The cost of living across the eurozone reached record levels when inflation reached 5.1% in January 2022 – the highest since records began in 1997.
A key driver of this increase has been skyrocketing energy prices, which Euronews reports rose 28.6% across Europe in January 2021 alone. Furthermore, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, has warned that energy prices could increase further.
Euronews also reported that some nations are rolling out measures to help households cope with spiralling energy costs. For example, Germany has introduced €130 million worth of subsidies.
One way to reduce your energy bills is to reduce energy consumption, something that can be achieved by being more conscious of the gas and electricity you use. Another way is to make your home more energy-efficient, which could also help tackle climate change.
So, with this in mind, read on to discover 10 simple and effective ways to decrease your home’s energy use.
1. Use the thermostat wisely
Turning your thermostat up does not mean your home will heat up more quickly. Instead, you’re likely to spend more euros warming your home to an unnecessarily high level. Likewise, check your boiler to see how hot your water temperature is set. If it’s above 60°C you’re probably wasting energy overheating your water.
2. Draught-proof your home
Draughts can be an enormous source of heat loss, so sealing gaps around windows and doors could significantly reduce the energy you use to keep your home warm. Draught-proofing beneath doors, using heavy curtains, and even covering keyholes and letterboxes can make a difference.
Another way to reduce heat loss could be to install double-glazed windows, which could reduce energy costs substantially.
3. Insulate your tanks and pipes
Make sure your hot water tanks and central heating pipes are insulated as well as they can be. You might also want to consider cavity wall insulation, which could reduce heat loss and energy consumption.
4. Buy energy-efficient appliances
Across Europe, most everyday products such as fridges, dishwashers and ovens carry an EU energy label to show how efficient they are. The rating ranges from A+++ (most efficient) to G (least efficient).
For example, an A+++ dishwasher uses as little as half of the energy used by a D-rated one. If you have to replace your oven, go for an A-rated model as this might save you around €200 over its lifetime when compared to a D-rated one.
5. Be smart when using washing appliances
Most modern dishwashers use less water and energy than washing by hand, and many have an “eco” mode. That said, only use a dishwasher when it’s full, otherwise, you could negate these benefits.
The same is true with washing machines. To maximise efficiency, do not use your washing machine if you are washing a few items of clothing, and don’t exceed the maximum permitted weight. Also, use the lowest suitable temperature and use a detergent that works at low temperatures.
6. Avoid the tumble dryer when possible
As dryers have big motors and heaters to help with the drying process, running them can consume a lot of energy. This makes them expensive. As one cycle can use twice as much electricity as an average washing machine cycle, using your dryer sparingly could make a big difference to your energy bill.
7. Switch off devices
Internet-connected devices like smart TVs, printers and games consoles from 2016 or earlier can use up to 80 watts of electricity when on standby mode. This means that turning them off when you’re not using them could reduce your household bills considerably.
8. Use LED lights
Replacing incandescent or halogen light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones could reduce your electricity consumption. According to the European Commission’s Climate Action, just one LED light bulb could reduce your energy costs by more than €100 over its 20-year life span.
Also, switch lights off when you leave a room to reduce your bills even further.
9. Set your fridge/freezer to a higher temperature
By setting your fridge and freezer temperature slightly higher, they will not need to work as hard. Regularly defrost your freezer as ice building up in the freezer makes it less energy-efficient.
10. Close your curtains when it gets hot
This one might be contentious if you live in The Netherlands. But notwithstanding the cultural impact of closing your curtains on a bright sunny day and rousing neighbours suspicions that you are up to no good, it might help to regulate home temperature. It’s not only about keeping warm in the colder months. In warmer climates or during summer months, it’s also about staying cool. Instead of using energy intensive air conditioning units on hot days, close your curtains or shutters to help keep it cool by reducing the amount of sunlight entering your home.
Also, use an electric fan, as they use far less energy than air conditioners.
Get in touch
We hope you found this blog on saving energy to reduce your costs helpful. If you would like to discuss your finances more generally, or how to ensure you get the most from your money, please email us at [email protected], we’d be happy to help.