A theme in most households today is seeking ways to reduce energy bills. With rising energy costs, and a barrage of promotion towards achieving greater efficiency, many of us are on the hunt for ways to decrease our energy consumption and save money. Here are a few ideas on how you might achieve this, starting with some smaller initiatives you can consider at home.
Fostering energy-saving habits by everyone at home can have a dramatic effect. Simple acts like turning off lights when leaving a room, unplugging devices that aren’t in use, and using appliances during off-peak hours can cumulatively lead to notable reductions in your energy bills. Encourage everyone to play their part.
There are a range of smart thermostats on the market now that can be programmed to adjust the temperature of your home automatically, ensuring that you’re not overusing your heating. Some can even learn your habits and adjust the temperature accordingly, and most can be controlled remotely using smartphone apps.
Heating water is a significant expense in most households. Turning down the temperature of your hot water a few degrees can result in noticeable savings. Alternatively, explore on-demand or tankless water heaters. These can be more energy-efficient as they only heat water when required, as opposed to maintaining a tank of hot water constantly.
A significant way to lower energy costs is to switch to energy-efficient appliances. Appliances like fridges, washing machines, and dryers consume a significant portion of our home’s energy. Newer models are designed to use less power for the same functionality. The initial investment might be higher, but the long-term savings are well worth it. When shopping for a new appliance, make energy efficiency your number one requirement. Another relatively easy switch is changing out old incandescent light bulbs for LED lights. They consume a fraction of the electricity and last significantly longer. Plus, with advancements in technology, their costs have come down, making them much more affordable.
On top of these smaller initiatives, you can also consider some more significant initiatives that will involve some upfront investment, with the aim of significant savings over the medium to longer term.
If you’re serious about cutting costs, consider getting an energy assessment completed, which is a detailed report on the energy efficiency of your home. These assessments are part-funded by a grant from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Professionals evaluate your home and provide you with specific recommendations for improving energy efficiency, potentially uncovering issues you weren’t even aware of. The assessment sets out a roadmap for you to significantly increase the Building Energy Rating (BER) of your home.
This is where you decide (with the help of professionals) the energy saving initiatives to implement. Everything from re-insulating your house, new windows, wrapping the house, heat pumps, a new heating system and solar panels will be up for consideration among other initiatives. Some of these will attract further grants too.
The journey to reducing your energy bills can be as simple or as involved as you wish it to be. Whether you’re making small changes like swapping out light bulbs, or bigger commitments like installing solar panels, every step will not only benefit your wallet, but will also contribute to the health of our planet.
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