Savings and security by means of energy efficiency
How to reduce the electricity costs by 10 to 15% and thus save money, without giving up the comfort and everyday needs and habits? You can achieve this if you behave in a way that improves energy efficiency, and it is actually very easy.
Energy efficiency refers to technical devices, as well as to certain measures and behaviors, whose goal is to minimize energy consumption without compromising comfort or efficiency while working. Increased efficiency results in significant money savings, but the direct impact on environmental protection should not be neglected. Quite the contrary.
The way electricity is generated affects both the climate and the environment. The amount of electricity that can be saved if you are energy-efficient equals to having another power plant. People being energy efficient is nowadays a model of behavior in the most developed countries of the world and is increasingly becoming a reflection on culture. 2.5 times more electricity is consumed in Serbia than the world average per unit of social product, so we need to reduce electricity consumption in order to preserve our natural resources for future generations.
What do we need to do? Small changes in behavior are needed when handling household appliances, and very simple tips can often be of help.
You may be wondering what energy efficiency has to do with "Elektroprivreda Srbije"? First of all, our obligation is to ensure a stable and reliable supply of electricity to all customers. Basic prerequisites for this are resources and security of a complex technical and technological system. One of the most important conditions for creating and maintaining a safe and reliable system is the rational consumption of electricity, all of us together, because energy efficiency directly leads to increased quality of life, competitiveness of an economy and energy security.
Checking the energy efficiency of the home
Every homeowner can easily check the energy efficiency of their own home. What needs to be done is to visit all the rooms, implement appropriate changes and thus make the home energy efficient.
If you are using incandescent light bulbs, replace them with energy-saving ones: CFL bulbs or LED lamps. Also, turn off the lights in the rooms when you are not staying in them and find the most efficient place for lighting. If the walls are painted in light shades, they will reflect more light, so there will be no need for additional lighting.
Due to poorly insulated windows and doors and places on the facade where outdoor units of AC systems are installed, significant heat or cold losses can often occur, depending on the season. Therefore, all holes and crevices should be plugged carefully using tape or other means, such as putty.
Did you know that by using energy in an efficient manner, we can achieve significant savings in electricity consumption and thus lower our electricity bills?
Six incandescent 25 W bulbs together give the same amount of light as one 100 W bulb. Not only that, but such a " bouquet" of light bulbs consumes as much as 50% more energy. So, consider using one bulb of higher power instead of several bulbs of lower power.
The simplest way to be energy efficient is to make the most of daylight. Clean the windows regularly, avoid placing too many plants in front of the windows, avoid dark curtains as well, and set the desks in the studies so they receive maximum hours of sunlight.
For the same amount of light, energy-saving light bulbs consume five to six times less electricity and have up to 10 times longer service life than the standard ones. When talking in numbers, incandescent light bulbs last on average up to 1,000 hours and energy-saving ones more than 10,000 hours.
Also, incandescent light bulbs convert less than 5% of the energy they use into visible light, while the remaining energy is lost as heat. This is the reason why the light should be turned off in rooms where people do not spend much time.
If you are able to replace energy-saving light bulbs with the latest LED bulbs, you will save up to 90 percent of electricity for lighting. These bulbs exist in various shapes, sizes and colors, and, as with other household appliances, their energy efficiency classes vary from A to D. If possible, choose energy-saving class A light bulbs, because they save up to 40 percent more electricity than class D does. That is why LED lighting is environmentally and energy efficient.
Power of a bulb depends on the place where it is going to be used. To make it easier to understand, table below shows the approximate power ratio of classic incandescent bulbs and energy-saving bulbs.
|Classic bulb||Energy-saving bulb||LED bulb|
|40 W||8 – 12 W||4 – 5 W|
|60 W||13 – 18 W||6 – 8 W |
|75 W||18 – 22 W||9 – 13 W|
|100 W||23 – 30 W||16 – 20 W|
|150 W||30 – 55 W||25 – 28 W|
Light color is known as color temperature. In general, there are two light colors that energy-saving light bulbs produce - white and yellow light, i.e. warm/soft white light and white light that resembles daylight. It is recommended to use soft/warm white light for the rooms where you are spending most of the time. For example, someone tends to use white light for reading, as it creates a better contrast when it comes to black letters on white paper. Color temperature is conventionally expressed in kelvins, using the symbol K. The lower the number, the warmer (yellower) the light. This info should be visible on packaging.
Although the shape of the light bulb may seem irrelevant, you should be careful when purchasing energy-saving light bulbs in regards to light socket and where it is going to be placed, as there are different shapes of them, from rod to spiral light bulbs. The only difference is their length. For example, light sockets that are covered with ball ceiling lamp (for example, in pantries) require shorter light bulbs, so you should purchase energy-saving light bulb of a spiral shape.
Refrigerator and freezer
Refrigerators are the second largest consumer in the kitchen.
First of all, you should pick refrigerator that suits your family's needs. Keep in mind that a medium-capacity refrigerator consumes 300 kWh per year, no matter if it is full or empty, and monthly consumption is somewhere between 10 and 20 kWh for every 100 liters of additional capacity. Recommended refrigerator capacity is as follows: for one person from 100 to 150 L, for 2-4 persons from 220 to 280 L, for more than 5 persons up to 300 L. By purchasing refrigerator that is too big for your needs, you are wasting energy without the need for it.
Refrigerators and freezers should be placed in the coldest spot in the house (never near a stove, radiator or water heater). The colder the space is, the greater the energy saving is, as each degree can reduce electricity consumption by up to 6%. You should also avoid exposing refrigerator and freezer to sunlight. When installing refrigerator and freezer, make sure to leave enough space for ventilation between the back of the device and the wall (some 10 cm) to avoid overheating and, consequently, increase in electricity consumption.
Make sure to occasionally remove dust (but be careful not to damage the pipes) from the back of the refrigerator where the heat is dissipated.
Before you open the refrigerator door, think about what you need and do not keep the refrigerator door open longer than necessary.
Set the thermostat to the middle of its range. Lower temperature does not necessarily mean better food storage, and energy consumption may increase by 10-15%. Do not put hot dishes in refrigerators and freezers. Before you freeze hot food, make sure to cool it down to room temperature, then put it in the refrigerator, and only then place it in the freezer.
Frozen food should be initially defrosted in the refrigerator, because in that way other food in that same refrigerator is being cooled down for free. You should defrost refrigerators and freezers in a timely manner (when the ice thickness reaches 3 to 5 mm), as this saves energy and prolongs service life of the appliance.
The optimal temperature of the refrigerator is from 3 to 5 °C (middle position), and the standard freezing temperature is -18 °C. If you set the temperature to one degree lower, power consumption can be increased by 5%.
We are all familiar with the moment when more than one stove burners "burn" when you try your best to be the best possible chef and prepare your loved ones a perfect meal. At the same time, an appetizer should be prepared, as well as main course and dessert, not to mention soup and roasted meat... Often in such and many other situations there is a lack of awareness regarding energy efficiency and money saving; however merely a few habits need to be changed. This is particularly important in the winter due to increased consumption and higher electricity bills.
Cooking pot should always be covered. In that way, the heat stays in the pot for longer, and the condensation of steam in the kitchen is kept to a minimum. Cooking with a lid on can save up to 20% of electricity for cooking.
Adjust pot sizes to the amount of food being prepared. Preparing a smaller amount of food in a large pot leads to a loss of energy. Also, when making coffee and tea, you only need to heat the required amount of water, and if you are making it on an electric stove, also cover the coffee pot so that water should boil as soon as possible.
Care should also be taken that the stove burner size is appropriate. If a small size pot is heated on a large burner, as much as 40 percent of the energy is wasted.
Also, make sure that the bottom of the pot you use for cooking is smooth and flat. Food cooks faster if the pot adheres to the stovetop.
While preparing food, use the minimum heating power you need. When the water boils, reduce the heating power to the lowest possible level at which it can continue to boil. Higher heat does not mean that the food will be cooked faster, only that the water will evaporate faster.
If you are cooking on an electric stove, turn off the burner several minutes before you expect the dish to be ready, as the temperature will remain high, and the food will continue to cook. The glass-ceramic heating plate directs the thermal energy precisely to the very bottom of the cookware, so it is more efficient than the classic heating plates.
When cooking on a gas stove, make sure that the flame is not too strong and does not circle around the pot. This is not only dangerous, but also additionally dissipates thermal energy.
Fan-assisted ovens (also known as convection ovens) are especially efficient when baking, which can save 10 to 15% of energy. Only certain types of dishes require preheating to the desired temperature before placing food in the oven. Keep in mind that every 10 minutes of such preheating of an empty oven consumes 0.06 kWh, which (with frequent use during the year) can contribute to increasing annual electricity bills. You should not keep oven door open for long, as 20% of heat is lost each time you open it; and you can also turn the oven off 10 minutes before the baking is done, because it keeps heat for longer. And do not forget to clean your oven regularly in order to save both electricity and money.
Water heaters consume between 10% and 15% of electricity in our household. Set the water heater to a temperature between 50 and 60 degrees, so you have enough hot water without excessive electricity consumption. This way your water heater will last longer, and your electric bills will be lower at the end of the month.
It is not recommended to bathe in a tub filled with hot water, as showering requires less hot water, and thus less electricity. One efficient shower requires between 30 and 50 liters, and one bath in the bathtub between 120 and 150 liters of water, which means that the water used to bathe one person in the bathtub is enough for an efficient shower of a family of four.
Clean limescale sediment out of a water heater tank, because it increases the consumption of electricity and causes water heater failures.
Conventional storage water heater should be used in the kitchen instead of the instantaneous (tankless) water heater, which can lead to sudden electrical installation overload.
Washing machine appeared in the last century as the reliable ally of all women, and today it is irreplaceable in our homes and 10 percent of the costs we pay for electricity can be attributed to it.
Significant savings can be achieved when it comes to electricity, water and money if the appliances are used when they are fully loaded and at nights, at lower temperatures.
Always choose short programs and low temperatures. When washing, you should group laundry according to color and degree of soiling, and when making a purchase you should always choose washing machines with higher efficiency, i.e. class A.
Small home appliances
Microwave oven heats food slowly from the outside in, so if you preparing food of different characteristics, put larger pieces on the outside, and thinner and smaller pieces on the inside.
It takes more time and energy to heat the water using heater with limescale on it when compared to the clean one - so this is the reason why you should regularly remove limescale from the heater. You can easily clean it using apple cider vinegar. Never heat more water than you actually need for coffee, tea or some other beverage.
Always turn off your PC when not in use. If you still have to leave your PC turned on while you're not working, at least turn off the monitor, because it consumes more than half the power of the entire system. Despite the popular belief, turning the computer on and off does not consume additional energy nor does it bring your PC to its limits, but prolongs the life of the components and helps you save some money. If you leave your monitor on during night, you will consume enough energy to heat six dinners in the microwave.
Keep in mind that the standby function of various home devices, especially TVs and DVDs, consumes up to 6% of total household electricity. In particular, the TV in standby mode consumes up to 24% of energy when compared to the time when it is turned on.
Chargers for mobile phones, laptops, and digital cameras consume power both when the devices are being charged and when they are plugged into power outlet without a device attached for charging. Simple proof of this is the fact that the chargers plugged into the outlet (while not charging) are still hot when touched.
Similarly, electrical devices in standby mode can reach up to 10% of total electricity consumption per year.
Since these devices are most of the time close to each other, it can be useful if you plug them in one splitter, i.e. extension cord, so that they can all be turned on and off at the touch of a button when leaving the apartment or before going to bed.
There is no need to cool the rooms down to a temperature below 21 degrees Celsius. This is not only bad for your health, but it also creates unnecessary costs.
The difference between the outside temperature and the temperature of the room in which you are staying should not be more than 10 degrees Celsius.
Install the air conditioner out of direct sunlight. Maintain the filters and the outside unit of an air conditioning system at regular intervals. Invest in good insulation of walls and windows and thus reduce the amount of required cooling energy.
Air conditioner should be placed in the middle of the room in order to ensure equally distributed air flow, i.e. even cooling or heating depending on the season. This also saves energy.
Energy classes and electricity consumption
If you need to purchase new devices, make sure to choose those with the ENERGY STAR label. This is always smart choice, because such devices have the lowest electricity consumption.
Almost all home appliances and electrical devices have labels with energy class and average power consumption when you purchase them in stores with technical consumer goods.
Energy efficiency classes are marked with letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Appliances that are most energy efficient and devices with the lowest average electricity consumption have the mark "A", while those with the mark "G" have the highest consumption.
Classes that have plus (+) next to letter A, which is used to mark the additional efficiency of the device, are no longer used, and now only a small number of the most efficient devices has this mark. This leaves room for further efficiency improvements, as certain requirements need to be met for obtaining a particular category.
These new and slightly modified labels are placed on refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, TVs, monitors and lighting, and in the coming years the labeling will be modified for other devices as well.
QR code has been placed in the upper right corner of the energy label. By scanning it, you can access the database of the European Commission and find device characteristics that are not visible on the label.
The annual consumption of the product is now even more visible and is shown in the central part of the label. New thumbnails have recently been introduced to inform consumers about product features, such as energy efficiency in HDR mode for TVs and monitors, washing time for washing machines, etc.
When buying devices such as a TV or monitor, it is important to pay attention to the power consumption in the standby mode.