Energy Tips
When buying heaters, make sure that they are the right size for the rooms they are to heat, and that they have thermostatic controls. Remember that electric heaters other than storage heaters consume electricity at the most expensive charge rate. Use a space or portable heater instead of the central heater, if only one room needs heating. Choose heaters with thermostat controls and timers.

Central Heating
Turn off the heating overnight and when you are out during the day. Turn off the heating if you are going to be out of the house for more than a day. Proper control and regular maintenance of your heating system can reduce fuel consumption by 10-20% If you have gas heating, turn-off pilot lights during the warmer months. Heat bedroom areas to less than 18oC 20oC is an ideal room temperature. Turning down thermostats by 1 degree C can reduce annual space heating energy consumption by 10% with an equivalent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Heat Loss
Open fires are wasteful of energy with more than 70% of the energy going up the chimney. If the radiator is mounted below a window, a projecting window-board or shelf above the radiator will direct warm air into the room, reducing heat loss through the window. Close doors to separate heated from unheated areas of your home, and minimise the area you are heating.

Hot Water Heating
Use the timer on immersion heaters. This should supply you with enough hot water as and when you need. Heating hot water account for 64% of energy consumption in the home: you should be thrifty in its use. 90% of the energy consumption of washing machines goes on heating the water. Wash clothes whenever possible in cold or cool water.

Insulation
Much of the heat loss from a house occurs through the windows particularly if they are single glazed. Keep curtains closed at night and ensure that the curtains don't hang over the radiators. A reflective foil, backed by insulation if space permits should be fixed behind radiators mounted on external walls. A lagging jacket on your hot water cylinder will keep water hotter for longer and pay for itself in 2-3 months. If replacing the hot water cylinder, a cylinder with factory applied insulation should be considered. Such insulation is more effective at retaining heat than a lagging jacket, is less easily damaged and cannot be pulled out of place. Insulate your attic and save up to 20% on your home heating bill.

Renewable Energy
Renewable energy resources are abundantly available in Ireland. The main sources are: the sun (solar energy), the wind, water (hydropower, wave and tidal energy), heat below the surface of the earth (geothermal energy), and biomass (wood, waste, energy crops). However, only a fraction of these resources have been tapped so far. They offer sustainable alternatives to our dependency on fossil fuels as well as a means of reducing harmful greenhouse emissions and opportunities to reduce our reliance on imported fuels.

Renewable energy resources are constantly replenished through the cycles of nature - their supply will never be exhausted. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are finite resources. They will become increasingly scarce and expensive to extract and supplies will become concentrated in politically volatile areas of the world before reserves are finally exhausted. A gradual shift towards using renewable energy would mean: reduced CO2 emissions, secure and stable energy supply for the long term, reduced reliance on expensive fuel imports, investment and employment in our indigenous renewable energy projects, often in rural and underdeveloped areas.

Today, renewable energy sources meet about 2% of Ireland's total energy consumption. This figure breaks down in roughly equal proportions to heat from wood fuel in the domestic and wood processing sectors and electricity production from hydropower. In 2002, the share of renewable energy in gross electrical consumption of the countries of the European Union contributed 13.4%. By 2010, it is the objective of the EU to raise this contribution to 22.1%. EU policy also targets an increase in the contribution of renewables to 12% of Europe's total energy by 2010.

General Energy Tips
Using energy more efficiently in your daily life comes easily once you get started. This site lists many ways to save energy around the house, at work and on the road. Here, we list the overall top ten:
Unplug your phone charger - equipment on stand-by uses up to 20% of the energy it would use when fully on.
Walk or cycle instead of driving for short journeys - it costs nothing and is good for you.
Turn your heating down to a comfortable 20C - lowering your thermostat by 1C will knock 10% off your heating bill.
Buy 'A' rated kitchen appliances - they cost less to run and over time will give you considerable savings on your electricity bill.
Use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) instead of traditional bulbs - they use 20% of the energy and last up to 15 times as long.
Wait for the dishwasher to be full before you switch it on - a half full one uses the same energy as a full one.
Switch off lights when you leave a room - energy is wasted lighting unoccupied rooms.
Don't overfill your kettle - only boil as much water as you need.
Check your tyre pressure - a car with correctly inflated tyres is more fuel efficient.
Avoid unnecessary electricity use between 5pm and 7pm - help reduce national CO2 emissions.

 

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