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Little things can make a big difference

28th October 2013 Posted by

Energy policy and practice has a lot in common with the waste hierarchy, where minimisation is the first thing to look at. If we all want to keep our fuel bills down, we should try to reduce what we use and then find more sustainable ways of using the energy we need. Making more sustainable energy is a good goal but first of all we need to stop wasting it.

Often it’s the sum of the simple little things that make a difference. Take my own energy reduction journey. It started at my old house when I invested in a cheap, DIY power measurement meter. With a little education, my family and I gradually reduced our energy consumption by knowing what electrical item had been left on, simply by looking at the meter.

When we moved to my new house a few years ago and plugged in the same meter the difference in power usage from the previous one was staggering. Although a slightly bigger house, this did not explain the near doubling of energy consumption. By simple trial and testing we were able to identify the most energy intensive items and limited the amount we used them as a result. For example, we replaced all the halogen spot lights with LED lights, this made a huge difference. So much, in fact, that you could compare this turning off a kettle that is continuously boiling 12 hours a day. But we also did other little things like putting a curtain over the front door, insulating the loft hatch, buying some living room blankets and so on.

So, three years on, my electricity usage is half of what it was when we first arrived and this summer after we installed a wood burning stove, our gas usage is also running at half its normal level.

We need to minimise wasteful behaviour. This starts with education and design so we can then move on to looking at re-use, recycle and recovery. To make a difference we need to think about what we buy and consume, and make small changes one step at a time.

One comment on "Little things can make a big difference"

  • Sitting room blankets are such a good idea especially for those sitting still for a long time.

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