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With 30 households signed up and two workshops under our belt, ACT Now is going well. At our November workshop, Gary Irvine and Saski Huggins talked insulation, electrical appliances and home energy.  You can download the expert-written handouts and homework sheets (!) below.

Did you know? A few tips from the talk…

  • A whopping 80% of home energy is used to heat the space and water in your home. To keep your home warm this winter and cut heating bills, the most important thing you can do is insulate your walls. The average semi-detached house loses ~1/3 of heat through walls; after walls, next is roof insulation (because heat rises), then floor insulation, then tackling general drafts and last of all, windows. Not sure if you have any of that? Our expert home energy assessors can help…
  • In order of importance, the first thing you can do to reduce emissions from energy use in the home is to reduce the need for the energy (e.g. insulating and changing the structure of the building, and thinking about how you use the energy); next look at the efficiency of how the energy is generated e.g. your boiler; and lastly, think about how you source it.
  • The average UK home uses 3100 kWhrs/year.  1kW costs around 15p, produces around 300g of carbon, and makes approximately 50 cups of tea.
  • There are now more mobile phones than people…
  • Best practice is to only use your dishwasher and washing machines when they are full, to get maximum efficiency.
  • Dryers use a LOT of energy.  The best thing to do is to dry clothing outside on a line; a radiator uses a quarter of the energy of a dryer, but beware of associated damp issues… put your radiator on low, make sure the washing is not directly on it, but nearby, and close the door where the drying is happening.
  • Energy use choices in the home can be more complex to think through than you first think e.g.
    • Some things don’t use much individually, but a lot collectively… How many lights do you have in your home? The average home has 25 lightbulbs, going up roughly one a year. They use a small amount of overall home energy individually, but collectively, use 20% of our home energy. They’re worth changing to low energy ones even if they’re not broken.
    • Don’t just look at energy ratings when buying white goods; look at the energy rating (i.e. A++, B etc.), but also look at the annual kWhr figure.  Why?  The energy rating only tells part of the story.  A really huge A+++ washing machine may still use more than one which has a less good energy rating, if the other is smaller – so you want to go for something with high energy rating and low annual kWhr.
    • Timescale matters – over a year, your kettle is only a small part of your home energy use; but in the 10 minutes it is on, it represents a very high energy use.

Video snapshot from the workshop: Saski asked participants to put themselves in order of energy intensity, according to appliance they represent.  Apologies for the very limited quality, the short videos were done on a phone purely to give a flavour…


Download the expert-checked handouts and homework sheets (!) here:

Next up: The food we eat – understanding its impacts – at WOCA, 11 Jan 10-1130 FREE, all welcome.  No need to be an ACT Now programme participant – but you are still welcome to join.  Find out more here.


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