In Germany, an average household consumes around 2600 kWh of electricity per year. In the graph below you’ll find a breakdown of this electricity consumption by activity or appliance.
Today we can’t live without them—TVs, computers, sound systems, Bluetooth devices. We’re surrounded by these electronic devices that are constantly plugged in and using electricity.
• Switch off devices completely, don’t leave them in standby mode even if it seems more convenient. This applies to all electronics, but especially to TVs and sound systems.
• Switch to a laptop instead of a PC, they’re much more energy-efficient (and not to mention convenient).
• And the most simple trick—turn off the TV and go outside, read a book, or play a board game! The greenest energy is the energy you don’t use at all, so switching off once in a while is good for everyone.
• The average household wastes around 500 kWh on appliances being left in standby mode. We already mentioned above that TVs and stereos are the main culprits, but this applies to anything with a standby mode, including washing machines and ovens.
• In Germany you can’t switch off power points at the wall, so buy sockets with a switch to turn them off, or pull the plug from the wall when you aren’t using them.
• Unplug portable devices as soon as they’re fully charged.
Washing and drying your clothes in an energy-efficient way not only preserves energy but prevents wear and tear too. This means your clothes will last longer, and you won’t have to replace them so often—which is great for the environment too!
• Always fill the washing machine to full capacity. If you don’t have so many clothes to wash, use a small load setting (all energy-efficient machines should have this), ask your family members or housemates if they have anything that needs washing, or just wait until your laundry pile gets bigger.
• 90% of the energy your machine uses goes towards heating water, so wash at the lowest possible temperature with the correct amount of detergent.
• If you have a dryer, only use it in the winter.
• Pay attention to the energy efficiency class of your appliances, and learn which of the settings is the most eco-friendly for each type of wash.
LEDs are significantly more energy-efficient than halogen lamps or energy-saving lamps (by up to 80%) and have a lifetime value of about 25 years (depending on the manufacturer, of course). LED lamps are more efficient after just half a year, they are recyclable, and up to 90% of them can be reused, meaning they have an excellent eco-balance of energy and environmental efficiency.
• The luminosity of LED lamps is given in lumens. To find the right lumen for your lighting, simply multiply the wattage of conventional light bulbs by 10.
• The easiest way to save energy here is defrosting. Food releases moisture, forming a layer of frost and ice inside the fridge or freezer which acts as an insulation layer. The more ice, the higher the electricity costs because the food is no longer being cooled optimally.
• Whenever you open the door you’re letting warm air in and allowing cool air to escape, which causes unwanted ice, so keep the time the door is open as brief as possible!
• Replace devices that are older than 10 years. Advances in manufacturing mean these consume 3x more energy than current devices, but be sure to dispose of your old devices properly (most appliance stores in Germany will deal with them for you if you buy your new fridge from them).
• Making a cup of tea? Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need, instead of using extra energy to heat water you won’t be using.
• Always cook with the right sized pot or pan, and use a lid when possible to keep the heat in.
• When using the oven, skip the pre-heating! Most recipes will actually work without it, just be sure to check your food before you pull it out of the oven. Every oven heats up differently, so once you’ve done this a few times, you’ll figure out how to adjust cooking times to suit. However, you’ll still need to preheat for sponge cakes, pastries, soufflés, and fish dishes.
• Switch off the oven 5-10 minutes earlier than usual, as it’ll still be hot enough in there to finish cooking or baking.
• You can also shorten baking times, thereby reducing your oven’s electricity usage, by using a dark baking pan, as these absorb heat better.
• Be sure to open the oven door as few times as possible while cooking. As much as 20% of the energy can escape in a very short time.
• A well-stacked dishwasher is more economical than hand-washing, but you should still hand-wash large items that take up too much space, and never run it if it isn’t full!
• As with your washing machine, take the time to learn your dishwasher’s settings to find the most eco-friendly one.
These days you can install a smart meter to keep track of when and where your electricity is being used, and you can track the energy in your home using smart heating controls and thermostats.
But the easiest option is to switch to an energy supplier that offers electricity consumption analysis, like Ostrom! With our app you can enter meter readings, to monitor your electricity consumption throughout the year, adjust your monthly payment accordingly, and even see how much CO2 you’re saving by using renewable energy. Learn more about our Tariff here.
Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash
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