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Energy Efficiency banner topic: Industrial energy efficiency and energy management

Click here to download all 25 bright ideas from the International Energy Agency.

Follow #25brightideas and @IEA on Twitter all month for helpful tips to save energy at home.


Getting Started

1.      Track your spending.  Calculate your monthly power and fuel bills to track your energy costs. Then use the following ideas to become energy wise and save money in the long term.

2.      Engage the whole family. Make time to talk with your family about how to reduce household energy use when cooking, washing, entertaining, commuting, etc.

3.      Shop wisely. When purchasing new devices for your home or office, ask salespeople about the most efficient items on the market. Better yet, research ahead of time and make informed decisions at the store.

4.      Take advantage of incentives. Contact your local government to find out about grants, tax rebates and other incentives that can help you to make an energy efficiency upgrade.

5.      Talk with your community. Spread the news about how to save energy with your friends and neighbours!


It Begins at Home

6.  Ensure that your home meets modern energy standards. Walls, floors and ceilings should be insulated and windows glazed to maintain moderate temperatures and reduce noise.

7.  When building a new house, take the opportunity to include further energy-saving measures in the design. Building positioning, sun shading systems, window design, and integrated heating and cooling systems can naturally maximise home comfort and provide real low-cost energy savings.

8. Take some simple steps to save energy in your existing home:

a. Check the temperature gauge on your central heating and hot water systems (19 C˚ is a healthy temperature for your living and bedrooms; 60˚C is sufficient for your water tank). If you don’t have a thermostat, buy a thermometer at the pharmacy and regulate indoor temperature manually.

b. When temperatures are low outside:

                                                              i.      keep your curtains closed at night to keep heat in; and

                                                            ii.      block gaps around doors and window panes to eliminate draft, but keep some background ventilation.

c.Have your water heater and heating pipes wrapped to minimise energy lost in transit – an insulation jacket on your hot water cylinder will pay for itself in two to three months.

9.  When renting or buying a home, look for a building energy label indicating high efficiency.

10.  Enjoy the best performance from your home and its energy systems:

a.      Get your heating system serviced annually to improve safety, reliability and energy efficiency.

b.      Consider replacing your old heating system or boiler with a modern, highly efficient heating system with good controls.

c.       When replacing your windows, choose glazed windows and reflective glass to keep heat inside and cold out, or vice versa.

Gadgets & Gigawatts

11.   When shopping for new appliances, look for energy rating and performance endorsement labels (e.g. Energy Star). Go for the top performing model; you will recuperate the cost through energy savings over the lifetime of the item!

12.  Get the best performance from your appliances:

a.Make sure your refrigerator and freezer doors have tight seals, are positioned in a cool place, and are not blocked with frost – all of this will help them to function more efficiently.

b.Wait until your dishwasher and laundry machines are full before using them, and always use cold temperatures for lightly soiled items.

13.  Make easy energy savings by transforming your daily behaviour:

a.Apply the power-saving features in your computer or laptop. Always switch off the screen when you are done – “screen savers” do not save electricity!

b.Completely switch off appliances and entertainment systems when they are not in use. Remember, things that go “beep” in the night use huge amounts of energy.

c.When they are not in use, unplug appliances that don’t need to stay connected to a network. Otherwise power will continue to travel through the cable.

d.Set your refrigerator at +5˚C and your the freezer at -18˚C.Use thick-bottomed pots and pans, put lids on your pots and keep the oven door closed. A conventional oven expends more energy heating up than it does staying hot – try to do all your cooking at once.

Light it Right

14.  Love your efficient lamps! Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) use 80% less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. When they expire, be sure to dispose of them at a designated collection point – they cannot go in the rubbish bin.

15.  For systematic lighting savings:

a.      Turn off the lights when you leave a room!

b.      Use "task" lighting rather than whole-room lighting when only a small amount of light is required.

c.       Regularly clean light fittings, reflectors and lampshades – you will get more light from your clean lamps!

On the Road

16.  When buying or renting a car, examine fuel-economy labels and ask your salesperson about the most efficient models.

17. Find out whether your government has a programme to promote high efficiency vehicles, e.g. a tax deduction for more efficient vehicles.

18.  Get the most out of your car’s non-engine components:

    1. Try using vents to air the car, rather than fuel-hungry air-conditioning and window de-misting systems. Use reflective windscreen shields to keep the sun out or heat in while your car is parked.
    2. Check your tyre pressure. Even 0.5bar below the manufacturer’s recommended pressure will increase wear and tear, along with fuel consumption, by 2% to 3%.
    3. When you buy tyres, look for labels showing low-rolling resistance to ensure better gas mileage as well as a smoother ride.
    4. Service your car regularly. A properly maintained car with good engine lubrication, wheel alignment and well-adjusted brakes will reduce your fuel consumption.

19.  Practise eco-driving to improve your gas mileage:

a.      Avoid sharply accelerating your engine.

b.      Maintain a steady speed and use higher gears.

c.       Even if you only have to wait 30 seconds, it is more economical to switch off your car’s engine and then restart it when necessary.

20.  Consider walking, riding a bike or taking public transport instead of driving, especially for short journeys, which don’t allow your engine time to warm up.


At Work

21.  Ask your office manager about their energy management plan for the building and the company.

22.  When old industrial motors fail, replace them with premium efficiency motors that have lower operational costs. Ensure that you use an appropriately sized motor – size matters and bigger is not always better!

23.  Consider other ways that your company could encourage better use of energy, for example, during the commute to work:

a.      Offer public transport passes instead of free parking.

b.      Propose office carpooling.

c.       Provide secure bike racks and showers to encourage cycling.

d.      Supply a shared office bicycle for short errands during the work day.

e.      Improve the efficiency of your vehicle fleet.

24.  Establish a “best energy saver” award for the employee that comes up with an idea that saves the company the most energy.

Even your Energy Supplier

25.  Ask your electricity provider about programmes to assist with home weatherisation, the installation of smart meters and the purchase of smarter appliances.