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We suggest that people who borrow the meters keep a record of the following points.
- Your consumption when the meter was installed.
- What energy reductions you achieved and how
- Your key discoveries.
The following might be a programme of operations:
- read instructions and set up the meter.
- If you want to delete previous persons data press??? Alternatively you could keep it as a reference for yourself.
- Leaving all as normal.
- record KWh average over a few days. maybe plot it on a graph.
- Turn off active appliances ie no lights, no heating, (no fridge for a couple of minutes) but everything else as normal ie any appliance left on standby normally or plugged in.
- record what your base load is. ie. what house is using when at rest
- Go round the house with the meter discovering what uses most energy. Some things eg fridge and oven, computer, printer, turn themselves on and off and up and down.
- record them as you can.
- Turn everything you can find off (inc fridge for a minute or 2)
- record the base load of the house ie what is leaking all the time, probably doing nothing (not charging portable phone, telling you your extension lead is plugged in etc ) or essential (preparing your boiler to fire up)
- Work to reduce your base-load. and your demand either by changing your appliances, eg low energy light bulbs, gas whistling kettle or changing your use using oven carefully and less often, turning radio off at the wall, making sure no transformers are left on when not in use, no standbys, no lights in un-occupied rooms.
- record your descending KWh per day as you experiment
- record what worked and what you discovered, felt, bought, got rid of.
- record anomalies. high days, low days and try and work out why. Did you bake, use the washing machine….
- Anything else you can think of.
We plan to get paperwork to help you record all this and to set up a web page where the information can be recorded and useful conclusions drawn. We recommend reading other people’s experiences at sometime and looking at the useful resources below.
Sue Sheehan (coordinator of Hyde Farm CAN (Climate Action Network))
We are already careful energy users but are using around 10kWh electricity per day on average (4 bed terraced house – 2 adults 2 kids)and are struggling to reduce this. Having the energy meter has shown just how important changing the light bulbs is.. We have loads of halogens and have struggled to find replacements. So we have just taken some of the bulbs out. We have found a CFL halogen replacement that we can fit in some of the fittings (in the loft), and we have one LED in use in the kitchen. The CFL is a better light, but it is a different shape so doesn’t fit in the fittings in the kitchen. There is a dimmer and it is still working at the moment – maybe if we remember not to dim the lights. Elsewhere in the house we have been replacing dimmers with ordinary switches so CFLs perform better. We have an electric oven – definitely not an energy efficient choice – would choose gas next time. It is used a lot because we shop locally and do a lot of cooking and baking.
Note: Dimmable compact flourescents are now available. Google ‘dimmable cfl’ “dimmerable” means that they can be used with traditional dimmers. Varilight are supposed to be good. Megaman are fine but dim when first lit.
Average sleeping ‘leakage when everything we can switch off is off and the fridge is not purring is about 32 watts. This is OK but could be better. With lights and computers on in normal evening occupation it can climb to about 300 watts. Average daily consumption is about 2.5-4.5 Kilowatthours (KWh). Average households use between 6 and 11 KWhs we were told by the electricity company. We have all compact flourescent bulbs except at the head of the understairs to get instant light there. We leave nothing on standby, turn off even the radio and a low voltage table lamp at the wall. We use a gas kettle which is reckoned to save up to Â£60 per year and is much more energy and carbon efficient.
We are aware that the really significant energy leakage in our house is in space heating which is many times more consuming than domestic appliances. We are still discovering air leaks and need badly to insulate pipes and under the floor. We need get secondary glazing and insulate the solid walls from the outside. We have a solar panel which consumes a small amount (about 45 watts) of electricity to steal heat from the sun for our hot water. We turn our boiler off in May and on again in October which saves wear and tear and energy. We have an old inefficient electric oven but use it rarely.
This has been a fascinating experience carrying the monitor round the house and seeing how much each appliance uses. We have also used a maplin plug-in energy meter which can monitor specific appliances. It cost about Â£8. Survey how much your computer and periferals use at rest, or working at various tasks. How much does your phone charger or TV really leak on standby.
The Energy Saving Trust website
Will Smith’s website has fascinating energy consumption information
‘How to live a low-carbon life’ Chris Goodall Earthscan 2007 Â£14.99 – will save you money.
‘Saving the Planet without Costing the Earth’ Donnachadh McCarthy Fusion Press 2004 Â£11.99
‘Easy Eco Auditing’ Donnachadh McCarthy Octopus Books 2008, Â£7.99
Also visit Donnachadh’s 3acorns eco-audit website