Eco cooling: How to stay cool during heatwaves without energy bills skyrocketing
Fans and air conditioning accounts for a fifth of electricity used in buildings around the world. Leading sustainability platform SaveMoneyCutCarbon shares how people can stay cool in the summer Without costing our planet or our energy bills.
The hottest day of the year is predicted this weekend, with temperatures reaching up to 33ºC, reports the Met Office. Desperate to find ways to cool down, marketplaces selling electric fans have observed sales increase up to 275% from last summer to this summer. However, with the cost of living crisis still a prevalent and deepening issue, running a fan as we work from home and to keep cool at night will add to your annual energy bill. SaveMoneyCutCarbon has addressed what impact this will have on energy bills and our planet. As assumed, electric fans and air conditioning are bad news for the planet: it accounts for about a fifth of the electricity used in buildings around the world. Not to mention the added cost that will appear at the end of the year. According to price comparison websites, running a standard desktop fan for 24 hours across seven days would add £1.68 to your bill. Is this worth the added expense when there are eco alternatives that do not cost?
Keep your blinds closed Instead of reacting to the heat and plugging in every cooling device possible, take measures to reduce how hot your home gets in the first place. The obvious is to keep your blinds drawn – however, if you have no blinds, it might be worth investing in cellular shades, solar shades, and even drapery to block out the amount of heat coming through the windows. For maximum cooling, keep the window open, especially at night when temperatures drop! Smart Plugs With a Smart Plug, it is possible to regulate when your electricity is running and in what room. You can set routines for your electronics to turn on only when they are needed, and some even turn your devices off and on depending on whether you are home or not. This means that if you need to keep your fan on but don't want it on throughout the entire night then you can adjust the timings so it is only on for specific time periods – all controllable through your smartphone, or with your voice. Try an eco heat pump Don't be fooled by the name! As well as heating the home during the winter, heat pumps also work the reverse way round. Heat pumps – either air or ground – are used to extract thermal energy in the outside air or from the ground, and move it inside where it is compressed and energy is transferred using a series of coils. The heat pump, therefore, can also provide cooling by transferring warm indoor air to the outside. As an energy technology, heat pumps are very efficient and clean. While they do use electricity to power a part of the operation, they don’t burn fossil fuels directly to generate heat. Switch off appliances when not in use The more appliances that are on in your home, the more heat you generate indoors. Appliances can generate heat when even on standby. Research from SaveMoneyCutCarbon, suggests the average amount of energy consumed by gadgets on standby or in a non active state is between 9% and 16% of a home’s total energy bill. Therefore, the money saving expert suggests the easiest way to stop wasting energy and cut your costs is to unplug devices from the wall and plug them back in just as you are about to use them. Mark Sait, CEO and founder of SaveMoneyCutCarbon, said: ‘What needs to happen is finding a way to be smarter with energy use. This can start with the least cost effective way – behaviour. That is, not just turning your fans and heating off but checking when your timer is set, and switching off appliances/boilers that aren't in use. Or, it can be low cost, sustainable swaps. ‘Small changes make a big difference. Not everyone can afford big solar panels, electric cars and so on, so education, behaviour change, community and coming together will make the biggest difference. There is always more to be done on our end – people just need the facts to know where to begin.’