June 5, 2006
The EU Climate Change campaign: TURN DOWN
1. You can save a lot of energy and money if you don't overheat your home. 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.
2. You can cost-effectively lower the amount of energy you use to heat your home by programming 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%.
3. Think about replacing 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.
4. When airing your house, open the windows for a few minutes instead of letting the heat escape over a long period. 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.
5. Good home insulation is 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.
6. Remember that it matters where you put your fridge and freezer - placing them next to the cooker or boiler consumes much more energy than it would 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.
7. If you have an old fridge or fridge freezer, defrost them 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.
8. 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.
9. It makes sense to avoid putting hot or warm food in the fridge. You save energy by letting it cool down first before placing it in the fridge.
10. You might want to 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.
You might find that certain measures you take result in greater or smaller benefits for the climate system (and your purse). All the data used is based on averages, but the energy consumption of household appliances, the fuel consumption of cars, the size of homes varies greatly, and so do energy use patterns and even electricity prices in the EU.
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