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Four clever ways to consume less electricity
Above and beyond the well-known trope of asking someone to turn off the lights when they leave the room, there are a few simple steps that people can take to cut their electricity use and by so doing help both the planet and their wallet.
When computers, televisions, game consoles, routers, etc. aren’t being used, they should be completely switched off
ADEME, the French Agency for the Environment and Energy Management, has calculated that each household in the country leaves anywhere between 15 and 50 devices on standby at any given moment in time, with the energy consumed in this way costing something like €80 annually. The obvious response to avoid such devices aging prematurely – and to cut electricity bills - is to not leave them on standby. A router, for instance, that has been left on continuously will consume as much energy over the course of a year as a large refrigerator does.
Having said that, it’s not enough to simply get into the seemingly easy habit of switching buttons on and off. It’s also crucial to ensure that the power supply has actually been cut off. This is because certain devices continue to draw down power even when turned off – hidden consumption explained by the fact that their main switch is situated after the transformer. Hence the smart (and easier) option of connecting devices, whenever possible, to a power strip equipped with a switch that facilitates their being turned off.
The power saving mode should be enabled on computers and smartphones
People who use their computer throughout the day and can’t afford to shut it down completely each and every time they use it must make sure to put it in power saving mode. This allows them to reduce screen brightness while also determining how quickly their unused device goes into standby. Note that black screensavers are preferable because they use less energy.
In a similar vein, smartphones’ power saving mode should be switched on to extend battery life. And when functions like wifi, bluetooth or GPS are unused they should be disactivated – with dark mode being activated instead on devices that allow for this, due to black pixels’ lesser energy consumption.
When people are out of a home that has been equipped with electric heating, they should shut everything off – and make sure that a thermostat has been installed
One interesting fact is that lowering the temperature in a home by 1°C reduces its energy consumption by 7%.
Hence the recommendation, for both energy consumption and financial reasons, that people switch off their electric heating any time they go out.
An even better idea for wallet and comfort levels alike is to install a programmable thermostat on radiators. This helps to maintain constant room temperature that can be lowered when people are away from home then raised again just before they return. According to the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, this one action can achieve annual savings of €270 euros in houses heated electrically, reducing French households’ average €1,800 bill by 15%.
Keep the blinds closed at night
Lastly, to avoid unnecessary heat loss in the evening, homeowners should always remember to close the shutters and/or draw the curtains. This is because windows account for 10 to 15% of the heat that households lose.