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7 pillars to save energy at home easily

The same amount of money is spent differently depending on who decides. There are many ways to save energy at home, from investing in a more efficient fridge to taking shorter showers or reducing power.

Here are 7 simple tips on how to save energy at home to help you start out on your savings and sustainability project.

But before you learn how to save energy at home, there are a few things you need to know: what do people in Spain use more energy for?

This will help identify how to use energy more intelligently and thoughtfully. Saving energy is not just a question of sustainability, it also helps to save money that can be used on other things. Do the same with less, in other words, pure energy efficiency.

How much energy do homes use in Spain?

The average Spanish household spends 1,000 euros per year according to a number of studies by the IDAE (Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving)

Air conditioning (hot + cold), with an average of 5,300 kWh per year, is by far where homes use most energy, and can mean 50% of total energy use as a national average.

This is followed by a tie between domestic appliances and hot water, both using about 1,900 kWh. Other areas, such as lighting (about 400 kWh) use much less in comparison.

From these data it would be easy to conclude that if you are looking to save then it is on air conditioning where you have the greatest margin to save money.

"The average Spanish household spends about 1,000 euros a year on energy."

1. Contracting less power, a double-edged sword

The electrical power contracted, also called the "fixed component", is measured in kW (kilowatts) and determines the maximum amount of energy you can consume at any given time.

For example, the more power you contract, the more appliances you can have running at the same time. The lower the power you contract, the more likely you are to "blow a fuse".

If you take a closer look at how you live and find that you do not need to have many things running simultaneously (maybe there is no problem about not using the cooker and the vacuum cleaner at the same time), this could open the door to reducing power. The lower the contracted power, the less you pay in your bill. Here we have already found the first way to save energy at home.

For an average household, lowering power by one decimal point (from 3.4 to 3.3 kW, for example) could mean a saving of about 40 euros per year. Here is a specific example:

The problem is that lowering the power is not a decision you can take lightly.

It is certainly guaranteed that the lower the power you contract the more you will save on your bill, but what happens if you lower it so much that each time you turn on the ceramic hob, the fuse blows?

If you are hasty and lower the power too much, it could well affect your daily life and you would then have no choice but to raise it again. And this procedure costs money that will eat up any savings you have made in other ways. We recommend you check the following to find out how much it costs to change the power and how to do it.

 

2. Concentrating the energy in your home

Most of us have a number of things we do at home almost automatically every day.

Perhaps you are used to leaving the doors open, closing the curtains at midday or always setting the thermostat at 22ºC to give just a few examples of things we do but rarely think about.

These habits also show how we use our home. We simply use different rooms in accordance with a series of long-established daily habits. Some are perfectly normal, like eating in the living room, lounge or kitchen, and not in the bedrooms. However, others can save energy by only using it where it is necessary. 

So, here is a challenge for you: do not think of your home as a whole that is always switched on or off. Think again and consider your home as a series of different rooms, with different uses and they can consume energy depending on their particular requirements.

Simply by only heating the room where you are going to be and closing all the other doors could well cut your electricity bill by half. After all, what is the point of heating the bathroom or the guest room if you are going to spend the afternoon in the living room?

Here is a specific example of how to save energy following this advice:

A person who works at home and wants to save energy. If the surface area of the house is 75 m2, the difference between heating the whole house and jus heating the 15 m2 of the work room could mean a saving of 80% in the most expensive part of the electricity bill (the 50% for air conditioning we mentioned at the start of the article).

Save energy by trying to introduce these changes to you habits, little by little. This is how you will get the most out of energy consumption, by concentrating the use of energy in those parts of the house where it is really necessary.

 

 3. Closed doors and an open mind to save energy

We relate closed doors more to privacy than saving energy at home. But what if we were to tell you that it is a habit that could save you a lot on your electricity bill

A room leads to a corridor that has a door to a main corridor (often the case in large dwellings), closing both of them leads to the creation of an intermediate air chamber similar to what happens with high-quality windows. Insulation that cushions the loss of heat and ideal for saving energy.

Do you remember how your grandparents were always switching off lights at home and closing the doors of rooms not being used? This type of behaviour is common amongst elderly people, especially if they lived in the country and depended on a centrally placed fireplace for heating.

Each room that was open made the nucleus of the house colder so it was essential to make the best use of the heat generated. You should follow this tradition and use it now to save energy and not waste any heat in the home.

4. You can also save energy with more efficient domestic appliances

You end up paying the price for obsolete technology. There have been great changes in the energy label for domestic appliances in recent years and if you are left behind this will cause inefficiency and waste.

Another key to finding answers on how to save energy at home is to take careful note of the specific consumption of domestic appliances:

A 60x60 cm vertical fridge with an A+ energy efficiency label consumes about 250 kWh per year. An A++ uses about 200 kWh and an A+++, 150 kWh. But an old class D fridge will use up to 662 kWh per year.

This means that if you change your old fridge for an A+++ model you will be saving over 70 euros a year in the electricity consumed by the fridge.

In other words: if you buy an A+++ fridge for 700 euros, in 10 years you will have paid for it and start generating a profit. Have you ever thought about buying a new fridge? You will not only save energy, it will also be a great investment.

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"Even though a highly efficient fridge can be expensive, in 10 you will have paid it off and you can start generating profit."

5. Short showers, intense dishwashers

Changing washing and hygiene habits can also help you save energy at home and achieve that goal of living a more sustainable life, while being able to get more for your money.

In this section, the two tips we offer are beneficial in virtually every respect.

For example, using a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand saves 30 litres of water per day, according to data from the Canal de Isabel II. It's so easy to save energy and money and forget about a household task, only advantages.

In the same way, doing without a bathtub and changing it for a shower to avoid taking a bath is another way of saving little by little.

And this is the key to making the money you spend on energy go further: changing as many habits as possible so the final impact involves a substantial amount.

Each minute under the shower uses between 8 and 15 litres of water, a scarce resource that also costs money. We make this recommendation so you can learn how to save water at home.

6. The kitchen, an ideal battleground for saving energy

The kitchen is the starting point for saving energy at home. Many people will find it difficult to change their habits here, as culinary tastes are quite a different matter.

Having said this, we can give you some basic tips that generally work well and will enable you to reduce the energy you use when cooking.

  • Cook several dishes at once. If you are going to prepare several meals for the week, if you use all the hobs the heat from one will help the other. This may only be a few cents per dish, but little by little you save energy every day you cook and this is a saving that otherwise you would lose. And if you really have to cook, then better to do it all at once.
  • Cook several portions. In the same way, it is advisable to cook several portions at once, because the cost in energy of preparing, for example, two portions of macaroni is just about the same as for preparing one portion, so you make a 2x1 saving. Everybody has taken bowls from their grandparents' or parents' house thanks to this energy saving technique of cooking for lots of people.
  • Give priority to meals that require little energy. A large number of fruits, greens, vegetables, nuts and legumes require zero or almost zero energy consumption when preparing cold or warm dishes; unlike things like meat and fish, or pre-cooked food. Healthier food, saving energy and more money in your account, you could not ask for more.

 

7. Make the most of sunlight

One of the keys to saving traditional energy is to replace incandescent bulbs with LED lights. These lights are so efficient that there is very little room for saving energy.

If you would like to know more about how to save electricity at home, we recommend this blog with 5 interesting tips to achieve greater energy efficiency in the lighting for your home.

However, you can still save on lighting by making the best use of sunlight.  Even though we know that lighting only represents 4% of energy consumption in the average household in Spain. Good use of natural light can be an important way of saving energy in everyday life.

 

7.1 The Sun is not always an ally when saving energy

Now it appears that natural light does not always help save energy at home. This may be confusing. There is an explanation for everything, you will see.

If you remember at the beginning of the article when speaking about how much energy is used by households in Spain, there were two key data:

  • 50% in air-conditioning (hot and cold).
  • 4% in lighting.

That is why in summer, instead of helping you to save energy at home, sunlight may make you use more.

We are not saying you should live in the dark, but if when it is hottest you close the doors and blinds, you will use less energy to cool the house and this will be more efficient. You may need to switch the light on occasionally instead of letting in the heat.

Also, if you are going out for a few hours during the day, you can leave all the blinds virtually closed. When you come home from work, the house will be cooler and it will cost less to cool it down using the air-conditioning or fans. Sometimes protecting the house from sunlight can be very beneficial when it comes to saving energy. 

 

Can life be the same using less and saving energy?

We are used to measuring our lives in euros because we have been told that this is how the world works. But if we really want to be efficient, we need to address other dimensions. For example: Kilowatts of power and kilowatt hours of energy consumption.

There are now organisations like the 2000 Watt Society that propose we organise ourselves socially with a view to consuming fewer kilowatts per year, collaborating with each other to discover how to save energy at home and to improve the efficiency of the entire planet.

One of the first steps towards efficiency is to stop thinking in absolute terms over which we have no control. For example: the electricity tariff as something that is imposed and you just pay the bill.

There are already tariffs where you decide how much the energy costs depending on the time you consume it. If you are interested, we encourage to check out the Tempo Happy Electricity Tariff

If you are the sort of person who seeks peace of mind by always paying the same, you could be interested in the Endesa Single Tariff. You pay a quota that covers all the electricity you wish to consume, and what is more if you consume less, with our scheduled challenges we will refund some of the money. In other words, you not only always pay the same, but if you are efficient you may pay even less.

 

List of 7 tips for learning how to save energy at home:

1. Knowing how much energy you use and adjusting the contracted power, neither much nor too little, according to your needs.

2. Concentrating the use of energy for lighting and air conditioning in the parts of the house you use the most.

3. Closing the doors to the rooms or parts of the house that are normally not used.

4. Buying more efficient domestic appliances is a profitable investment and not an expense.

5. When cleaning, short showers and a dishwasher are a great ally to reduce energy consumption at home.

6. Cooking a number of dishes at once or several servings helps to make energy consumption more efficient.

7. Use low-consumption LED lights and make the most of natural daylight to light your house.

    7.1 In summer, protecting your house from the hot sun hours helps you save energy when you want to cool your home.

This is how you can start introducing energy-saving measures into your everyday life and pay less while helping to create a much more sustainable world.

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