2016 goals

The beginning of the new year, plenty of good intentions. We are definitely going to eat less and train more. A good thing for your personal energy system, but what about the energy consumption in your house? How do you contribute to a better environment?  At the same time safeguarding the content of your wallet after the hectic and expensive month of December? Five tips on how to save energy and costs:

1. Real-time insight leads to a behavioural change

You might find it a bit patronising and tiresome : all this talk about saving energy. It reminds you a bit of those alternative types, who have their heating standard on 18 degrees. Not really your piece of cake. But did you know that scientific research has shown that insight into your energy consumption - for instance knowing which appliance consumes how much energy - can already account for an average saving of 8,4 percent?  And real-time insight for no less than 12 percent?  Of course, you have to actually do something about it. But receiving data about their energy use on a daily or weekly basis, makes users much more conscious about their consumption and especially about how to save in a simple way.  Once you are aware if this, it takes only a little step to make some changes that can make the difference.

2. From ‘always on’ to ‘ on when needed’

Some of the appliances that are always on, really shouldn’t be.  And I don’t even mean really ‘on’. Even on stand-by mode, most of the appliances are real energy guzzlers. This becomes even clearer when you take a look at the cost : when you leave a game console on stand-by mode 24 hours a day for an entire year, it consumes up to $43. Isn’t that a shame?

When users start being aware of that, they usually decide to switch off these devices completely. Research among the European users of the Smappee energy monitor has shown that turning off these devices completely results into more than 5 percent less ‘always on’ use in half a year. Naturally, some of the appliances can’t be switched off, but a game console, a television or a computer, only have to be turned on when you are really using them. Be smart and take advantage of that!

3. Insight into secret energy guzzlers

So we know that appliances on stand-by mode are real energy guzzlers. But what if you could find out what other appliances secretly guzzle energy. It is actually weird that we have such a limited understanding of our energy consumption, while we do ask supermarkets and phone companies to be transparent about their bills. Installing a smart energy monitor can help you find out which devices use most of your energy ánd what they eventually cost you. By getting a better understanding of your current costs, you can compare them with the cost of a new investment and its benefits for the future, which makes you smart when buying new appliances.

4. Turn off your coffee machine on the road

Whatever good intentions you have, there is always a chance that you forget to turn off your coffee machine. By installing a smart energy monitor that can deal with appliances separately, and some complementary tools, you can easily switch off devices remotely. No need to drive back home to check if you really turned it off.  From now on you can easily find out with the app ánd control it. Or look at it the other way round : you can switch it on on your way home.

5. Long-term behavioural change

The bad thing about good intentions is that we forget about them when time goes by. In January you were really keeping track of everything, checking your energy app and knowing exactly where to save. You made your first profit and then you become less alert.  On Blue Monday you don’t see much point in it anymore and by February you have completely lost it out of sight.  Similar to your new training schedule or your new diet : at some point you’ve had enough.  

You can easily avoid this by using automatic settings. Your television set still switches off automatically as soon as you go to bed.  And your coffee machine turns itself off when you leave the house. For other appliances or to manage your consumption, the app can be very helpful.  For instance by giving you real-time insight into your energy consumption and especially by giving you tips on how to save energy. Like a coach, in fact. But in the end the ultimate motivation will probably be your energy bill.  When you realize that you have saved hundreds of pounds by not leaving your appliances on stand-by mode but turning them off completely, by tackling the biggest energy guzzlers and by adjusting your energy behaviour… What a feeling! And when you suddenly realize that, on top of that, you also contribute to a better environment. Good intentions that make us feel good. 2016, here we come!