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Reduce your energy bills and help the environment

Thursday, 22 October 2009

As it is National Energy Saving Week, we have sent Elizabeth Arnett, environmental scientist with the change campaign, to the O'Brien family's home to teach them how they can make small changes to the amount of energy and water they use, so they can save money and minimise the impact on climate change.

And to help save money while doing you're bit for the environment, Tina Leonard is here to give us tips on how we can save energy in some rooms in our home including the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room and hall.

It is National Energy Saving Week.

Tina Leonard, our consumer expert

You can cut down their carbon footprint by:-
. Reducing the temperature on their washes and also reducing the frequency
. Reducing their water usage by ensuring they have a basis in their sink
. Ensuring the pots cover the whole cooking ring in order to maximize its use
. Ensuring their TV isn't always left on standby
. Ensuring your fridge is needed for use and also that they door isn't left open
. Looking under their sink to see what they need and what they don't need
. Finally Elizabeth outlines what they need to do to make their kitchen more carbon friendly

OWL energy saving monitor and how it works.

The Owl monitor's the home's electricity supply and provides real time monetary information about the household's energy usage. When lights and appliances are turned on, an energy monitor reveals exactly how much electricity is being used, how the cost of electricity changes per hour and how much harmful CO2 emissions the home is producing. By using an energy monitor and simply switching off appliances when not in use, consumers can actually save up to 25% of their electricity usage.

Another way of educating yourself about the amount of energy we use when different appliances are in use is by logging onto and looking at their appliance calculator. You can input various appliances and check how much it is costing to run each appliance.

Tina's Tips for Saving Money and the Environment

The Living Room

* A television in standby mode can use up to as much as half the electricity as when it is switched on, so turn it off when not in use. The same goes for your DVD player and stereo.

* Turn the lights off when leaving a room.
* Use "task" lighting rather than whole room lighting when a small amount of light is required.
* Regularly clean light fittings, reflectors and lampshades.
* Use CFL lights as they use a fraction of the electricity and last up to 10 times longer than ordinary light bulbs.

* Configure your computer to "energy saving" mode in which it will automatically change to the state of low consumption.
* Switching off the screen can save even more than just letting the screen saver run.
* Turning your computer off at night instead of leaving it on will save on average 25% of its annual energy bill. Remember you should turn off your computer whenever you are not going to use it for more than an hour.


* Open fires are wasteful of energy with more than 70% of the energy going up the chimney.
* If the radiator is mounted below a window, a projecting window-board or shelf above the radiator will direct warm air into the room, reducing heat loss through the window.
* Close doors to separate heated from unheated areas of your home


* When buying heaters, make sure that they are the right size for the rooms they are to heat, and that they have thermostatic controls and timers.
* Remember that electric heaters other than storage heaters consume electricity at the most expensive charge rate.

Central Heating:
* Turn off the heating overnight and when you are out during the day.
* Turn off the heating if you are going to be out of the house for more than a day.
* Proper control and regular maintenance of your heating system can reduce fuel consumption by 10-20%
* If you have gas heating, turn-off pilot lights during the warmer months.
* 20 degrees is an ideal room temperature. Turning down thermostats by 1 degree can reduce annual space heating energy consumption by 10% which is about €100 a year.
* Heat bedroom areas to less than 18 degrees.

The Bedroom

Electric Blankets:
* Switch on electric blankets no more than half an hour before you go to bed and switch off just before you get into bed.

*Much of the heat loss from a house occurs through the windows particularly if they are single glazed. Keep curtains closed at night and ensure that the curtains don't hang over the radiators.

The Bathroom

Electric Shower:
* Take a shower rather than a bath. A typical shower uses only one fifth of the energy of a full bath.

Hot water:
* Use the timer on your immersion heater. This should supply you with enough hot water as and when you need it.
* Heating hot water account for 64% of energy consumption in the home: you should be thrifty in its use.
* A lagging jacket on your hot water cylinder will keep water hotter for longer and pay for itself in 2-3 months.

The Hall

* Put a 'snake' inside the front door to stop draughts and get your child to make one for a school project!

Useful websites:
Sustainable Energy Ireland / Power of One
ESB energy calculator -
The Owl Energy Saving Monitor -

Open Fire DVD provided by:

The Irish Peat Fire Co
Tel: 091 565 947