Expensive utility bills and environmental impact: a proper energy consumption in our homes helps to limit energy waste, benefiting both our wallets and the surrounding environment. It does not require major changes, just a few sensible adjustments. Here's what you can do.



What is energy waste?


Energy waste refers to using electricity for activities that will not have any meaningful outcome or that are not necessary.

This occurs in various contexts, from workplaces to households. For instance, when we leave the lights on after leaving the office or a room. Or when we leave the hot water tap running for an extended period without actually needing it.

Minimising energy consumption depends on the daily habits we engage in without even realising, in a context that is crucially delicate.

  • The global energy crisis, accentuated by the conflict in Ukraine, is impacting the world economy, especially in terms of gas supply. 
  • The rising cost of raw materials and their difficult availability leads to a rapid increase in expenses. These resources are vital for meeting citizens' needs, and thus, it becomes necessary to re-evaluate their use, even on a small scale.
  • The lack of attention from users contributes to creating sources of energy wastage that not only affect personal finances but also the ecosystem, through the emission of substances like CO2, which significantly contributes to climate change.

While governments implement energy efficiency policies, supporting economic efforts for the adoption of advanced heating technologies in buildings or promoting the use of renewable energy sources, individual contributions can be made every day.

How to reduce energy waste?


Household appliances are perhaps the main source of electricity waste due to their high energy consumption.

The ones that consume the most are:

  • the washing machine;
  • the dishwasher;
  • the oven;
  • the iron;
  • the refrigerator.

Each home device can waste less energy with more correct use.

  • For washing machines and dishwashers, the main advice is the same: always use them with a full load, gradually reducing the overall number of wash cycles.
  • About the oven, it is best to avoid opening it during the cooking phase to prevent heat loss and avoid wasting energy. It is also advisable to turn it off a few minutes before the set cooking time ends: the residual heat will complete the process without the need for additional energy consumption.
  • The iron works best only in the absence of limescale, so it is essential to prevent its formation through constant cleaning.

The refrigerator is another source of high energy consumption, considering that it must remain operational 24/7. As in other cases, there are simple ways to minimise consumption.

  • First of all, it is best to open and close the door as few times as possible. A particularly loaded refrigerator works harder to maintain the temperature. Therefore, especially in winter, it is good not to overload it and take advantage of the fact that some foods can be stored outside.
  • Finally, it is highly discouraged to place hot foods inside the fridge. This can lead to uneven cooling, wasting energy in the process, or even result in condensation and mould formation.

As for electronic devices such as computers and televisions, the main source of electricity waste is summed up in one function: standby mode.

Properly turning off the TV and computer allows for annual savings that, according to some university studies, can range from 50 to 250 pounds per year.

For this purpose, it is recommended to use a power strip with a single switch that can cut off electricity to multiple devices simultaneously when they are not in use.


Domestic appliances

How to reduce household energy consumption?


To address household energy consumption, special attention should be given to the use of lighting, hot water, and heating.

It is quite easy to understand that heating plays a key role in ensuring significant energy savings. Its proper functioning guarantees comfort and reduces consumption.

There are several precautions to avoid waste, including:

  • no heating system running at night.
  • always check that the radiators are vented;
  • regular maintenance of the heating system.

A great help comes from smart heating systems that include wireless and multi-zone functions. It is then possible a remote and personalised management, setting the temperature in different rooms of the house according to individual habits and the presence of occupants. 

This operation is made possible by smart thermostatic valves and thermostats interconnected and monitored through a mobile app to get a complete overview, including detecting an open window or excessively high or low humidity levels.

To prevent heat loss and consequently unnecessary energy waste at home, it is also essential to consider insulation and draughts.

  • When possible, we can rely on thermal insulation for exterior parts, such as the roof and walls. In this way, there are no abnormal heat leaks, and the heating system will need to work less to ensure adequate living comfort.
  • The condition of the windows is also crucial. Double-glazed windows are preferred, as well as modern structures made of aluminium or PVC. They prevent heat from escaping and stop annoying drafts from altering the indoor temperature.

Negligence and the type of lighting system are the main contributors to energy waste when it comes to lighting.

  • Leaving the lights on in an empty room or when natural lighting is sufficient are probably the most common types of electricity waste.
  • Technology can certainly help, too: investing in LED lamps allows for recovering the initial expense with much lower electricity consumption over time.

Similarly, conscious use of hot water is one of the primary ways to avoid unnecessary energy waste. It translates into reduced boiler activity

Hot water usually comes from a gas-fed boiler and is used for domestic heating.

  • For personal use, you can easily decrease hot water consumption by shortening shower times or avoiding letting it run while brushing teeth.
  • Through the boiler, you can also set the maximum temperature of hot water, which should never exceed 113 °F.


Why should we reduce waste?


Saving energy does make a difference. Firstly, it results in lower utility bills, contributing to our economic well-being. However, this is not only limited to the electricity and gas payments.

By reducing energy waste, electric systems burning fossil fuels work less. This means they decrease carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide emissions, as well as other pollutants in the air.

The consequences in the medium to long term are seen in climate change, with higher average temperatures and more frequent intense phenomena.

By reducing the so-called ecological footprint, the ecosystem can maintain a stronger balance and biodiversity is preserved, protecting plants and animals.

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