Energy costs us more and more. From 2008 to 2012, the price of electricity for domestic consumption has risen by 60 %. And everything indicates that the trend will continue. Can we do something? Is it possible to save energy (and money) without giving up comfort? Yes. Try following these tips:
1. Improve housing insulation. Half of the energy consumption is due to heating. If you reform the house, install good insulation on the exterior walls (and on the ceilings if it is the last floor) and replace your old windows with double glass windows with low emissivity and PVC frames. Although the investment is somewhat high, it will amortize it in a few years. It will be profitable.
2. Insulate and seal the boxes of the blinds by introducing inside thin sheets of cork, self-adhesive foam, polyester or any other insulating material and sticking them to the walls. It will prevent heat leakage and infiltration of cold air directly from the street (and vice versa in summer).
3. Seal doors and windows. Locate the slits, which are normally found at the bottom of the entrance door and on the contours of the windows, and install gaskets, they are strips of rubber, foam or silicone self-adhesive.
4. Use efficient heating and cooling equipment. If you have electric radiators or electrical resistance convectors, replace them with heat pumps of class A or higher. For each electric kWh consumed they provide 3 or 4 kW / h thermal. If you change the boiler, do it for one of condensation.
5. If you have heating and/or central hot water, propose to the community to install individual meters or estimators of consumption costs. In addition to anticipating a measure that will be mandatory in 2016, the fact that everyone pays for what they consume will make us miraculously more efficient. The neighbour will think about it before opening the windows in winter when it is hot since it will not be the community who pays for it, but he.
6. If you do not have thermostats installed in the house, put thermostatic keys on the radiators. They are economical and allow to regulate the temperature of each room automatically and independently, turning off each radiator when the desired temperature is reached.
7. Install programmable digital thermostats by zones (or programmable thermostatic keys). So you can program different temperatures according to schedules and days, using energy only where and when it is needed. For example, regulating disconnections during the night or if you plan to be out on the weekend. In addition, avoid consumptions by forgetting by manually turning off the heating.
8. Adjust the heating and air conditioning to a suitable temperature. At home, between 19 and 21 ºC in winter and between 24 and 26 ºC in summer. Keep in mind that increasing the temperature of the thermostat by one degree in winter (or reducing it by one degree in summer) can increase consumption by around 7 %.
9. Make the most of the energy of the sun and the outside environment. In summer, open the windows first thing in the morning and late at night so that the outside air refreshes the house and lowers the blinds, runs the curtains or install awnings on the windows located to the south at the central hours of the day. In winter, on the contrary.
10. Acquire appliances of class A or higher, especially in the case of the refrigerator, which spends a lot to stay connected 24 hours. An example: a class A +++ refrigerator consumes around 70% less than a middle-class model.
11. Replace the incandescent and halogen bulbs with LED. It will save between 80 and 90% of electricity consumption in lighting. In addition, the life of the LEDs is much longer (30 times more than the first and 15 times more than the second), the ignition is immediate and they are usually guaranteed.
12. Compare the offers of the energy companies and hire the best rate, as well as compare the rates for your mobile phone. There may be notable differences. There are Internet comparators that facilitate this task.
13. Assess if a rate with time discrimination compensates you. The answer is yes if more than 28% of your electricity consumption takes place from 10 pm to 12 noon the next day (11 pm to 1 pm in wintertime). Keep in mind that you can program many appliances to work during a reduced rate of hours: washing machines, dishwashers, etc.
14. Adjust the contracted electrical power. Reduce it to the minimum necessary value, which you can calculate by adding the powers of all the devices you plan to use simultaneously at the time of greatest consumption. When you perform that calculation, assess whether you really need to use them all at once.
15. Install simple equipment to measure electrical demand. This way you will know your consumption graph throughout the day and you will see the electrical power you need. It will also make an idea of the consumption of each appliance (and may act accordingly) and detect if there are inefficiencies; for example, night consumption due to the connection of devices to the network even if they are not working.
16. Disconnect completely the equipment you are not using. If it does not, they will remain in standby mode, but they will continue to consume energy that, according to the Eurostat agency, can reach 7% of the household’s electricity consumption.
17. Install renewable energy if you can: thermal solar (for hot water, heating and swimming pools), photovoltaic solar (for electricity generation), geothermal (which takes advantage of the subsoil temperature), biomass, wind, etc. They require some initial investment. Consult a professional for advice. Implementing all or some of these measures (many of them free or very cheap) will lead to savings in your home’s energy bill that can easily lead to a cut of more than 30 %.