It’s so easy that we have electricity in our homes. Just flip or press a button to turn on lights, run the computer or TV, or turn on the air conditioner.
We realize how convenient electricity is when the power goes out, which happens regularly here in Spain. And currently also in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands because of the flooding, and in the US because of the heat.
Electricity saving tips for our home save money, but also save the environment. This is sorely needed with the escalation of climate change.
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Table of contents
- 1 Electricity saving tips for our home
- 2 Do you have an electricity saving tip?
Electricity saving tips for our home
Some tips don’t cost anything extra, they just require a change in behavior. Although changing behavior is hard enough, of course. But if we are motivated and don’t want too much at the same time, it works fine.
Other tips cost money, so I recommend making a cost-benefit calculation.
When we wanted to order our solar panels, we first took the electricity bills and calculated how long we had to use the panels before we would benefit.
In our case that is 6 years. Since our money in a savings account hardly yields any interest, we think it’s worth it.
I only know the situation in Spain and the Netherlands, but I assume that each country has different electricity rates.
Spain has recently switched to 3 rates. Low on weekends and at night, a mid-range rate at times when energy demand is low, and a high rate when everyone has to cook or have the lights on.
It is very worthwhile to see whether it is not better to switch on devices at a different time to be in a lower rate group.
A smart strip is a strip of outlets with an off/on switch. When you’re not using the appliances and equipment, say at night when you’re asleep, simply turn the smart strip off. You’ll save thousands of watts each year.
I have only recently discovered the smart strip and I am wildly enthusiastic! My mechanical time clock had broken and I happened to see an offer for a smart strip.
Everyday appliances consume energy even when they’re turned off. Microwaves, coffee makers, computers, televisions, the list goes on and on. Rather than let this valuable energy go to waste, we can plug our appliances and electronic equipment into a smart strip.
Related: Review smart strip
An LED lamp is 90% more efficient than an incandescent lamp and consumes 85% less power than a halogen lamp. The bonus is that while these bulbs cost a bit more at the store, they last for years.
Nowadays dishwashers have an ECO program. It takes much longer than the other programs but consumes less energy. If you use automatic drying with your dishwasher, turn it off and let your dishes air dry.
Always make sure that washing with lower temperatures is not at the expense of the machine. Run the program with the highest temperature from time to time.
The water heater uses energy to keep the water hot and ready for those steamy showers. Turn it down a few degrees. Our water will still be good and hot, certainly hot enough for a warm shower, and not too hot to burn ourselves.
When replacing appliances, look for energy star appliances. They conserve energy. Inform yourself whether there are subsidy possibilities for such a purchase.
Embrace passive solar
Passive solar energy is the use of the energy of sunlight without the need for special equipment.
The sun is fantastic for heating and lighting our homes. If your home has a southern exposure you can harness the power of the sun to heat your home in the winter and to provide daylight year-round. Eastern exposures can open the curtains in the morning to heat and light the home and western exposures can open the curtains in the afternoon.
Invest in solar panels
Some countries have great subsidy opportunities for solar panels. In Belgium, there are many panels on the roofs. As well as in the Netherlands.
Unfortunately, Spain is less generous with solar panel subsidies, although the sun shines exuberantly here. For a while, there was even a tax on the energy made by solar panels, which kept people from purchasing them.
As I mentioned before, we calculated whether it was beneficial for us to buy them, even without subsidy and with a bad refund scheme.
As soon as the batteries become more affordable, we want them too, so that we become independent from the electricity company.
Is AC really necessary?
There is now (July 2021) a terrible heatwave in the US that is killing people. Many people could have been spared if they had air conditioning.
Our house also has air conditioning. It can be turned on or off independently in each room. Tom hates air con so he never uses it. I can handle the heat worse than him, so on days when the temperature is above 40C (104F), I turn on the AC for a few hours.
That’s better than leaving it on by default at 25C, which a lot of people do here. That harms your health, your wallet, and the environment.
The laundry is not always dirty
Laundry does not always have to be washed at the highest temperature. Most laundry will get clean even if you use the 30C (86F) or 40C (104F) program.
Just as with the dishwasher, it is good for the washing machine to occasionally run the program with the highest temperature.
Dryer for wet days only
Back in the Netherlands, it rained so often we always used the dryer. The advantage was that the towels were wonderfully soft, the disadvantage was that the textile wore out very quickly.
The house we now live in has a dryer, but we’re glad we rarely have to use it. If it rains, we just wait a day and the laundry can be hung on the drying rack in the sun and the wind.
Combine oven dishes
An oven should always be preheated, so try to combine activities. Tom roasts the almonds and cashews himself in the oven and does so after he has also used the oven for lunch.
Do you have an electricity saving tip?
These electricity saving tips for our home don’t have to require a home overhaul. A few simple steps can save us hundreds of euros or dollars a year and conserve energy and the environment as well.
What is your best tip? Share it with us in the comment box below.