Save money by using less power

by Marcel 5 July 2012

With electricity costs creeping up to almost 20 cents per kilowatt hour, small changes in your power use can save you hundreds of euros per year. Find out which of your appliances use the most power, and see if you can change the way you use them to save power. To work out how much an applicance costs you per year you can use this (very rough) calculation:

For every watt an appliance uses, double it to find the cost in Euro's per year if it is left on 24hrs a day. For example, near our stairwell is a lamp  that is never switched off for safety reasons. We used to have a 25 watt bulb there costing us 50 euros per year, by replacing this with a 10 euro LED lamp at 2.5 watts our costs have dropped to 5 euro per year.... the LED lamp paid for itself in less than half a year!

The way we've saved on our energy costs is to make changes that don't have much of an impact on our lifestyle...

  • I refuse to pull the plugs on my TV, stereo etc. to save on 'standby power'. 
  • I'm not going to time my showers to shave a minute of my showering time.
  • I will not follow the kids around the house switching off the lights.

A few small things that have made a noticable difference in our energy use (we're saving about 20-25% since I began this project)

  • Shutting the PC down instead of putting it into sleep mode saved about 80 watts of continual use.
  • Getting a cheap fridge thermometer allowed us to adjust the temperatue setting to the perfect temp. (don't forget the freezer)
  • Switching to LED lighting, with normal use (about 4 hours a day) a cheap LED light will pay for itself within a year.
  • Moving important file sharing tasks to the NAS instead of using a desktop computer. (and schedule the NAS to sleep at night)

Another important thing is to know what your electricity use is! It's no use trying to save electricity with an appliance that uses very little power, start with a simple meter and test your applicances to know what their use is. (I use a Belkin energy meter)

By using a meter I found that my TV used less than 1 watt in standby mode, for me their is no point in trying to fix this, but I did find that my desktop PC was using 80 watts while sleeping... that's 160 euro per year, more than a tenner per month! By measuring your electricity use you can get a better picture of what your costly appliances are and make changes...

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