How do you live sustainably? I think is very difficult to do this and maintain a ‘normal’ life – i.e. have a family, job and not have the neighbours think that you are some kind of weirdo. I believe the key is to make small steps in the right direction and try to be more sustainable than you were. Not perfect but manageable.
This website is part of my commitment to living more sustainably. I don’t have the answers but I want to provide a platform for highlighting just some of the things we can all do.
So what am I doing?
At home, we are on a mission to cut our electricity use and reduce our costs. Over the last couple of years, we have started to switch over to LED lights as the first step but we think there are more things we can do. Having a husband who is both a gas engineer and an electrician has many avantages as I don’t have to get someone else in to do the work and I appreciate that others would have this expense. I can’t emphasise enough how important that it is to get a properly qualified tradesman to undertake any electrical installations.
Our homes are full of electrical devices and appliances so how do you know which ones add the most to your bill? There are two factors to consider. Firstly how much power items use and secondly, how long they are used for. Being quite knowledgeable about the power rating of products means that we have a good idea about what could be the main culprits for power consumption. Also we have electrical testers to measure! So over time, I will share our results and conclusions to give you some indications of where and how you can make some savings.
The cost of a cupa
Our first candidate for potential savings, was our kettle. We like our tea and boiling a kettle takes a lot of electricity. However, you need to how long it is on for and how often. Rather than keep a stop watch by the tea makings, we employed the use of an energy monitor:
This device measures the amount of electricity used over a period of time. When you set it up, you can input the amount you pay for each kilowatt hour of electricity and the device will show not only how much you have used, but how much it has cost. Simples!
As we work during the week, we left the kettle plugged into the device for a week as it wouldn’t make sense to monitor a day when we weren’t in. To give a meaningful result, the longer you can measure the better as it balances out exceptional high or low use days. So what was the result?
The result was good but underwhelming. It turns out that our tea making costs us less than 50p per week. This is good news as we aren’t using much electricity but it would have been exciting to find a clear opportunity to save.
The moral of this post is that it is important to measure what you are using. I would have loved the opportunity to buy an EcoKettle but I can’t justify it as we have a perfectly good kettle and one of my objectives to buy less stuff and only buy stuff that is actually needed. In this case, it really isn’t needed. Someone else may find that their kettle uses more and they use it more often so it would be advisable to change.
Next on our list is our TV, sound system and game station. Are they electricity vampires? I’ll let you know!
Until next time….