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Topic planner: Energy at Home

 

This topic helps you….. “make energy a Home and Away issue”

Let’s face it, people are more interested in saving energy at home than at work. After all, it’s money in their pocket and not in the pocket of their employer. You can help them save money at home by letting them know how they can save energy. The trick is to help them save on their home energy bills while at the same time promoting energy saving at work, i.e. make it a Home and Away issue. In this way they will be more open to opportunities to cut energy use at work.

Use the resources offered on the Web sites identified below to promote energy saving at home among staff.

Here are some examples of ways in which you can promote energy efficiency at home:

  • Deliver a presentation to staff on how they can save energy at home.
  • Hold a workshop on energy saving at home and ask people to bring in their electricity / gas bills to have them analysed.
  • Have lunchtime lectures on various aspects of energy management in the home.
  • Find out what people have done to save energy at home and promote these examples in your campaign.
  • One company sponsored free Building Energy Rating evaluations for staff on their home and each recipient gave a presentation on the findings.
  • Another company delivered a regular update on a staff member’s project of building his own house and the energy efficient features installed.
  • Have an online forum where people can post their energy queries. Open it up to everybody, you may even find a hidden ‘energy guru’ in your midst!
 

Resources

In the Topic planner Heating, Lighting and Kitchen/Canteen equipment pages you will also find tips on energy saving at home for those themes, along with links to further information.

Presentation

Use the Staff presentation to let people know what they can do to save energy at home.

Power of one

The main source of information and resources for energy saving at home is the SEAI power of one campaign. There you will find tips, guides, games, grants, an online home energy survey and much more.

Change

Change is a major government awareness programme on climate change. The Change website has an abundance of information on the issue ranging from explaining climate change through to the affects it has on ourselves and the environment.

You can also use the Personal Calculator to identify individual and household carbon emissions.

Renewable energy

Visit the SEAI Renewable Energy web pages for information on the options available for renewable energy in the home. The power of one campaign also has information on renewable energy and you can download the booklet Your Guide to Renewable Energy in the Home and other booklets containing renewables information.

Green Home

Green Home is an Environmental Education Programme and Award scheme from An Taisce that promotes, acknowledges and facilitates sustainable behaviour for the environment among householders.

Some household energy facts

  • Taking a shower uses 5 times less energy than if you took a full bath.
  • Avoiding one tumble dryer load and hanging out your clothes to dry naturally will save you enough energy to take 2 showers.
  • Switch appliances off rather than leaving them on standby. This will save up to 20% of your appliances’ energy use.
  • Households in Ireland now spend around 10% of their electricity bill on standby power. 
  • If all households avoided stand-by consumption on their audio-visual and IT equipment, we could save about 120 million kWh per year collectively or the annual consumption of more than 24,000 households.
  • TVs, VCRs and DVDs can use up to 85% of their energy when on standby.
  • Leaving on a typical television set for one hour uses the same amount of energy to boil one full kettle. 
  • Leaving your phone charger plugged in while not in use for one week consumes enough energy to boil one full kettle/to cook one microwave meal/make 4 slices of toast.

Did you know?

Dishwasher

  • Using the dishwasher once will use the same amount of energy as boiling 7.5 full kettles.
  • Avoiding one dishwasher load saves enough energy to power a 100W light bulb for 11 hours.

Cooking

  • Microwaves use up to two-thirds less electricity than conventional electric ovens and are useful for reheating meals.
  • By cooking food at a higher temperature and pressure, i.e. in pressure cookers, cooking time is reduced and energy use is typically reduced by 50-75%.
  • Don’t open the oven door to check cooking too often, every time you do so, you lose 20% of the accumulated heat.
  • Using a toaster to make toast instead of the grill uses 3.5 times less energy.

Fridges & Freezers

  • Regular cleaning of refrigeration equipment can increase its efficiency by up to 25%.
  • Make sure to keep the fridge door shut. For every 10–20 seconds the door is open it takes 45 minutes for the fridge to cool down to its original temperature.
  • In one year, an American-style fridge freezer uses 30% more energy than a regular fridge freezer.
  • A typical vending machine uses approximately the same amount of energy as 12 regular fridges over the course of the day.

Kettle

  • If everyone boiled only the water they needed to make a cup of tea instead of filling the kettle every time, we could save enough electricity in a year to run nearly half of the street lighting in the country.
  • Lime scale is an insulator and will result in more energy being used to boil the water. Make sure that you descale your kettle regularly.

Ventilation

  • Regular cleaning of ventilation systems can increase efficiency by as much as 50% compared with un-maintained systems.

Kitchen/Canteen energy-saving tips at work

Cooking equipment

  • Always use the right-size pans for the base size for the hob. Oversized and undersized pans waste energy.
  • Keep lids on pans whenever possible. It can take 3 times more energy to cook without a lid than with one. [Source: Europe’s Energy Portal]
  • When pans come to the boil, turn hobs down to the minimum needed for simmering (boiling does not speed up the cooking process!).
  • Use microwave ovens to reheat relatively small amounts of food.
  • Switch on equipment only when necessary. Do not switch on all equipment at the start of a shift, if it is not needed.
  • Don’t leave equipment on standby if it can be avoided. Implement a startup/shutdown plan to make sure you’re using only the equipment that you need, when you need it.
  • Where possible do not site cooking equipment (which gives out heat) next to refrigerators, freezers, or other chillers, as this will increase the energy they need to use.
  • Keep it clean! Keep all cooking equipment free from grime, blackened surfaces and scale.
  • Clean ventilation units and extractor hood grease filters weekly and keep free from dust and grease.
  • Clean and/or replace filters at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Keep heat exchanger surfaces, grilles and vents clean.
  • Check seals and gaskets on oven doors weekly to ensure a snug fit and minimal heat loss. Replace if found to be damaged.
  • Check gas burners weekly for a blue flame and efficient combustion.

Refrigeration

  • Close the door! Keep doors closed on refrigerated units and check that door closers are working correctly.
  • Check the temperature readings from refrigeration equipment daily to look for under/over cooling.
  • Ensure that all liquids stored in refrigerated areas/cabinets are covered.
  • Ensure that frozen or chilled stock being delivered or re-stocked, is quickly placed in cold rooms or refrigerated units/shelves and not left sitting around.
  • Ensure that products to be cooled are not left in high temperature areas prior to placement in refrigerated units, e.g. do not leave in direct sunlight.
  • Allow non-perishable goods to cool before placing them in refrigerated cabinets/rooms.
  • Do not defrost items under running water
  • Check seals on refrigerator doors and cold storage weekly to ensure that seals are clean and free from ice and frost.
  • Keep fridges and freezers ice-free and defrost regularly – when required, but every two months as a minimum or following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Keep evaporator coils in refrigeration units clean, ice-free and unobstructed.
  • Keep compressor and condenser fins on refrigeration and air conditioning units free from dust and grime. Clean them regularly – when required, but every three months as a minimum.
  • Keep the opening of chiller and freezer doors to a minimum. Try to place all food for one shift into one or more service refrigerators so that temperatures in storage units can be maintained.
  • Cover open refrigerated food storage displays with blinds or curtains.
  • Place refrigeration equipment in the coolest location as far away from heat sources as possible (but not in a mechanically chilled cellar).
  • Ensure that the manufacturers recommended operating temperature for refrigeration equipment is set accordingly.

Switch-off

  • Use the following heat-up times for cooking equipment: less than 10 minutes for many hobs grills and convection ovens; 15–20 minutes for heavier equipment.
  • Do not use ovens or hobs for space heating!
  • Switch off equipment when it is not needed, e.g. do not leave hobs burning when not in use.
  • Turn off taps after use.
  • Do not wash food and utensils under running water.
  • Only heat occupied areas and switch off heating when not in use.
  • Switch off lights in a room or area when not in use, but make sure to comply with health and safety regulations.
  • Switch off the main ventilation plant and toilet extractor fans outside occupancy hours.
  • Switch off kitchen fans when no cooking is taking place.
  • Label all controls to indicate their function and, if appropriate, their new reduced settings: in particular label switches that must not be switched off.
  • Make sure that light fittings are cleaned regularly.

Energy saving at home

Visit the power of one heating page for guides, information and links on saving energy on home heating. Distribute free guides and information to staff.

Why not order some guides from SEAI to hand out to staff? You can order or download the following guides (and more) from SEAI:

  • Power of One - An introduction to energy saving
  • Householders, be your own energy manager guide
  • Sustainable energy what it means for you
  • Efficient Home Heating guide - Your Options
  • A Detailed Guide to Insulating Your Home
  • How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
  • Your Guide to Electricity in the Home
  • Top Tips for Household Electricity Saving

Use the power of one electricity tips when delivering information on energy saving in the home.

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