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Take the energy savings challenge


The question is, exactly how much can you save per year?

Lighten up

There are many types of lighting available for use in the home today. All light bulbs are now labelled for efficiency so you can always check how efficient your chosen product is before purchase. The main choice is between the conventional incandescent bulb and CFLs. While an individual CFL may be more expensive, they last significantly longer (up to 10 times) meaning they actually cost less to purchase in the long run and they use only one fifth of the energy of a conventional bulb.

If you swap four regular bulbs for CFLs you can save €1.66 a month or approximately €20 a year.

Switch your energy provider

Did you know that by sticking with the same electricity and gas provider year in and year out you could be making a costly mistake?

By shopping around and switching to another provider - particularly if you have never switched before - you could save up to €300 a year. The reason is simple. Almost all of the cheapest energy deals are for new customers.

Break the standby habit

Electrical appliances are used more in our homes today than ever before. The problem is that leaving electrical appliances on standby can quickly add up to a substantial sum of money. This is because your appliance still uses approximately 20% of electricity when they are on standby mode.

According to the National Consumer Agency, unplugging all non-essential electrical appliances could reduce the average household electrical bill by between €50 and €100 a year.

Only put on full loads

Its official, dishwashers are greener than washing by hand. Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany found that, compared to hand washing, dishwashers use only half of the energy and one sixth of the water. However, this fact only holds true if you put on a fully loaded dishwasher.

By ensuring that all appliances (such as washing machines and dishwashers) are full before use, you could save €8.33 a month or €99.96 a year.

Insulate properly

Just like insulating your walls or roof, insulating your hot water tank is an easy and inexpensive way to improve the energy efficiency of your home and save on your electricity bill.

According to the National Consumer Agency installing a laggin jacket can save you up to €2.50 a week or €230 a year in water heating costs and pay for itself within three months.

Upgrade to a more efficient appliance

Thinking about replacing your fridge, dishwasher or washing machine? It's a good idea to look at energy labels before you buy.

Most modern appliances are far more efficient than older appliances - but the rating will help you choose which one is the most efficient. The now compulsory ratings range from A to G with A being the most efficient.

An A rated appliance uses about 55% of the electricity of a similar appliance with a D rating. By upgrading from a C rated fridge to an A rated one you could save €14 a year.

Don't get into hot water

Hot water is vital to completing many necessary household tasks such as washing the dishes, cleaning the countertops, the floors and windows; enjoying a nice cup of tea; and bathing. That said the water doesn't need to be scalding. By installing a thermostat to your boiler and setting it to 60°C you could save up to €15 a year.

Total savings made?

€753.96 per year.

Irish Independent