A lot has been written lately about ways to save energy in your home, given the current economic climate and rising fuel inflation rate.
We’ve put together a quick resource guide to give you an overview of the latest developments, hacks and resources available here in Ireland to help you take the first steps towards a more energy-efficient home.
But first! Here is a list of some good resources in Ireland and beyond to help you get there.
Energy Saving Resources in Ireland
Reduce Your Use campaign
The government of Ireland has taken a multi-prong approach to help us all cope with the recent challenges - their Reduce Your USE page.
Sustainable Energy Authority Of Ireland Advice
The SEAI has a wide-ranging and specific list of energy-saving tips and hacks specially created for Irish consumers on their Reduce Your Use at Home page. There, you will find advice focused on the main energy-using areas of your home.
Their valuable resource is divided into categories such as Heating, Appliances, Travel and Driving. You can even download a helpful booklet.
SEAI Energy Grants
Looking for grants to improve the energy efficiency of your home? Head to the SEAI HomeEnergy Upgrade Schemes on offer.
Keep an Eye on New Products
Every year new affordable products do come on stream. So it is worth keeping an eye out for these innovations.
- One of the simplest and easiest things you can do is convert to LED lighting. Did you know LEDs consume 80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs? Start with the lights you use most frequently when prioritising replacements
- In addition, dimmers, timers, and movement sensors attached to your lighting systems will also help you optimise energy use. Not a second will be wasted unnecessarily lighting a space in your home
- Be sure to match the correct wattage bulb to the appliance, so there is sufficient energy used for low-key areas like ambient lighting
- If embarking on a retrofit, renovation or new build: invest in more skylights in your hall areas and the busiest parts of your home, like task areas in your kitchen and den. You will reap back the costs of all that glazing, especially during the day or summer when you’ll find yourself using natural light and rarely flipping that light switch
Beware Phantom Power-sucks in Digital Devices
This is a growing topic in our current decade of remote working, with multiple electronic devices and charge points being used in the home.
Home appliances, chargers and devices can still draw power when plugged in or on standby. There is an opportunity to reduce energy usage by 10% by minimising these instances.
- You can now plug in your group devices and plug them together into power bars with timers, so they shut off automatically at the right time. So, for example, you could set your home entertainment system to shut down automatically when everyone is at work or in bed
- You could set timers to save even more money, so devices are charged at night
- Don’t forget to unplug your mobile phone/ laptop/ console or tablet chargers once your devices are charged. Did you know up to 50% of the electricity they draw is lost as heat?
- It also makes sense to unplug hair dryers, curling tongs, electric brushes or electric shavers when not in use. Apart from being a Key Health and safety issue, you’ll also save energy
- Screensavers can eat up energy too. So opt for Sleep mode instead on your digital devices
As each new range of appliances comes into the market - there are opportunities for us to save more money. Nevertheless - how we use them can make a difference to our long-term energy bills.
Generally speaking, keeping our appliances dust-free and cleaning relevant filters regularly will help. Here are some other tips:
- Overcrowding can also be a power suck in your fridge - it reduces the airflow and efficiency of your fridge. Don’t forget to leave at least 5-7 cm between the wall and fridge for air to circulate. Check that your fridge is airtight, and invest in an extra seal if necessary. Overheating is also hard on fridges & freezers, so place them in an excellent spot, away from direct sunlight, the stove and the dishwasher
- Baking aside, you can skip preheating your oven if it’s just a simple reheating. Instead, recycle excess heat in your oven to proof baking or keep other dishes warm.
- Appliance life-span matters - most appliances grow less efficient after a decade, and new models will have bio settings or sensors that help optimise energy efficiency
Don’t Get into Unnecessary Hot Water
- Never use something when it's half empty if you can hang on until it is full. Use your washing machine, dryer and dishwasher to capacity, but don’t overload them.
- Air dry both dishes and clothes where possible. Invest in a Clothes Dryer that can be suspended from the ceiling to save on space.
- Invest in detergents that work well in cold water and choose cold water settings in newer models when possible. A higher-speed spin cycle will also cut down on time.
- How you use your shower could help. Showers consume less hot water than baths, anyway. So aim for an energy-efficient showerhead with features such as spray adjustments, pattern and coverage, forcefulness, quiet operation, and ease of cleaning.
We have also listed some of the newest energy-saving products and devices that you can install right now to get the most from your home heating systems in this blog:
Energy Saving Products & Smart Devices That Help Reduce Home Heating Costs.
Pay Attention to Insulation
Aim for better thermal efficiency in your home by checking for ways to prevent leaks and increase insulation.
Secure Windows and Doors from Drafts
On a very basic level, keep your windows and doors in good condition. Start checking for air leaks in existing windows and, if necessary, caulk and weatherstrip them.
- You can add window coverings and solar window film, storm windows or panels
- There are some simple steps and DIY jobs you can do now around the house as winter approaches. We list them in our blog: How To Get Your Home Ready For Cold Weather.
Mother Nature & Insulation
Research shows that vegetation and a greener environment around your home do more than just relieve stress; they improve air quality and well-being. Planting and the abundance of trees will also enhance the microclimate around your home.
- Planting trees near your home will also keep your house warmer in the winter, as it improves humidity and shelters your home from wind and other elements
- In the summer, you can add shading in the form of awnings to help further reduce cooling costs. There’s a lot to be said for letting Nature play its part by keeping a healthy green environment filled with trees and shade on your property
We’ve put together a handy guide on Ways to Win with Home Insulation and The Retrofit Scheme for larger retrofit projects. Now that the Irish government has approved a variety of supports to make home energy upgrades more affordable, this could be the year you finally retrofit and insulate your home. Read on for practical steps you can take now.
There’s even more Energy Saving Advice at Homevalue.
Don’t forget to check our other recent blogs, which look at home heating and energy saving from various angles.
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