Jan 31, 2020

22% of UK emissions come from our homes

How efficient is your home?

Did you know that about 22% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from our homes alone? So although there are many ways to reduce our carbon footprint, our homes have a very important role to play in meeting emission target levels in our fight against climate change. Understanding how much energy is consumed in our home is therefore key to us all becoming more sustainable and conscious in the way we use energy. 

Energy in the home essentially comes in two forms: electricity and gas. Electricity powers appliances through cables and sockets (so any appliance or device that needs ‘juice’ runs with electricity) while gas appliances burn fuel to generate energy, for instance, to heat water or your house (a gas boiler) and for cooking (gas hob).

What factors determine your energy bill?

The average energy bill for both electricity and gas in the UK is £104.50 per month and £1,254 a year but this depends on many different factors such as the number of rooms, number of people living in the household and weather conditions. In countries that have cold winter seasons, such as the UK, heating accounts for a significant proportion of overall household energy usage. 

There are many appliances in a typical household that can also consume significant amounts of energy and there are two main factors that determine the amount of energy an appliance consumes: the energy intensiveness required for it to function and the length of time the appliance is in use. 

TIP: If your combined energy bill is more than £1,254 a year then now might be the time to take Martin Lewis’ advice and switch your supplier!

The 5 home appliances that consume the most energy:

Naturally, some appliances consume more energy than others, and you could probably guess the 5 appliances that generally consume the most energy in the home. Below you can see each appliance’s average power consumption per year*:

  • Plasma and LCD TVs (658 and 199 kWh/year)

  • Tumble dryer (394 kWh/year considering 150 times of use)

  • Fridge-freezer (250 - 427 kWh/year)

  • Washing machine (166 kWh/year)

  • Desk computers – (150 kWh/year compared to 30 kWh/year for a laptop)

    *Figures from OVO Energy and the Centre for Sustainable Energy

Dirty and expensive energy can be avoided

Something very important to consider is the time of the day that we use energy. The hours in the morning and in the evening are when household members are more likely to be at home using appliances like the kettle, oven, lights, TV, and so on, are peak hours. We are creating a very inefficient and stressed system when we consider the other energy consuming appliances around the house that could be switched off or used at non-peak times.

The energy consumed at peak times is commonly known as ‘dirty’ power because we rely on reserve power plants that can easily be activated to supply the incremental energy that is being demanded. By spreading that energy use throughout the day rather than at peak hours, we can reduce pollution and create savings for your energy bills!

Accurately monitoring and therefore reducing energy wastage is a big environmental must. In our previous article, we addressed easy and impactful ways to save energy at home, which includes responsible energy consumption, switching to a 100% (certified) clean energy supplier and of course engaging with smart technology such as equiwatt that helps you save peak-time energy and rewards you for doing it!

Download the Equiwatt app and register here!