Appliances are an expensive but necessary investment for your home. Not only do you have to pay for the appliances initially, you must pay to run them too. However, if you use your appliances smartly, you can reduce not only your energy bill but also your carbon footprint. Read on for some handy tips from our founder, Scott Wells on managing five of the most energy-intensive appliances in your home:
Reducing the cost of running your washing machine starts with making sure not to overload it or wasting a cycle by not filling it enough. In both cases, more electricity will be needed to run the machine. One full capacity load generally uses less energy than two half capacity loads, so try and wait until you can fill your machine to capacity. Overloading will mean your machine has to work harder and clothes are just not clean enough, most likely calling for another wash.
When washing, make sure to choose the right program for the load so that you only use as much power and water as necessary. Washing on the cold cycle will help to reduce your energy bill as the water will not have to be heated up. With the right detergent, using this cycle will not impact on cleaning performance and will cost less per load. Use the highest speed spin cycle as more water removed means less power needed by the dryer. Be careful to not do this on delicate items though.
If you’re buying a new washing machine, look for one that has high energy efficiency ratings and higher spin speeds. Typically, front-loaders use less power, water and detergent than top loaders.
Try to use the dryer only when necessary and when you do use it, avoid overloading. On days that aren’t too rainy or windy, hang your clothes out on the clothesline. On warmer, sunny days your clothes should dry in about the same time as your dryer would. Try and do your washing in the morning and hang it out early to maximise how much sunshine they will get. If by the evening they are still damp, then you can put it in the dryer. But it would be for far less time than if you had put it straight in there, and therefore less money is spent on energy. On rainy days, you could use a clothes rack inside the house to dry your clothes. In winter you could put the clothes rack in front of the heater or fire.
When buying a dryer, compare energy ratings to help you identify the most efficient one.
To save money on your fridge ensure it is sealed properly, and keep it fully stocked, but not overfull. Fuller fridges have higher thermal mass, so keeping it well stocked means your fridge’s compressor won’t cycle as often and will reduce your energy use. Also, make sure that you do not leave the fridge open for too long. The cold will pour out of the fridge and the longer the door is open, the longer it will take to get the fridge back to its optimal temperature which means that more electricity will be used.
When buying a fridge, choose one with a high energy efficiency rating. It may have a higher price tag, but it will cost you less to run in the long-term.
Dishwashers will not only save you from the labour of washing things yourself, they’re also more energy and water efficient than hand washing. Wait until your dishwasher is full before turning it on to maximise your savings. Also, try using it in eco-mode with a good quality dishwasher detergent as you may find it cleans just as well while using less energy.
An easy way to save on energy from your television is to run it only when actively watching a show. Do not leave it on all day. If it is on for background noise, use the radio instead. It uses much less power. Switching it off via the remote does reduce power consumption but having the red power light on means that some energy is still being used. To further reduce the energy consumption, turn it off at the wall. Your AV equipment is also consuming energy while you’re not using it so make sure to turn off your DVD player, speaker etc. to maximise savings.
When buying a television, check its energy efficiency rating and use them to compare televisions. Older televisions use much more power and the bigger the screen, the more energy it’ll need.
Appliances are energy-hungry and will consume endlessly if you let them. If you are smart about how you use your appliances, then you will see a decrease in your energy bill and you will also be limiting the greenhouse emissions produced by your home. Follow these tips and both your wallet and the planet will thank you for it.
The decisions we make at work can affect our careers, but have you ever thought about how your office behaviours affect the environment? Businesses can easily cut down on their energy consumption if everyone is willing to work together. It doesn’t have to take much effort, but the benefits financially and for the environment are well worth the changes. Elysian Energy founder Scott Wells shares his best tips on simple changes a business can make to reduce their carbon footprint.
- Put your computer on standby mode if you’re in a meeting, on the phone for a while, or on your break
- Turn off all computers, monitors, printers, and copiers at the end of the day. Use power boards so you only have to flick one switch and not to have to hunt for them all – it’ll be less of a chore this way. If you can’t turn off the computer, turn off the monitor at least. If this isn’t an option either, use hibernate mode on your laptop and desktops. Make sure you’re turning off all equipment over weekends and holidays. This includes kitchen appliances too.
- Turn off lights in rooms as you leave them, and in rooms that are not being used. During the night, leave only lights on that are needed for security and safety reasons.
- Print only when necessary. This will not only reduce paper wastage but also help to cut your energy consumption.
- Educate your employees and colleagues on energy saving features of the devices they use in the workplace and let them use these features to help reduce their environmental impact.
- Encourage awareness of sustainability. It could be as simple as sending an email every Friday to remind people to turn off their computers for the weekend.
- Replace existing halogen bulbs with LED lights. They consume less power and have much longer lifespans.
- Seal off any small drafts. Even small drafts can result in the business losing substantial amounts of their heating and cooling costs.
- Install locking boxes over thermostats to prevent people from fiddling with it during the day.
- Consider investing in solar power. Solar panels can be expensive, but the savings you make on electricity will cover the costs in no time.
- Buy energy efficient devices. These machines cost more up front but will save you money in the long run. When buying a new copier, make sure you buy one that is the right size for your business. Don’t buy one that is bigger than you need as it will just use more power unnecessarily.
- Install skylights where you can and minimise artificial lighting. Sunshine is free!
- If you can afford it, swap out desktop computers with laptops. They use 90% less energy than standard desktops. Also, swap your laser printers for inkjet printers. They also consume 90% less energy comparably.
- Consider installing motion detectors to control the lights in frequently unoccupied rooms such as restrooms and copy rooms. This way lights will only be turned on when the rooms are being used.
Businesses have a duty as producers of emissions to reduce their carbon footprint. By adopting some of these things, you will be on your way to making the future a cleaner and greener place. Being energy efficient doesn’t have to be difficult. It may be hard to get into these habits but setting an example for your employees will help making them the norm. Perseverance has built successful people and businesses, it can also help us to build a better future.