Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thermostat Challenge Research

Regular readers know that I throw out challenges to save energy by taking simple steps. But when I have researched whether these oft-quoted tips really work I have sometimes been surprised.

This month's challenge is to save energy by turning down your thermostat at home. Surely this will save energy. It doesn't seem like there can be any controversy here. So just how much energy can be saved?

The Energy Saving Trust says you can save around 10% on your heating bills by turning down your thermostat one degree.

The BBC agrees.

Friends of the Earth says turning down thermostat 1 degree saves £30 a year

Energywatch quotes the 1 degree = 10% saving

It's encouraging that they all agree. Still, none of these gives their sources. They could all be quoting the same source, which may not be reliable, so I will keep digging to find out who has researched this tip and what their findings were.

As I was digging I found an interesting snippet relating to our September challenge - to save energy by turning off devices on standby. If you remember we found that some people claim standby helps extend the life of electronic devices by protecting them from the power surge when they are turned on. I could find no evidence for this claim, and so I choose to switch off rather than standby. But the National Energy Foundation asks:

how many office PC screens are thrown away because they have broken down, and how many because they have become superseded by more modern technology?

8 comments:

Mel's sister Steph said...

Good grief, how old is our boiler!!! It's controlled in gas marks with a max of gas mark 6. It was on 4 so I've changed it to 3.5 and I've also turned down the radiators a bit in the kids room & in the bathroom. I think that'll make a slight difference, but I've not told hubby and I bet he doesn't notice or comment that it's cold. Mind you, after wearing t-shirts last week in the North East of England I can now say that autumn is well & truly here. My 6 year old son came home last week with a book called Wild Weather, so he decided that we're having a storm today in Sunderland. I think the Met Office may beg to differ, but I know what he was getting at.

chickendancer said...

The danger is that if you turn the thermostat down a little bit and hubby does feel cold, he'll turn it up A LOT.
As for not leaving things on standby, my son-in-law claims that most things now are better designed and don't use much energy, certainly my laptop feels cold if it has been on standby.
I don't like leaving things on, but you have to for video recorders or you lose all the settings

Melanie Rimmer said...

Hi Chickendancer, thanks for your comment. The trick is to turn the thermostat down a little, down a little, down a little, and then when the family complain turn it back up a lot. But then inch it back down to just a little bit warmer than the temperature where they started complaining.

If you search the archives you'll find the research I did about standby. You're right, appliances don't use very much power when on standby, but the thing is nowadays we have so many appliances that it adds up. I can see 8 devices just here in this room which could easily be left on standby all the time. In the whole house there might be a couple of dozen. I leave on the VCR downstairs because we sometimes record things on it so it needs to have the time set and so on. But I switch off the one upstairs because we only use it for playing tapes, not recording them. (But I'm not smug about that - I'm an eco sinner for having so many electronic appliances in the first place!)

Linz said...

I'm afraid this is one challenge I can't take up. Not that I want to wear shorts in November, but when I'm sitting at home with a long-sleeved t-shirt, a jumper and a thick cardi over the top there's no way I'm turning my heating down!

The living room thermometer invariably says it's 21C but my body begs to differ.

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