Switch It Off

Switch It Off

Over £1 billion worth of energy is wasted in the UK every year by people leaving appliances on standby.

Minimising in-home energy consumption is about you taking control and managing your energy usage.

Here are some tips that can help you take control of your home entertainment and electronics energy usage.

The latest integrated digital televisions (IDTVs) have the capacity to receive digital signals without the need for a set top box, so they use one power supply instead of two. Unlike many set top boxes, IDTV's can be switched off without losing their settings and so don't have to be left on standby. An Energy Saving Recommended IDTV can save around £4 a year and 17 kilograms of CO 2 each year compared to a similar TV and set top box and are the most efficient in their class.

Set-top boxes
Between 2008 and 2012, every television in the UK will be switching to digital television and will need to be compatible with a digital signal to be able to receive broadcasts. If you are planning to replace your TV set, you can buy an IDTV; if not, you can purchase a set top box to receive a digital signal. An Energy Saving Recommended standard set top box consumes up to a third less electricity than a typical set top box and therefore will cost half as much to run.

DAB radios
Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radios convert traditional analogue signals into a digital format prior to transmission. Energy Saving Recommended DAB radios use around 75% less electricity annually than a standard radio. If the next 9 million DAB radios bought in the UK were all Energy Saving Recommended we would save enough electricity to run the street lighting of the entire UK for nearly 2 months. Find out more about DAB radios

Energy saving lightbulbs have always been a bright idea - for your pocket and the environment. They use up to 80 per cent less electricity than a standard bulb, but produce the same amount of light.

Energy Saving Light Bulbs - Make the switch and switch off
By replacing all the remaining standard (GLS) bulbs in your home with energy saving light bulbs (CFL's) you could save around £25 a year from your energy bills, and £390 over the lifetime of all the bulbs. Energy saving light bulbs use between a fifth and a quarter of the electricity of ordinary bulbs to generate the same amount of light. So where you'd normally use a 60W bulb, you'll only need a 11-14W energy saving recommended equivalent.

Heating Controls
When it comes to heating your home efficiently - wasting as little fuel and heat as possible - then a full set of heating controls is just as essential as the right kind of boiler.heating controls allow you to choose when the heating is on, how warm it is, and where you want the warmth. They will also make sure that the boiler is only turned on when it needs to be.

Set your thermostat at the lowest comfortable temperature - typically between 18°C and 21°C.

If you have a programmer or timer, set it so that your heating and hot water only come on when needed. If you are out of the house all day then your heating shouldn't need to be switched on. By setting the heating system to come on for as short a time as possible you will save money.

Work out how long it takes for your house to warm up and cool down on a cold day. If your house takes 20 minutes to warm up, set the heating to come on 20 minutes before you wake up in the morning. If it takes 40 minutes to cool down, set the heating to switch off 40 minutes before you leave the house.

Do the same in the evening so that your heating system switches of before you go to bed - that way you won't be heating your home unnecessarily while you are asleep.

If you improve the energy efficiency of your home, perhaps by installing loft or cavity wall insulation, your house will heat up and cool down at a different rate. In order to maximise the savings which you can achieve from the insulation, try reducing the time your heating system is on for.

Tumble Dryer
Switch off the tumble dryer in the summer and dry your clothes outdoors. You can save on average £15 a year on your electricity bill and 65kg of CO2 by drying clothes outside on a line instead. If everyone in the UK, with a tumble drier, dried outside in the summer instead of using their driers, it would collectively save around £180 million a year. The C02 saved is the equivalent to taking 240,000 cars off Britain's roads.

Turning Down
urn your thermostat down. Reducing your room temperature by 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10 percent and typically saves around £50 per year. If you have a programmer, set your heating and hot water to come on only when required rather than all the time.

Is your water too hot? Instead of running the hot and then having to run the cold as well, why not re-set your cylinder thermostat. The ideal temperature is 60°C/140°F.

Washing clothes at 30 degrees instead of higher temperatures uses around 40% less electricity (saving you around £10 a year) Modern washing powders and detergents work just as effectively at lower temperatures so unless you have very dirty washing, bear this in mind.

Wasting less
Here are some general tips on how to use less energy in the home.

If possible, fill up the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher: one full load uses less energy than two half loads.

Only boil as much water as you need (but remember to cover the elements if you're using an electric kettle). If everyone boiled only the water they needed every time they used the kettle, we could save enough electricity in a year to run the UK's street lighting for nearly 7 months.

Also if you de-scale your kettle – the water will boil more quickly.

UK households use around £2 billion worth of electricity every year on cooling and freezing food and drinks. Defrost your food in the fridge overnight instead of heating it up in a pan or oven.

Defrost your freezer regularly - that way it runs more efficiently.

Opening the oven door loses a lot of heat. So if you keep the glass clean, you can check on your meal without needing to open the door.

If you need to reheat something try using the microwave - it uses less energy than the oven.

Put a lid on your pans when you're cooking - this will help retain the heat.

Use the right size pan on the right sized hob - and turn the heat down when the water has boiled.

Chop vegetables into smaller pieces so they cook more quickly.

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