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Energy Efficiency

With fuel shortages, a problem with our underwater link to European electricity and rising gas prices, I am beginning to feel that I am trapped in a historic reality TV show set in the 1970s. Fortunately my MacBook and Wifi are allowed!

I thought it might be helpful to have a quick dip into some energy saving guides that I keep for posterity and inspiration.

5 top tips to combat increasing energy prices:

  1. Make sure that you are on the best tariff – look for a website that helps you to switch. Here is a link for domestic tariffs but some have business energy websites too.
  2. Install and use heating controls – We zone lighting so that we only have lights on where and when we want them on. Heating is just the same. Use thermostatic controls on radiators so that you can set the temperature in each room / area and use a timer to heat when you need it. If your set-up is simple you could control your heating from your phone and monitor energy usage via a smart meter as many of us do at home. For bigger business with Building Management Systems it is probably more important to make sure that it is optimised.
  3. Close doors and windows – It is simply a waste of money to heat a building while the doors and windows are open. In a previous life, our warehouse reduced energy loss by fitting an interlock that turned off the heating whenever the door was open – I wish I could remember the numbers but it was a significant proportion of energy.
  4. Insulate to save – Insulating the loft of a typical house can save about £150 per year. Just scale it up for bigger premises. Insulating the walls could add another £100 - £350 in energy savings.
  5. Make sure your boiler is operating efficiently – Servicing your boiler is a good idea and if you don’t have a condensing boiler, consider the upgrade to a new boiler (but the payback may be more than 5 years). The difference between an A rated and a G rated boiler is around £200 per year for a typical house.

And while there are queues for petrol, here are John’s top 5 tips to help improve fuel efficiency:

  1. Check your tyre pressures – Under inflated tyres drag and waste petrol. Over inflated tyres reduce your grip on the road.
  2. Remove excess weight from your vehicle. Remove all that junk that you do not need to carry with you everywhere.
  3. Reduce drag - Remove roof racks and roof boxes unless they are actually in use. They just create drag and waste petrol
  4. Take your time! – no seriously, roads around us in West Yorkshire are generally so busy that you are not going to pass the whole queue of cars, busses and trucks in front of you so just ease off a little, accelerate more gently and ease off the gas before you need to brake.
    But if the road does clear, for a 20-mile journey:
    @ 55mph estimated fuel consumption 50mpg and takes 22mins
    @ 70mph estimated fuel consumption 41mpg and takes 17 mins
  5. Aircon… Aircon costs 1 – 2% on your fuel economy but if you have the windows open above 40mph the air turbulence may cost more. You could turn it off unless it is a really hot day!
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