Energy can get used up in lots of ways, as we explained in the big data project "Your Energy Counts".
But in addition to this in-depth, detailed information, it is interesting to review the latest Family Budget Survey from the Spanish National Institute of Statistics. The conclusions are clear: 3.5% of our yearly spending goes to energy.
Behind this statistic is the reality of millions of families with very different kinds of spending, based on how big they are, their habits, their needs and even the place where they live. Even so, they all have a shared objective: reducing energy consumption.
We took stock of the country by selecting five very different family units, to see what their habits are and what tricks they use to get those savings.
When you live in a rural home
Jesús Padín and Rosa Domínguez are 56 and 54 years old. They live in Rías Baixas, very close to the Sanxenxo tourist area (Pontevedra). On paper they shouldn't use much electricity, since the last of their two children got married and left home three years ago, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Jesús and Rosa, after nearly 30 years working in Switzerland, decided to invest a good chunk of their savings in converting their family property into rural accommodations. All told, they have three apartments, as well as their own home.
"Our electricity expenses went up a lot", Rosa told us. "There are months, especially in the winter, when we hardly rent any of the apartments, except for maybe a weekend. At that time of year, we consume very little electricity, but in the summer, when we're at full capacity, our consumption sky-rockets".
Jesús and Rosa don't discriminate between hours. "We can't wait to turn on the washers or iron at night; we do it whenever it is convenient during the day", for which reason they prefer a 24-hour fixed-price energy rate.
For them, efficiently using appliances is critical. "The washing machines are always full", Jesús says, "If it makes sense for timing, we don't use the dryer, and instead we hang-dry the towels and sheets so that ironing will be easier". "Ironing is much more work and much more of an expense" Rosa says.
That's why they decided to buy a steam station "ironing that way is much easier and much more economical, with clothes that are completely dry".