Six tips for reducing energy consumption at home

Many of us are currently working or studying on the sofa or at the kitchen table. Here are some tips to improve energy efficiency by lowering energy consumption at home.

It is not necessary for energy consumption and the related costs to reach astronomical proportions at home even if your devices and appliances might now be on throughout the day. For example, using heating and ventilation systems properly is good for nature and your finances, and it makes your home feel fresh and pleasantly warm.

Here’s how you can improve your home’s energy efficiency.

1. Adjust the temperature

A lot of energy is used to heat homes. It is a good idea to check and, whenever necessary, lower the temperature of rooms. The rule of thumb is that by lowering the temperature of a room by one degree Celsius, the costs of heating can be lowered by approximately five per cent. In addition to lowering your heating bill, this reduces your home’s carbon footprint. The recommended temperature for living rooms is 20–22 degrees and about 18–20 degrees for bedrooms. Twelve and five degrees are enough for storage rooms and garages, respectively.

During the spring and summer, it is useful to take advantage of the free thermal energy provided by the sun. Pull back the curtains and you can perhaps adjust the settings of your radiators.

2. Make sure your radiators work

Flats and terraced houses in Finland are often heated with hydronic radiators. The condition of radiators should be inspected periodically as faulty radiators can easily increase the temperature indoors, making your heating bill unnecessarily large. A radiator is functioning properly if it is warmer at the top than at the bottom and if its temperature varies. The thermostat in the radiator controls the amount of hot water taken in by the radiator. When the room is warm enough, the thermostat will close the intake of water and the radiator is supposed to feel cold.

If your radiator does not seem to work properly, it might be because of a broken or stuck thermostat or air in the radiator. Any dripping noises in the radiator are a sign the radiator needs to be bled. All radiator maintenance procedures should be performed by a maintenance company representative. In order to ensure the proper functionality of the radiator, make sure the thermostat can read the temperature of the room correctly. For example, if you decide to let fresh air in, turn the thermostat off so it does not begin to increase the temperature of the room. Covering the radiator with furniture or curtains can also make the thermostat work incorrectly.

3. Do not let heat escape

When the temperature indoors is appropriate, it should be maintained. Window and door seals should be inspected periodically as a considerable amount of heat is wasted if seals are worn or broken. If your home feels cold or draughty even if the seals are in good condition, you should check that the fresh air valves are adequately open before adjusting your radiators. If the valves are constantly shut, fresh make-up air will enter your home through, say, the mail slot or drain too fast, creating a draught.

4. Minimum waste

Power sockets are now overloaded as many of us not only spend our free time at home but also work and study there. It is a good idea to ensure that computers, monitors and chargers are not consuming energy when they are not in use. Up to 10 per cent of electricity consumption in the home can be used to power different devices in stand-by mode. Computers left on sleep mode and chargers left plugged in can consume a lot of electricity without you noticing. You should switch off all devices and unplug them when they are not in use. Extension cords with switches are very handy as they allow switching off many devices with a single switch.

5. LED lamps and natural light

Lighting takes up about 10 per cent of the total energy consumption of homes. Minor changes can have a remarkable impact, however. It is unnecessary to illuminate an unoccupied room and most of us know the importance of switching off the lights when exiting a room. However, how many have ever thought that cleaning your windows can also improve energy efficiency? Dirty windows can make sunlight less efficient by up to 40 per cent, so all the dirt accumulated during the winter should now be washed away to let natural light in. When there is a need for electrical lighting, LED and energy saving lamps should be used instead of halogen and filament lamps.

6. Electricity supply agreements with solar and wind power

In addition to focusing on energy consumption, the method of generating energy used in your home matters, too. Check your electricity supply agreement and, if possible, add renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind power, to the agreement. Renewable energy sources include wind, water, solar and bioenergy. Not all types of renewable energy are environmentally friendly. For example, in order to generate hydropower, rivers must be dammed, which is very damaging to running water ecosystems. WWF recommends electricity produced either using solar or wind power.