Energy Resolution

Introduction

With 2018 well and truly here!!! It’s time again to think about New Year’s resolutions. While your personal goals may revolve around staying fit, quitting bad habits or spending more time with family, the year’s end is also a perfect time to reflect on your home or business’ progress over the past year and set goals for the future. This is the first in a series of articles to examine some goals for 2018. What energy goals should organizations set to increase profits this year?

Goal One: Investigate your current energy costs. Electricity costs are typically one of the biggest monthly operating expenses. In many cases that’s an immediate opportunity to reduce your spend by 5 to 20 percent. For some industrial businesses, the energy used for production can even exceed 70 percent of operating costs. The first goal for an energy-efficient new year definitely should be to reduce the cost of the power you’re using today by negotiating a favourable rate and term with your energy provided. But. also look at ways to reduce use – from the obvious – ie turning off unwanted power consumption to radical – power optimizers or battery packs to reduce load. To start it may be worth the time investment of an energy audit, as the cleanest energy is One way is to undertake a power audit, the cleanest energy is energy which is saved. A simple way of getting started is to keep a log of your gas and electricity meter readings on a weekly basis. This allows you to see the effect of any changes you make, such as adding insulation or taking draught-proofing measures. There are also several tools that you can use to conduct a basic energy audit, and give you a good idea of what measures you need to take to improve the energy efficiency of your home and the financial savings that you could make – I have put a link for an on-line tool which is absolutely fabulous, have a wade through to get an idea of methodology – or just go immediately to page 242 for a summary and spreadsheet list, I can understand if this is a bit daunting, so there are some simple audits below for you to take a look at – so you could work your way up to a full audit!!! There are also professional energy efficiency consultants who can carry out a household audit.

Space heating

Over 80% of the energy use in an average home is for space heating and hot water - so it's most important to address this heating demand first. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) Home Energy Check requires information that you can easily work out, such as the number and approximate size of rooms, insulation levels, and single or double glazing. If you do not know, you may need to check how thick the insulation is in your attic and if you have solid or cavity walls. It gives advice on suggested renovation work, and shows the amount that bills could be reduced by and the tonnes of carbon that could be saved. Check it out: http://hec.est.org.uk/Start.aspx

Electricity use

You'll find your total electricity use on your meter or your electricity bill. For homes that don't have electric heating the historic average will be about 3,600kWh (a kWh is the standard electrical unit). Although a recent piece of research suggests that in the UK this figure looks more like 4,795kWh per person per day, we are the 11th highest users of electricity in the world, however, if you examine the amount of energy per day per person, rather than countries consumption, we actually equate to being the 5th highest in the world – which is disgraceful! You can assess the energy consumption of different appliances with a basic energy meter that plugs into a mains socket, with the appliance to be tested plugged into the meter. Both instantaneous power consumption and cumulative energy use can be monitored. You can do this for each appliance (oven, washing machine, computer, electric kettle, hair dryer, iron, etc), record energy use in operation and when on standby, and multiply by the average number of hours the appliance is on each day. To measure electricity used by lighting: for each bulb in your house estimate the number of hours it is switched on each day and multiply this by the wattage. Divide by 1,000 for the kWh used. For example, 3 hours of a 60watt bulb uses 0.18kWh. As your appliance and lighting use is likely to vary throughout the year, it is more accurate to make separate summer and winter estimates. To get the full household electricity use, include all electrical appliances. Multiply summer and winter weekly totals by 26 to get an estimate for each season, and add these to get the full year total. Your electricity audit will show you exactly where you can lower your electricity usage. You may be able to make some changes immediately, such as switching off appliances at the wall rather than leaving them on standby or changing to energy saving light bulbs. LED’s are worth their weight in gold from an energy savings perspective. For example, two 100-Watt bulbs on for 2 hours per day in summer and 6 hours per day in winter will use about 290kWh per year. At an average of 15p per kWh, that will cost you £43.50. Replacing those 100W bulbs with 20W CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) would reduce this cost to £8.70 per year. And the CFLs also have a much longer lifespan. Compare this with a 5.3W LED GU10 replacement – would reduce the cost further to £5.84 per year.

You might also find that you can save money by replacing old appliances with newer more efficient ones that would quickly pay for themselves. The worst offenders in the typical household are:

Lighting – 20% of electricity consumption

Old appliances – making up another 20%

Appliances left on standby – responsible for 8 to 10% of average household electricity use

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

All properties (homes and commercial & public buildings) now need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when bought, sold, built or rented. The EPC tells you how energy efficient a home is on a scale of A-G (A being the highest). There are two ratings: The energy-efficiency rating indicates a home’s overall efficiency. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the home is, and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be.

The environmental impact rating indicates a home's impact on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions - the higher the rating, the less impact it has on the environment. Each rating is based on the performance of the building itself, relating to the construction materials and insulation, and services such as heating and lighting - but not domestic appliances. The certificate also lists the potential rating of the building if all the cost-effective measures were installed and includes recommendations on ways to improve the home's energy efficiency to save you money and help the environment. The average property in the UK is in bands D-E for both ratings.

Households that take up offers under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), such as insulation and heating system offers from utilities suppliers, are given energy audits. It’s also possible to hire a freelance consultant to carry out a home energy audit for you. For an average house, the cost should be about £100. More information about Energy Performance Certificates, and how to find an assessor, is available from the Government Direct website. A really useful tool is the audit framework adapted by Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC), it is as simple or as complex as you want. Take a look, and invest time to save money!!! http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/oee.nrcan.gc.ca/files/files/pdf/energy-audit-manual-and-tool.pdf

Sal (2nd January 2018)