It’s the 21st century, which means much more than enjoying advanced technology – it also means the increasing need to do what we can to conserve energy. And even though little things like recycling or using LEDs are already praise-worthy, are you aware of all the things you can be doing to live an energy-efficient life?
Even more important: do you know which energy savers are actually doing the environment a lot of good, and which, due to lack of knowledge, are only costing you money?
Let’s bust some energy efficiency myths!
They say that running appliances at night is cheaper due to the demand being considerably lower than during the day. This is not a complete myth as there's a glimmer of truth in this tip. But for the majority of people it really won't make a difference.
However, if you are on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff, your electricity provider will charge you according to demand. With less people active at night, it is actually cheaper for you to do your washing later in the evening. However, every other tariff is charged equally at all times of the day.
A lot of us fall for this one. Of course, the higher the temperature, the warmer the room will eventually become, but a higher temperature will not increase the speed at which heat is distributed. It will simply take the same amount of time to heat the same room.
The only way to speed up this process is to improve your home's insulation.
It is true that darker objects are better at absorbing, and then emitting, heat. Thus, it should work for a painted-black radiator, right? Well, this would be true if radiators actually transferred most of their heat through radiation.
Despite their misleading name, radiators actually transfer heat through convection, meaning heat is transmitted by a mass motion of fluids, leaving the colour element completely out of the picture.
With reflective properties, tin foil behind a radiator can conserve heat. And although you can buy specialised radiator foil, ordinary tin foil works just as well.
Heat often escapes at the back of a radiator, being lost into the wall. Placing tin foil here prevents this, forcing the heat back into the room.
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Surprise – pressing the ‘off’ button on your microwave or PlayStation is not enough to stop energy from being used!
Often referred to as vampire power, energy can still be drained by appliances when they're 'turned off' or not in use. Even when a device is completely detached from the power source, for example disconnecting a phone from a phone charger, power can still be drained by the charger.
If you're considering installing solar panels in your home, you might have heard the rumour that they can't generate energy on a cloudy day. If this was the case, it's safe to say they wouldn't be very useful at all with the UK’s miserable weather!
Solar panels are most effective when the sun is shining, yet they are still able to produce energy on a cloudy or rainy day. Sunlight can still reach the panels, and particular models are designed to absorb a broader range of light, such as UV and infrared light which are present on cloudy days.
Most people believe that it's better to leave a light on if you're leaving a room for a short period of time rather than switch it off and on again. Many assume that a surge of energy is required to turn on lights, making it more cost-efficient to simply leave them on.
Consider this myth debunked – no additional energy surge is required. Thus, there's really no excuse to leave that light on when leaving the room!
Have a look at these: 21 outdoor lighting ideas to make your home shine.