A quick search of the internet for some nifty ways to cut your carbon footprint will bring up all sorts of tips and tricks, whilst some others are handed down by word of mouth. But which of these quick fixes really work, and which have deviated from the truth in translation?
Here are the top eight myths and musts of home energy saving according to Celtic Sustainables:
LED light bulbs are a specialist product only compatible with specific fittings – MYTH
It wouldn’t be of much use to produce a product that nobody could use. Energy saving and LED light bulbs have been designed to fit all sorts of traditional light fittings found around the home, from free-standing lamps and traditional pendants to spotlights and chandeliers.
You can save energy by setting a screen saver on your PC or Laptop – MYTH
A screen saver does have a job to do, but it isn’t to save energy. The screen saver is used to prevent a situation called screen burn, which can be caused by one image being left on the screen of your computer for an extended period of time. To really keep your computer from using more than its fair share of energy, set it to enter sleep mode whenever you move away from it for any longer than ten or fifteen minutes. This puts the computer into a low-energy state from which it can be quickly awakened when you come back to it. However, it’s best not to use this feature overnight or whilst you’re away from home as it does allow your computer to continue using some energy.
Switching energy supplier can reduce your carbon emissions – MUST
Whilst switching energy provider might not necessarily reduce the amount of energy you use around the home, it can cut the carbon emissions linked to your energy usage. Celtic Sustainables proudly uses Ecotricity for its electricity. The company generates its power using renewable sources, so the energy supplied to the user is free of attachment to dirty fossil fuels and the associated green guilt.
Ramping up the thermostat heats your home quicker – MYTH
Your home is always going to heat up at the same rate, no matter what maximum temperature you set with the thermostat. This will lead to using even more energy, and usually wasting it as when the heating reaches its top temperature the home has become too hot and needs cooling.
To really have an effect on the rate at which your home heats up, try installing some good quality insulation. If you use radiators, fit some heat reflectors behind them, and if you use a stove to heat a room or even the whole house then use an Ecofan to push the air out into the home more effectively.
Switching an appliance off and on again uses more energy than leaving it on – MYTH
It’s a commonly believed myth that leaving a computer or television switched on will use less energy than briefly turning it off and then switching it on again. Even if you only switch off an appliance for a few minutes, it’ll still use less energy than it would have used if left on for the same time. This myth may have come from times when switching electronics off and on repeatedly could have an effect on its lifespan, but nowadays this isn’t the case. Feel free to switch off and on as much as you like, and feel great about how much energy you’re saving.
Turning an appliance off at the power button stops it using power – MYTH
You can save some energy by switching off your electronics at the power button, many appliances will continue to sap some energy from your supply even once they appear to be completely switched off. This is definitely a better energy-saving measure than simply leaving a machine on standby or sleep mode, but it could still be improved upon. To do so, simply switch off right at the socket and cut off the energy supply entirely.
You can save energy and money using your thermostat and timer – MUST
A thermostat is a great energy saving tool, perfect for making sure that your heating is only used when it is needed. Being able to predetermine when your heating comes on means avoiding having it on when you’re asleep or at work when it isn’t needed. A timer lets you set the heating to come on when it is needed, such as when getting up and ready in the morning and coming home at night. Perfect your heating settings with a combination of the two!
Insulation can drastically reduce the amount of energy wasted through walls, ceilings, and floors – MUST
A lack of insulation is one of the most obvious yet most common causes of energy wastage. A poorly insulated roof, floor, or wall will leak heat through to the outside. This is a complete waste of both time and resources, as it often puts fuels to complete waste. By stopping heat from leaving the home, you will require less heat to keep the rooms inside it warm and therefore use less energy to do so. Your insulation needn’t be an eco-disaster either, as sheep’s wool and recycled materials can be used as seriously responsible and super-efficient alternatives to more common materials.