The truth about energy use at home uncovered – why eco homes wont work without a change in behaviour

oliver Technology/ Energy Saving

In these carefree (and occasionally) hazy summer days it’s easy to forget about the impact our electricity use is having on our bills and carbon footprint. We generally feel that our main electricity use takes place through the darker days of winter. But a new comprehensive study by the Energy Saving Trust has highlighted the hidden horrors of our unknown electricity use at home. It’s a fascinating, if lengthy report, so we’ve summarised it in a few key points and generously (even if I do say so myself) suggested some easily accessible ways to combat wasteful energy use, without compromising on the quality of your life at home.

Now we all tend to think that when we go to sleep that our home does too, but the survey showed that is far from the truth with energy use still at least 40% of peak morning use, as you can see from the daily energy use graph below.

But  why is this and how can we prevent  it? Well  the report noted that we waste too much by leaving items on standby. Surprisingly the total standby usage is placed at around 16% of all domestic use and costs each house between £50 and £86 every year. Over ten years that could be nearly £900. You can combat this costly background energy consumption with an Energenie Standby Shutdown plug that operates on a timer. So, even if you forget to turn off the TV from standby, you won’t be wasting valuable pounds.

Also over the last 5 to 10 yeras energy use at home has rien partly due to the rise in must have electrcail items that we are all buying into. In fact portable products such as MP3 players, laptops, tablets and phones are charged through external units and account for a surprising 10% of all energy use.


Another point from the report was that washing machines and dryers are a massive waste of energy. With the average house using 5.5 cycles a week. However, some case studies were as high as 22 cycles a week. Over half these washes were at a temperature of 40˚C. But it was tumble dryers that were the worst offenders. An obvious solution to this is to use a drying rack in the house. These brilliantly simple racks can be hoisted up to the ceiling so that they are out of the way, and they also make a really nice design feature. And remember, in most cases washing at 30˚C is perfectly fine.


Lighting was another key concern of the report. The average household has 34 light bulbs (how many have you got going right now?). Although the recent legislation banning the use of most incandescent lighting has helped to bring the figures down, there is still more we can do to reduce the numbers even further. These Toshiba light bulbs are very efficient and perfect for any ambient lighting needs in your home. There are also plenty of ways you can make lighting your home that little bit greener. As this article demonstrates, every little helps.


Lastly, it appears that those singletons out there are being pretty wasteful – and in fact the report noted that two people can live as cheaply as one. In all of the above situations, by sharing a home you can instantly halve your impact on energy consumption, as you can see from the graph below which displays energy use during cooking for occupant numbers at home. It might be nice to have your own space but it’s definitely cheaper and greener to share, so make some space for your dining table or get it cleared and start having regular meals together.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can save electricity in the home, then this Which article has some really useful information about which appliances are the most efficient and how you can measure your energy consumption. And remember, it’s not just about saving energy, it’s about saving money too.