Your Priority List

The object behind this section is to encourage you to look at your personal use of energy as opposed to the generic figures that can be found on sites such as the Energy Saving Trust.  
 
This is so that you can identify your individual priorities and create an incentive of knowing how much you have saved! 
 
"Record Your Energy Usage"
 
The obvious source for energy usage information is your utility bill. The consumption figures can be recorded in a simple table although it is easier to see the results of your efforts when the figures are displayed as graph. Some companies such as EON are very helpful in this respect by providing these facilities as part of their on line, internet accounts. Here's an example.
 

The black line represents the previous years consumption. The red and green columns are the first two months of the current year. The red denotes higher consumption than the previous year and the green lower consumption. As you will see it is an excellent way of setting a target and creating an incentive.
 
If you don't use an energy provider that offers these facilities then an alternative is to use a computer application. A spreadsheet is an ideal tool such as Microsoft Office. Alternatively, Google provide free software called Documents that is on line and really easy to use.
 
Taking recording one step further it is now possible to buy very affordable electrical energy monitors that report consumption on a wireless display that can be conveniently positioned anywhere in your home. It's a fantastic way of directly observing the cost of using appliances and lights etc. One such manufacturer is Current Cost who offer a range of products that can record and display your energy consumption on your PC or even a web site. This saves the task of compiling your consumption as described earlier.
 
By 2020 we should all have smart meters installed as part of a government energy conservation initiative. These will electronically measure and report electricity and gas usage in a similar way to the energy monitors. However, 2020 is still a considerable time to wait!
 
 
"Understand Your Energy Usage"
 
The diagram below is the gas consumption for a typical three bedroomed house. The house uses gas for heating and hot water and a gas hob for cooking. If the black line is examined it dips down to approximately 18 kwh per day in June, July and August.

 

This is mainly gas used for cooking and hot water because heating is not usually used during these months. At an approximate cost of £0.0325 per kwh for gas this is £0.58 per day or £18 per month.Therefore, subtracting £18 from each monthly figures will give your heating cost. For example the approximate daily energy consumption for January was 90 kwh or £2.93 per day which is approximately £90 per month. Therefore the heating cost will be £90 - £18 = £72 per month.
 
Being able to breakdown the figures like this can be important for identifying how much each is costing and help you justify investing in improvements. 
 
"Prioritise Your Efforts"
 
You will first want to prioritise improvements on the largest sources of heat loss. These will be from the walls, roof and floors so consider insulating those first. Detailed figures for expected savings can be found on the Energy Saving Trust web site. The next priority would probably be draughts and then a range of initiatives detailed seperately in other sections of this web site.
 
"What Next"
The rest of the site examines the energy usage around the home (or office for that matter) and offers products that are available to reduce consumption. Therefore your next step is to identify your priority areas for improvement and investigate the solutions available.