ones from 2009 and 2010 and on-line bills for the most recent 18 months (why does Electric Ireland only let to me access the last 18 months of bills – crazy). I then drew some graphs in Excel and put the trend lines in. My family’s daily consumption was around 30 kWh/day in 2009 and has fallen to 16 kWh/day by mid-2014. A huge fall and beats the public sector target by a large margin.
Not only was it a huge fall, but despite the tariff (c/kWh) rising steeply (effective tariff in 2009 around 16.7 c/kWh rising to 22.4 c/kWh in mid-2014, the daily cost in €/day has actually fallen.
So what was the reason for this significant fall? All three children had left home by 2009 so occupancy was constant during that period. The significant actions since the start of 2009 were
- Replacing most lamps by CFTs (except the kitchen, but see below)
- First, reducing the wattage of halogen lamps in kitchen from 50W to 35W, then replacing by CFTs (bad move due to poor life), then replacing by LEDs.
- Installing light sensor in shed
- Drinking red wine instead of white (don’t need to chill red wine)
- Replacing outside halogen lamps with CFTs
- Not replacing wall mounted electric fan heater in shower room when it failed
- Washing clothes at 40C and using the quick wash cycle
- Running dishwasher on ‘eco’ setting (takes longer but temperature is lower)
- Using laptops instead of desk PCs with CRT monitors
So if you met someone who is complaining about the cost of electricity and rising tariffs, suggest that they just take a few simple steps. Most of these had no cost, for others the cost was trivial.