Please can the community of Pure Planet hit me with your best energy saving tips! We barely use gas, so looking at tackling the amount of electric we use really. Any tips and advice are greatly received. Many thanks :)
03-07-19, 07:56Bobinogs75Ways to save electric
Apart from the obvious TURN IT OFF there are a whole host of tips here are 5 of mine.
Lower energy light bulbs.
Put timers on things so they turn off overnight when not needed.
Plan meals so everything is cooked in oven, no rings required.
Half fill kettle.
Switch off PCs, laptop PSUs and monitors at the wall socket when you're not using them.
If you have a very large TV, don't leave it on for long periods when you're not in the room. In standby it uses zilch.
Replace as many bulbs as you can with LED, but get ones with a 2700 colour temp if you don't want to feel like you're living in a dental surgery.
Buy more crockery & cutlery and run the dishwasher every other day.
Get a Geo Minim+ monitor and see what you're using, although only versions that "watch" the LED on your meter are accurate at low power consumption. It's the quiescent consumption ticking over 24 hours a day that adds up over the year!
Use the quick washes on the washing machine, Bobbins. Most offer a 14minute, 30 minute, or 59 minute quickie depending on load size. All great. As long as you put Vanish Gold in the drawer, it’ll wash equally as good as a 60 👏👍
03-07-19, 17:46David j
Same here Bev, I use eco wash & quick wash settings as clothes, generally speaking, don’t get really soiled these days. 👍👍
Great tips.. thank you! I don't have a dishwasher, so might skip on the buying more Crockery/Cutlery though ;)
Don’t leave it switched on/ plugged-in even if it’s only on standby unless you really need it. It may not be many watts but it’s not many watts for 24 hours 365 days, it soon mounts up.
A few more of my thoughts, which mostly relate to IT stuff in the home.
Something using 6W uses a unit of electricity, 1kWh, per week. Wi-fi routers typically use that amount.
We have a cheap crap microwave that uses this much in standby, so using it as a kitchen clock costs us 52kWhr per year. That's 1/70th of our total consumption, so too little to warrant the hassle of turning it on and off. But when it's replaced, I'll be checking standby power of potential replacements.
I'm unfortunately living in a cottage with thick walls so have to use 4 powerline sockets and 3 BT wifi discs in addition to the router to get everything connected. The BT discs are 7W. I could put them on timeswitches to go off at night, but we are a bit random and sometimes do work at 3am!
The powerline plugs have an auto standby feature that drops consumption from 5W to 0.5W when there's no network activity. But it took me a long time digging deep into my TV's menus to find out how to stop the TV pinging the ethernet when it was in standby, thus preventing the powerline socket from powering down.
Our cottage is rented and has an ancient burglar alarm with power hungry PIRs - I would turn it off but it would start dialling its control centre and we'd get earache from the landlord. If we owned the place it would be ripped out on day 1 and replaced with a modern energy efficient system.
So there's a balance between the convenience of getting on with life vs reducing consumption. But ironically, after sorting lightbulbs, you make the most gains by addressing these low power 24/7 consumption devices.
Initially I bought some dumb old fashion timer switches but soon realised they have limited application.
I discovered affordable smart switches from Sonoff (@£3.80), wired them to short single and double gang extensions leads (@1.90 from cpc), plus some 4 gangs for use in the kids bedrooms. Downloaded the ewelink app, paired switches with a more secure SSID WiFi network and programmed the switches on/off times and frequencies in the app on my iPad. They’re the bees knees as far as I’m concerned: all devices in my kids rooms are controlled by 4-gang extension leads with smart switches that switches everything off when they leave the house for school, turn back on when they get home and off again when they go to bed, and on before they wake up. A separate temperature switch controls the fan in their rooms, so they can stay on while they fall asleep and turn off when the temp in the room has reached a cool enough temperature. The only time this system needs adjusting is during holidays/inset days, or when they’re ill. Both my wife and I charge our phones in the bedroom overnight, and the chargers are plugged into an extension lead with a switch that’s off between 7am and 11pm.
I have Alexa dots so activated the EWeLink skill to voice control every switch or set up a routine in Alexa, or via ifttt.com to automate some switches based on external triggers: A corner light comes on at sunset and turns off at 11pm.. My son loves showing off how he can voice control the fan and lights in his room 🤗
Apart from the basic switches (£3.80) I have temperature ones (£10) for the fans in the kids bedrooms and power monitor switches (£10) hooked up to large devices such as dishwasher, outdoor pool pump, washing machine and oven, which allow me to track energy consumption of these devices over time. Last year I left the pool pump running entire days; now the pump only runs 4 hours a day; long enough to pump the entire pool volume based on its stated hourly throughput, so a massive reduction
Worth pointing out that this only works when every member of the household has similar levels of tolerance for technology, and that everyone is willing to embrace the new tech. For instance I got my youngest to colour code his movements in a 24 hour chart and showed him that the switches in his room would only be off when he’s away or not awake, and I consulted my eldest explaining what I am doing and how she could control it herself on her phone and I’d make changes if it affected her. (My wife on the other hand is not a fan at all...)
I also invested in two multi usb charging hubs and charge all devices from them to reduce the no of USB chargers permanently connected to the mains. All my kids’ portable devices are charged overnight from the hubs in the dining room, so there are no stray chargers left plugged in and no temptation for my kids to be on their devices when they should be sleeping..
I have a tv plus set top box/amp/game console/ethernet hub and bought a power strip energy saver that automatically cuts the power to all devices when the tv is turned off. Works a treat.
My router has a feature to switch off transmitting, so between 2 and 7am it’s in power-saving mode. (I can’t turn it off completely because rebooting the router messes with my voip phone system’s internet connection.)
I basically audited every mains-connected device and considered whether it would benefit from having a switch and if there is a fixed routine/periods during the day when they are not needed.
All appliances I buy are AAA+ energy rated, and I also have a pulley maid ceiling dryer to dry washing. I pour water in the tea mugs first and then in the kettle so only boil what’s needed and not overfill. Next experiment is to see if I can reduce use of the oven - mainly for Saturday pizzas and Sunday roasts. I’m interested seeing if a pressure cooker can be used to cook Sunday meals more efficiently; maybe time for a revival?
As others already pointed out led lights are the way to go. Funny story: In the utility room we have 6 4W downlighters, and my wife likes to have them on even if she has no plan to go there during the evening. It drives me crazy, so I am minded to put in to replace the wall switch with a PIR switch so they only go on when someone is in the utility room... 😂😂😂. The only thing I haven’t cracked is the chandelier in the sitting room; I haven’t found dimmable warm light led bulbs that have the right temperature light. I tried a number of different bulbs but no luck so far. And that’s 5*18W - so I’d welcome any suggestions from anyone who has found warm light led replacements for dimmable B35 E14 Candle (Small Edisson Screw). I must’ve been unlucky but bought 3 different bands and they were all advertised as being warm / 2700k but they all emitted cold/blue light so haven’t completed this task yet.
Wow @DutchCaerleon that's a cracking post.
This line made me laugh out loud
Worth pointing out that this only works when every member of the household has similar levels of tolerance for technology, and that everyone is willing to embrace the new tech. For instance I got my youngest to colour code his movements in a 24 hour chart and showed him that the switches in his room would only be off when he’s away or not awake
Terrific stuff :up:
There is a bigger issue here and one we are looking at addressing in our local hospice. In many households there is only one who is the technophobe. If he or show dies, or becomes incapable of functioning properly, his or her partner is in trouble. Currently I have all my lights operated via Philips Hue (except where there is not a compatible bulb), devices controlled using Elgato Eve power sockets, heating controlled via Honeywell’s Evohome. That means three separate apps each with routines configured. Then there is HomeKit, another app. Plus of course talking to Siri. Homekit can integrate Hue and Eve but not Evohome. Of course the PP app is also a separate one! The none technical “survivor” could well have issues, could panic about it all and not use the system to its full advantage. The market needs a simple all embracing app that can integrate all systems and make it easy to operate. In the meantime we are looking at how we can have a bank of volunteers to call on when people have issues because perhaps they or their loved one is not there to assist. The gadget freaks should not forget the gadget illiterates.
@DutchCaerleon it would be interesting to know your consumption stats before and after your project!
I agree on the accessibility of tech to all in the home, which is why I don't bother much. Even a programmable thermostat for the heating can take a while to get used to if you need to use features like the "day off" button on a weekday. I know someone with Hive who hates it and feels it controls them!
I realised that any technology adoption is a mini change management project, and you have to appreciate that people deal with change differently. I remember getting one of those programmable remote controls in the nineties, and the person I was didn’t really get on with that whilst at the same time complaining about the number of remote controls we had (tv, settop box, DVD player, media centre, amp ☺️).
I think that there won’t be a massive saving - only 3 months to go before I complete my first year with PP, and the red trend line of my electricity consumption is heading for the same annual consumption as last year. (I’ve attached my chart where the dots to the right signify last year’s consumption.)544AEEEF-272C-4E01-B20B-F3751F52D140.jpeg/a>
Many of the switches have also brought convenience and automation of repetitive manual tasks (not having to turn off multiple AV devices, walking round the house to turn switches off), and the energy monitoring switches satisfy my curiosity and help decide if it’s worth moving to an energy provider that charges customers on half hourly changes to the wholesale electricity price - and so I can assess what devices I can feasibly time shift to when consumers could pay a lower price under an agile pricing system.
I did a bit of research before purchasing and installing my smart thermostat last November and decided to go for Tado because of its intelligent system design, geolocation function, price, api etc.
It just works and you can see for yourself from the blue line in the graph that I am heading for >25% savings compared to last year (Note: not corrected for outdoor temperature variations). It knows when you’re at home and when you’re out, so you don’t need to override a rigid schedule setting manually. The biggest concern I had was acceptance from my family, but it went fairly smoothly because they can ask Alexa to boost the temperature, use the app on their phone and visitors can manually use the wall thermostat.
You are absolutely right that all this technology is really only for people willing and able to rise to the challenge of learning new tricks. All of my switches are removable so if I pop my clogs early they can be easily removed. I deliberately didn’t integrate these switches into the devices so they can be removed without affecting the basic functionality. The Tado can be removed, and a time clock can be inserted back into the boiler unit if needed.
The alternatives are to make sure enough people are familiar with the system to work it out, put instruction manuals all in one place or write a set of instructions as if for a housesitter when you go away and someone looks after your home...
As someone who worked in the electronics industry - I doubt the market would ever develop an all embracing system as you described. Phone makers can not settle on a single charging method. Apple also doesn’t adhere to existing industry standards such as Bluetooth or NFC. It’s difficult to get companies to agree on these standards which would be required for your suggestion to work, but interoperability with products or services made by competitors and third parties is not always considered advantageous if you have a product range and services to sell. There is definitely a gap in the market, and it’ll be open source community initiatives such as openhab or home assistant that may fill the void, but that often comes with trade-offs, such as limited traditional customer support, and more community-based support networks.. And importantly it requires manufacturers to ensure their technology is designed with interoperability in mind, so Tado for instance has an api, but I recall seeing somewhere one of the other systems just decided to kill off its api, and by doing so limiting options for further system integration.