According to the ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism’s report on Spain’s energy pricing, electricity prices are falling : 4.9% less than 2013 which was 3.7% less than 2012, however gas prices remain high – 0.5% more than 2013 however are due to fall by 3% from Jan 2015 thanks to falling petrol prices.
With energy bills hiking up during the winter months, we could all do with some help keeping our homes more energy efficient this winter. Smarter homes controlled and monitored by apps are becoming more ubiquitous allowing home-owners to really identify where they can cut down the energy bill. Follow these 10 tips to help reduce your energy costs this winter for a more energy-efficient home.
Keep your home WARM
1. If you have central heating, ensure your thermostat is around 21C or 15-17 at night, and invest in a programmable thermostat with a timer – lowering the temperature 10-15 degrees for eight hours while you’re not at home or are asleep will maintain warmth and save you money. Open the windows for 10 minutes every morning for ventilation then shut everything! Keep warm with jumpers, friends in the home, good food and extra blankets at night rather than a constant high temperature on the thermostat. Ensure the boiler is insulated and that maintenance is up to date to ensure it’s running efficiently. INVEST in a smart home system you can monitor and regulate through apps, including individual radiator thermostats.
2. Seek out draughts and block them up – plugging up the leaks can save up to 10% in energy costs. Look particularly at door thresholds and window edges but also around pipes in exterior walls that may be poorly sealed, using an incense stick if necessary to identify the draughty culprits. Close doors to rooms with ventilation slats at night. Windows account for 25% of heat loss in homes but by covering them with cling film you will reduce your heating bills by 14%. INVEST in large rugs for the winter months for your wooden floors.
3. Make the most of the Spanish morning sun and let the heat in – opening the persianas for the sunshine hours and closing blinds and curtains as night time sets in it will reduce heat loss by 10%.
4. Minimise shower time – showers account for 2/3 of water heating costs so try not to linger too long in the steam however tempting! Additionally, aim to replace shower heads and INVEST in slow flow ones to reduce water waste – this could reduce your water bills by 10-15%.
5. Toilets use 30% of the average households’ indoor water supply. Adding a small bottle filled with sand or water to the toilet tank above the half fill line will save you hundreds of litres of water a year. Even better, INVEST and upgrade to a more water efficient toilet.
6. Scrape rather than pre-rinse plates before loading the dishwasher, and always ensure the dishwasher and washing machines are fully loaded before starting the cycle to maximise efficiencies.
7. Use multi power supply extensions with individual power switches to avoid energy wastage as you can switch off completely the appliances you aren’t using.
8. Lights make up 20% of your total energy usage. Use clean energy efficient light bulbs – they last 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs and use 5 times less electricity – score! Make sure you keep them clean as dusty light bulbs absorb more electricity and are less efficient.
9. Switch off the TV and play board games or other group games that get you giggling, read a book, play an instrument, prepare a show or concert for your friends or family or learn something new!
10. In the kitchen: Defrost the fridge and freezer regularly. Cook in big batches and freeze leftovers, leave the oven door open when you’ve finished with it to heat the kitchen
Enjoy the festive season and see you in 2015!!