We can all reduce our energy use — and save money in the process — simply by changing a few habits in our day-to-day lives. Numerous websites offer tips on how to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, including one managed by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).1
Alongside housing and consumer goods, transportation is another area where consumers can save energy to reduce their energy bills and shrink their carbon footprintThe carbon footprint (also known as greenhouse gas inventory) of a good or service measures the impact human activities have on the environment ... (See Close-Up: "At Home: Energy Performance Certificates").
Heating accounts for more than two-thirds of a home’s energy consumption. Heating-related energy bills can be reduced by:
- Turning the thermostat to a lower but still comfortable temperature. Heating a room to 19°C instead of 20°C, for example, reduces energy consumption by 7%.
- Closing the shutters and turning down the heating at night and when you go out.
- To reduce the need for air-conditioning, keep the shutters closed on very hot days and air your home after dark.
- It is also a good idea to limit your hot water system to 60°C and to take showers rather than baths.
You can also reduce energy consumption by:
- Using compact fluorescent lamps, which consume four to five times less energy than standard light bulbs.
- Turning off televisions, computers and other electronic devices rather than leaving them in standby mode, which uses up to 10% more electricityForm of energy resulting from the movement of charged particles (electrons) through a conductor... than necessary.
- Covering the pan with a lid when boiling water, which reduces the energy required by 75%. Installing your freezer in an unheated room and waiting until food has cooled down before putting it in the refrigerator ensures that these appliances don’t use unnecessary energy to keep your food at the right temperature.
- Using your household appliances on low powerIn physics, power is the amount of energy supplied by a system per unit time. In simpler terms, power can be viewed as energy output... settings. Washing the laundry at 40°C requires 25% less electricity than washing at 60°C. If you choose the economy setting on your dishwasher, you use 45% less electricity per cycle. Not using your clothes dryer can reduce your annual electricity consumption by 15%.
Leaving electronic devices in standby mode can increase electricity consumption by 10%
- Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables. In winter, it can take the equivalent of five liters of dieselDiesel is the name of an internal combustion engine that works by compression-ignition... to get a kilogram of strawberries to your home!
- Opt for products with an environmental logo whenever possible.
- Buy in bulk, such as a one-kilogram bag of rice rather than four 250-gram bags. This reduces packaging and can also save you money.
- Manage waste wisely. Each of us generates 590 kilograms of waste per year, which is double our waste output 40 years ago. To reduce this, we need to eliminate unnecessary waste and sort our waste for recyclingAny waste treatment process that uses materials from identical or similar end-of-life products or manufacturing waste to produce new products. (See Close-Up: "Recycling - Garbage Cans Full of Potential").
(1) ADEME (French only)