Looking to start your sustainable energy journey? Find out more here on how you can get started.
Everyday from the moment we get up, we are using energy. From taking a shower, to making breakfast, and travelling to work / school / college. We are constantly making decisions about how and where we use energy and for how long. Everyday, the decisions we make influence climate change. What can we do and where do we start. Many people still believe they can not make a difference. But you can.
Step 1. Simply reduce your energy use.
Becoming more energy efficient is key to reducing your impact. The less energy you use, the less energy that needs to be created in the first place. So efficiency first!
Step 2. Start at home
Did you know that approx 25% of the energy used in Ireland is used in our homes? This is a great place to start. We can all make a difference by making changes in how and where we use energy at home.
Step 3. Consider how you travel
At around 40%, transport is the largest energy user in Ireland. Believe it or not, private cars account for about one fifth of all our energy use. Try to walk, cycle or use public transport where possible.
Communities across Ireland are already taking action. Climate change is a global problem and will take people working together to solve it. What communities do to tackle climate change comes down to the people who live there.
Step 1. Start conversations about climate change
You can also have a big impact by starting conversations with your family, friends and work colleagues. Help them make better energy decisions. If we all start to take these individual actions to reduce energy use, collectively we can make a huge difference.
Step 2. Get active in your community
If you think your community could benefit from getting involved in saving energy, consider joining our network of sustainable energy communities in Ireland. By working with others, you can create your own local movement. Learn from each other, motivate each other, and make a real difference for your community’s energy future.
Turn the thermostat down to 19°C in living areas
The temperature in hallways and bedrooms should be cooler, ideally between 15-18°C. You can reduce your heating bill by 10% by lowering your room temperature by just one degree.
Only heat it when you need it
Set the times that your heating comes on and off so that it fits with your daily routine. Radiators will continue to heat your home for some time after the heating is turned off. So try turning on your heating 30 minutes before you need it. Then turn it off 30 minutes before you don’t need it anymore.
Turn radiators off or down in rooms that you do not use very often
Get your boiler serviced every year
This will make it run more efficiently, improve safety, as well as reducing fuel consumption by 10%. When you are having your boiler serviced ask your plumber to explain the settings and how to use them correctly.
Install additional attic and wall insulation
You could be losing 25% of your home’s heat through your roof alone. Visit our home energy section for more information.
Don’t waste energy
Fit a cylinder thermostat if the hot water is being heated by the central-heating boiler. This will moderate the temperature of the water. If you are having your boiler serviced ask your plumber to explain the settings and how to use them.
Only heat it when you need it
Install an immersion timer to ensure you have hot water only when you need it.
Ensure your hot water tank is insulated. And insulate hot water pipes with foam tubing, especially in unheated areas like the attic.
Invest in renewable energy
If your home is well insulated, install a renewable water heating system. Solar panels for your roof could meet around 60% of your hot water requirement each year.
Know your appliances
To keep your use of electricity as low as possible, you should know which appliances use the most electricity. Be smart about when and how often you use them. A good rule of thumb is: if it makes things hot, then it uses a lot of electricity. For example, electric showers, kettles, and hair dryers.
Time of day
Electricity is at highest demand between 7am-9am in the morning and 5pm-7pm at night. Electricity is at peak production during these times and is typically more carbon intensive. Try to use electricity outside these times. Many new appliances have delay start timers and this can help avoid peak time usage.
- Use a lower temperature for your washing machine and dishwasher. Wait until you have a full load before turning them on. Minimise use of the dryer and hang washing out to dry when possible.
- The oven is a big energy user, so use it sparingly.
- Don’t leave the fridge door open for too long while getting food. It takes 45 minutes for the fridge to cool down to its original temperature afterwards.
- Replace your old inefficient light bulbs with low energy LED lights. Start with the lamps in your living room or kitchen where you spend most of your time.
- Unplug your appliances when they aren’t in use. Even in standby mode they are using 20% of the energy they would consume if they were on.
- And remember, buy the highest energy rated product you can afford when replacing home appliances. The difference in cost may be less than you think. A higher rated appliance will be cheaper to run over their lifetime.
Walk and cycle
The number one thing you can do to reduce your transport emissions is to walk or cycle where possible, or use public transport. The most energy efficient journey is the one you do not make in the car.
Drive more efficiently
Where feasible, car pooling with colleagues, neighbours, friends and family is a great idea.
If you need to drive, then driving style can also impact on energy use. Here are some top driving tips for improving efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions:
- Drive between 65-80 km/hr where safe and practical
- Drive smoothly- harsh acceleration and braking can use up to 30% more fuel
- Avoid idling
- Remove unnecessary weights, e.g. roof boxes, bike racks
- Keep tyres inflated to the correct pressure
- Use air conditioning sparingly
- Keep your engine regularly maintained
Switch to electric
If you need to drive, consider investing in an electric vehicle for your next car. It is much cheaper to run and less harmful to the environment. We offer grants for new electric vehicles and home charge points. Coupled with VRT relief, this could save you up to €10,000 on the purchase cost. Electric cars are ideal for most drivers, in particular regular commuters. Many new models now have a driving range of up to 400km!