Could you reduce your electricity use by 10% during Lent?
Electricity use in the UK is around 20% higher than the global average. UK Home energy use makes up approximately a quarter of the country’s total CO2 emissions. The average household owns 41 electric appliances, with some owning up to 85!
Kitchen and bathroom appliances make up the most energy consuming appliances in our households, closely followed by entertainment appliances, such as TVs. Around one fifth of the average home’s electricity bill is made up of lighting, and 10% of the homes electricity bill is made up of items left on standby. 
While we have seen an increase in the use of renewable energy in recent years, the majority of energy used to generate this electricity comes from sources which contribute to the mass pollution of our climate. In the second quarter of 2019, 35.5% of UK energy production came from renewable sources . This was topped up by non-renewable sources of energy such as gas, which accounted for 43.6% of electricity generated over the same period of time .
Such non-renewable energy sources contribute to the greenhouse gasses released into our environment, and whilst the use of coal for electricity generation has fallen in the last 5 years, burning fossil fuels is still the biggest source of CO2 emissions in the UK.
Domestic energy use in the UK accounts for over a quarter of the average person’s total CO2 emissions . This includes heating, lighting and power appliances. We depend on electricity for almost everything we do, yet we don’t often think about the impact this has on our planet.
So, what changes can you make?
We’re challenging you to see if you can reduce your energy use by 10% this Lent. By taking measures at the beginning of Lent, during Lent and afterwards, could you make a noticeable difference to your energy use?
Things will change during Lent – the days will get longer and lighter, and the weather will get warmer. This might affect your energy intake too. If you’ve got readings from this time last year, they could be a great way to compare how much you’re using. Nevertheless, this is a great opportunity to think carefully about the energy you consume, and get into good habits to help you live lightly.
Here are some changes you could make around your house in order to save electricity:
- Eliminate vampire power by unplugging idle electronics—Devices such as TVs, microwaves and printers use standby power even when they’re switched off, but still plugged into a socket. Unplugging these devices when not in use will help reduce unnecessary energy use!
- Turn off lights!—Be extra careful to switch the lights off once you leave a room and wherever possible try to maximise your use of natural light sources during the day. Why not also try switching off the lights and using candlelight to light your home once a week? It can also make for a cosier atmosphere!
- Replace your lightbulbs for a more energy efficient alternative—LED bulbs are the most energy efficient option, using 75% less electricity than incandescent lightbulbs .
- Use a power strip to reduce your plug load—Flipping the switch on a power strip has the same effect as unplugging each socket from the wall, preventing phantom energy loss.
- Take shorter showers, especially if you have an electric shower. If you spend even a minute less in the shower every day you can really reduce your energy consumption.
- Lower the temperature on your thermostat—Try setting your thermostat one or two degrees lower and only use it when you need it. If you get cold why not put on a jumper, use a blanket or maybe put on an extra pair of socks before turing up the thermostat.
- Turn down the temperature on your washing machine—heating the water uses the majority of the electricity, so by doing a warm wash instead of a hot wash can significantly reduce your energy use.
- Hang your clothes to dry instead of using an electric tumble dryer!
- Don’t boil a full kettle—unless you have a full housethere’s no need to fill the kettle full. Not only does it take longer to boil, it requires more energy to do so!
- Only run a full dishwasher—if your dishwasher is energy efficientthis will actually also use less hot water than washing up by hand in the sink!
- Look after your fridge freezer—The coils on the back of your fridge freezer can accumulate dust and this can reduce its efficiency by up to 25% . Try Vacuum cleaning the condenser coils at the back or underneath your fridge freezer to see if this can make it run more efficiently!
- Consider switching to a green energy supplier—this means the energy in your home is more likely to come from renewable resources, it is also often cheaper than other suppliers to!
- Consider investing in energy efficient appliances—when shopping for new appliances, try looking for ones which are listed as energy efficient. Energy Star appliances in particular are certified and they use 10-50% less energy and water than appliances that aren’t certified. These appliances may cost more in the short-term, but in the long-term save you money in the form of cheaper energy bills!
- Finally, get a smart metre—Energy suppliers are gradually installing the next generation of gas and electricity meters, called smart meters. They use technology which allows households to track their own energy use. This allows you to see the direct impact your habits and lifestyle have on your use of energy! This is the easiest way for you to also track how well you are keeping up with the challenge to use 10% less energy during lent! You can get a smart metre for our home with no extra cost to you and it will be installed by your energy supplier. Check here to see whether your supplier is installing them in your area yet.
What difference will this really make?
As UK Home energy use makes up approximately a quarter of the country’s total CO2 emissions, if we were all to reduce our energy usage by 10%, we could reduce the UKs CO2 emissions by approximately 2.5%.
working to reduce your energy usage over the lent period, it will help focus
our attention on how we use electricity, especially in our homes, and how we
might consume electricity more efficiently. Where do we depend on electricity?
Where might we be using energy wastefully, or indulgently?
Are there appliances we use automatically, when there might be an electricity free alternative?
Our hope is that through taking up an opportunity to break out of habits break out of habits, which affect our climate significantly and form new habits, which we can sustain throughout our everyday lives.
Want to find out more? Explore the articles and websites below.
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