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Thread: (How) Do You Save Energy?

  1. #1
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default (How) Do You Save Energy?

    What do you do to keep your gas/oil/electricity usage down?

    I've just changed all our hallway light bulbs from 50w halogen to 3.5w L.E.D. As well as half the lights in the kitchen, cutting electricity usage down from 400w to 28w.

    For all the other rooms where better lighting is needed I've fitted dimmer switches.

  2. #2
    Vegan Joe
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    I never use a Clothes Dryer. In winter clothes are hung in garage or house on rack. of course living in CA make this much easier. Clothes hung out to dry smell so much nicer. >just my opinion.

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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Is this from a money saving point of view or environmental?

    I do things that help to keep the bills down a bit - I charge my phone and Ipod at work, if I'm going to make pasta/rice/boil something, I will run some hot water for washing up with and while the tap is running I will fill the pan with hot water as well.
    If I am in the house alone I will leave all the lights off and watch TV in the dark or read using one light, using a blanket to keep warm rather than the fire/heating.

    They are only small things but its a start.

  4. #4
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Quote Firestorm View Post
    Is this from a money saving point of view or environmental?
    Either/or

    Quote Firestorm View Post
    If I am in the house alone I will leave all the lights off and watch TV in the dark or read using one light, using a blanket to keep warm rather than the fire/heating.
    We do that too, I quite like sitting in the dark Blankets are good too, I got mine when it fell in to my bag when I was on a plane last.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    we didn't used to have a fridge (for 2 years). It's one of the highest energy burners in homes as it's on 24/7. But then on my birthday last year we turned it on for keeping drinks and left overs cold....and somehow never got around to switching it off....and every time I go to get something out I feel a pang of guilt!!!

    we always switch stuff off at mains and keep lights off as much as possible. We use Ecotricity for gas and leccy.

    xxx

  6. #6
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    I ... errr ... oh dear!

    I really should be thinking about AND doing stuff like that, shouldn't I ?
    All done in the best possible taste ...

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    Quote Risker View Post
    Blankets are good too, I got mine when it fell in to my bag when I was on a plane last.
    I've often had things hitchhike home with me from hotels

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    We use green power from alternative sources. But we also:
    Scavange wood for heating from our block eg when a branch fall
    turn off lights etc and switch all power points off at night
    use candlelight
    are not excessive with appliances that use power.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    A few things off the top of my head:

    I have a car but rarely use it. Some weeks, it might not do 20 miles. I prefer walking and cycling.

    We have a solar hot water panel, the pump run by a solar pv panel. Even on non-sunny days, the HW panel puts some energy into the cylinder, especially if the water temperature is low to start with. Then it just needs topping up with an immersion heater (using electricity from Airtricity).

    If we've plenty of solar hot water, I run it to the washing machine, to save having to use the machine's internal heater. Even then, we wash clothes at 40 degrees max.

    We have some solar spot lamps for reading at night. Being leds, they shine directly on the page and nowhere else, meaning the partner can get to sleep!

    We collect rainwater for use round the garden, saving pumping of water from the deep well. I've just invested in a solar-powered drip feeder for the polytunnel.

    We cut our own wood for heating in winter and cut up pallets a local business drops off to us - they were going to landfill before I asked for them!!! The nails are taken out of the ash with a magnet and taken to the recycling centre when we've a few bucket-loads.

    We've used low energy bulbs since they first came out a couple of decades ago. Some are still going....

    And of course, a vegan diet, especially if you consume a lot of raw, local food, uses far less energy than just about any other diet.
    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine" - Abraham Lincoln

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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Quote yo-yo View Post

    we always switch stuff off at mains and keep lights off as much as possible. We use Ecotricity for gas and leccy.

    xxx
    Hi
    Which appliances do you turn off? Things like DVD players/VCR/Digiboxes are designed to be left on, I think there are fire safety reasons (i.e constantly turning them on/off can damage the cooling system, which can cause them to over heat).

  11. #11
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    ^ It's fine to switch those things off. The only one I don't is the PVR in case doing so misses a recording.

    Just thought of a couple of other things I do...

    As we have a combi boiler (heats water on demand rather than in advance) I always use cold water to wash my hands (by the time the hot water came through you'd be done anyway.)

    Whenever cooking potatoes we always cook far more than we need, leftover potato is the easiest thing to use.

    We have a Lime energy saving plug that switches off power at the mains via remote control, it's hooked up to my ps3 as in standby it uses something like 30-40w. For a while it was connected to my TV but then I found out that the TV standby mode was only 1w and the lime plug itself uses about that amount of power so it wasn't making a saving.

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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Quote Risker View Post
    ^ It's fine to switch those things off. The only one I don't is the PVR in case doing so misses a recording.
    I was in a presentation a few weeks ago and was informed that leaving DVD players etc off overnight allows dust to build up on the cooling fans, over several years this will weigh them down and they eventually break allowing the appliance to over heat and potentially catch fire.
    I leave DVD/digibox/freeview/VCR's on standby constantly as I would rather face higher fuel bills than risk having a fire

    Edit: Televisions on the other hand I turn off at the mains.

  13. #13
    cobweb
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    ^ he's a Fire Smurf, he knows his stuff
    Seriously, we do the same with things like DVD players, and we also tend to leave computers on 'sleep'. We have those circuit breaker plug things aswell, I'm terrified about fires.

    Hm, to save energy we do most of the same things as others here, use a blanket or duvet (but sometimes I HAVE to have the heating on or I get grouchy when its really cold), have all energy saving bulbs, cook up extra food to use for a second meal.

    I have often toyed with the idea of doing away with both fridge and cooker, maybe just having a slow cooker or hob, but think I'll have to wait til I live on my own for that. In the meantime we have quite a huge American style fridge-freezer, but it's got a good energy rating so I s'pose it could be worse .

    We are pretty careful with saving and re-using water, because of the environment, and because of the cost of it down here! . I'm paying £59 a month as it is, and that's with being careful!.

  14. #14
    cobweb
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Firestorm you are no longer a Smurf!!!!.

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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    <<<Just for you cobweb, he might not last long though!!!

  16. #16
    cobweb
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    That looks like me actually .

  17. #17
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Quote Firestorm View Post
    I was in a presentation a few weeks ago and was informed that leaving DVD players etc off overnight allows dust to build up on the cooling fans, over several years this will weigh them down and they eventually break allowing the appliance to over heat and potentially catch fire.
    I leave DVD/digibox/freeview/VCR's on standby constantly as I would rather face higher fuel bills than risk having a fire
    Most of those things generally don't have fans, the only ones that usually do are PVR's. Sounds like a myth to me.

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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    It came from a reliable source, but moving back to the original subject one of the things that I do to save energy is use one of those 3 tier steamers. When I am cooking potatoes/rice/pasta I will use the top 2 tierrs to cook veg (even if I'm not using it, I will cook it and have it cold in the fridge for the next day) and I always bake double the quantity of banana bread and freeze half.

    When I was at uni I would sometimes go to the gym and use my membership to get in, then just use the showers - saved water at home

  19. #19
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    ^ With regards to the fire risk thing, could you not check whether each appliance has a fan or not? And if they don't then it wouldn't be an issue and you could save yourself some cash?

    For anyone in the UK using Scottish Power you should probably change tarriffs now as they've just put up their prices by a quite absurd amount (20%+)

    One that might sound obvious that I do is to try and use the smaller sized hobs, the flames have a smaller range and therefore less heat is lost up the side of the pans. Oh and, using the lids on saucepans as much as possible.

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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Trying to save energy usually involves spending money, which of course is not always possible. Nonetheless, it is useful to have a plan. Look at your electricity bill, at the number of units. It's not much use looking at the total bill, trying to bring that down, as you can't do much about standing charges and tax.

    Set a realistic goal, something achievable like knocking 20 or 25% of your units consumed over the next five years. You have to look at every single thing that uses electricity and try to calculate roughly when it's going to have to be replaced. Start with the big things like the fridge, tv, freezer, electric hob, washer, dryer, microwave and so on but really, include everything.

    Whatever you're going to have to replace next, you need to do loads of research before that time comes as well as save up the money for it. Look at Ethical Consumer and Which, scour the web, make notes of the most efficient models and ideas for their efficient use - or even alternatives.

    For instance, do you need an electric clothes dryer? Why not an airer - a creel, it's sometimes called - or something similar. Think about getting rid of the tv and just watching stuff selectively on-line. Look out for appliances that can run on batteries charged with a solar charger.

    Then there are sideways steps such as putting down tiles instead of carpet; no vacuum cleaner required, just a dustpan and brush. Or get solar-powered vents for the bathroom window rather than using an electric extractor.
    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine" - Abraham Lincoln

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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Quote Risker View Post
    ^ With regards to the fire risk thing, could you not check whether each appliance has a fan or not? And if they don't then it wouldn't be an issue and you could save yourself some cash?
    Thats a very good point, I will start having a nose around my appliances I think.

    Quote Risker View Post
    One that might sound obvious that I do is to try and use the smaller sized hobs, the flames have a smaller range and therefore less heat is lost up the side of the pans. Oh and, using the lids on saucepans as much as possible.
    I'll have to start trying to do that, what I've started trying to do at the moment is defrost things before cooking them, rather than cooking from frozen (like Fry's sausages - not things like oven chips), which reduces the amount of gas/leccy used.

  22. #22

    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Quote Firestorm View Post
    Hi
    Which appliances do you turn off? Things like DVD players/VCR/Digiboxes are designed to be left on, I think there are fire safety reasons (i.e constantly turning them on/off can damage the cooling system, which can cause them to over heat).
    hey, well we don't have a dvd player or tv or anything, just pc. think it's ok to turn them off at the mains..? Yeh I kept getting in trouble when at my mum's and turning her tv etc off at the at the plug....oops.

    x

  23. #23

    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Quote Firestorm View Post
    Hi
    Which appliances do you turn off? Things like DVD players/VCR/Digiboxes are designed to be left on, I think there are fire safety reasons (i.e constantly turning them on/off can damage the cooling system, which can cause them to over heat).
    hey, well we don't have a dvd player or tv or anything, just pc. think it's ok to turn them off at the mains..? Yeh I kept getting in trouble when at my mum's and turning her tv etc off at the at the plug....oops.

    x

    didn't mean to double post... x

  24. #24

    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Quote Firestorm View Post

    When I was at uni I would sometimes go to the gym and use my membership to get in, then just use the showers - saved water at home
    love it! x

  25. #25
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    I saw quite a good tip today, defrost items from the freezer in the fridge, that way it helps keep the fridge cool while it defrosts and is safer (bacteria wise) than defrosting at an ambient temperature.

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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    We live in an apartment and don't get to pick our major appliances (boo) but we currently:

    -keep the ac at a reasonable temperature. It's massively hot here (100+ degrees Fahrenheit or 40+ Celsius) so living without it isn't much of an option during terribly hot days.
    -use a fan instead of ac when possible (most of the time, except blazing days, I can get away with just a fan)
    -cut back on TV (we have a very large, energy consuming tv)
    -use laptop to watch movies/tv
    -keep lights/other things off when not in use
    -low flow faucet heads for the sink and shower, cutting down not just water consumption but the water heater as well

    Things we're planning on:

    -bike powered small generator to use for appliances, chargers, etc
    -using a toaster oven instead of the large oven
    -switching out all lightbulbs for LEDs
    -growing plants in and outdoors for shade, oxygen and eating
    -fixing my broken netbook for most computing use, and saving larger desktop for projects
    -making heavy drapes to keep out the sun and heat during the hottest days
    -making a solar cooker
    -using the sun to heat my water for dishes
    -line drying our laundry
    -getting a Roku to watch stuff from Netflix/Hulu etc.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Heavy curtains are a good investment. Especially if one is not bothered by the pattern/colour too much.
    I can't find a "thinking/inventing" smiley.
    Hmm... padded curtains.

    Use a hay box for cooking. You can use polystyrene instead of hay. The idea is to heat your cauldron up to boiling stew, then insulate. My colleague [ha ha] ... my friend put a datalogger, in her haybox; the results showed cooking temperatures for nearly three hours after the heat was turned off. I previously used a pile of laundry to insulate my cooking pot, obviously dangerous.
    Problematic is waking someone whom pretends to sleep.

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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Here is my P.T.O. [power take off] device.



    It is the clickety bit from a bicycle back wheel, welded on to a piece of steel.


    The five smaller holes are where I used some M3 stainless mini bolts to hold the two things together. My original plan did not involve welding, but welding turned out to be fairly easy. Welding can cause warping of metal... things also get pulled out of line half way through as weldmetal cools.

    The four large holes enable bolting on to the axial flux generator.



    Below is the remains of an abandonned gas canister, which was just getting in everyone's way, and making that gassy smell.



    The plan is to weld a flat hotplate, a door, chimney, and legs, for a woodburning stove.

    This also implies something dangerous which should be avoided.
    Problematic is waking someone whom pretends to sleep.

  29. #29
    75% Chickpea Cumin's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    Whalespace, that generator is the coolest thing I have seen in ages. I'd love to know how it works out.
    How good it is to be well-fed, healthy, and kind all at the same time. Henry J. Heimlich

  30. #30
    whalespace's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    ^I haven't made the 'human interface' yet^.

    On the subject of appliances left on standby:

    Apparently each watt of electricity consumed continuously [in the uk] costs the customer roughly one quid per year. I did check the numbers, and they were fairly accurate.

    It is true that some appliances use electricity when they are plugged in and on at the socket, even when 'standby' is off. My old radio uses about 9 watts when switched off, but plugged in live... it uses 15 watts when playing noise. This is due to the primary windings of a voltage step down transformer.
    Some appliances have a step down [from mains power to something more sensible] transformer in between the plug socket and the 'standby' electronics.

    In other words, sometimes you need to switch off the appliance at the plug socket, regardless of the state of the 'standby' unit.

    I have a pcomputer which uses 30 watts on standby... and another which uses 40 watts when ticking over.

    Another friend saves himself 85 quid this year by switching off his standby devices.
    Last edited by whalespace; Aug 15th, 2011 at 12:02 PM. Reason: so many errors
    Problematic is waking someone whom pretends to sleep.

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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    We only have 1 tv- only basic channels - and no internet..So the only electric that we constantly use is the fridge. Which is a musthave right now, although i commend anyone who has been able to live without one!
    We do have A/C and heat but do not use the A/C, and the heat is only on the winter on the lowest setting to ensure that the pipes dont freeze and break.
    Not only does it help the environment, but it keeps the costs down!!

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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    I'm making myself one of these: http://www.shielingdryer.co.uk/

    H
    opefully we will be able to dry washing outside all the year round!

  33. #33
    75% Chickpea Cumin's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    whalespace, again an interesting post. I too am regularly concerned about how much power is wasted by conversion to unwanted heat by all the little DC transformer blocks I have under my desk and in the various devices around the house. I suspect that 80~ of household appliances are DC these days, and yet we have only AC wiring. Maybe we should start wiring houses with multi-voltage DC circuits and get the manufacturers to agree on standard levels they will allow you to feed their products with. You could then have 1 super-efficient AC/DC converter for the house to supply all.
    At the moment, I suspect that if you were to run your device (e.g. TV, set top box, external hard disk) from a 3rd-party transformer it would invalidate the warranty - so this would need to be sorted.
    Last edited by Cumin; Aug 19th, 2011 at 03:09 PM. Reason: better wording
    How good it is to be well-fed, healthy, and kind all at the same time. Henry J. Heimlich

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    Default Re: How Do You Save Energy?

    ^^ That point about warranties is well mentioned Cumin. ^^ That is the kind of thing I forget about due to working mostly with broken things, or rawish materials.

    I have been wanting to wire up my own electrical supply for a while, and have cobbled together a few appliances in the pursuit of delivering suitably regulated 'power' to various devices.

    This is my high voltage supply. I rebuilt the box, including a two ampere variac, giving me voltage variable between zero and 270 volts AC. I included a rectifier and linear regulator for variable DC up to 35 volts:

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Below is my severalth attempt at assembling a pulse width modulated regulator . These things can boost your voltage higher than your battery, as well as keep a voltage clamped within a specific margin...despite supply or load variations. In other words, they are knees of bees. Components connected on a spacious 'breadboard' [which is like a mini telephone exchange]:
    [IMG][/IMG]

    I squeezed the above arrangement into a plastic box for use as a battery charger as part of a UPS project [back up power supply]:
    [IMG][/IMG]

    I melting that during a slow motion realisation that huge lead acid batteries can deliver eighty amps of return current during the 'off' phase of "switching" modulation. I rebuilt including a diode on the 'power out' line .

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Yes, I found those connectors on the breadboard... hopefully I won't notice they are missing.
    The above device charges a Pb/acid type battery, then supplies a 'float' voltage, to maintain charge without causing overheating and explosive hydrogen bubbling. I faced a hydrogen explosion in my youth, while connecting a non ventilated car battery. If you find yourself in a similar situation then you should wash your face quickly.
    Problematic is waking someone whom pretends to sleep.

  35. #35
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    I welded a few more pieces onto the word burning stove. Three chimneys for added potential functionality. The rectangular 'margin' was necessary to make a level join with the hotplate. I didn't cut the bottle as well as I marked it . The hotplate was welded from four separate plates... which needed care because the pans need a flat surface to catch cooking heat.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    Problematic is waking someone whom pretends to sleep.

  36. #36
    Crusty Rat
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    Turn everything off at the mains... don't have a telly... wear thermal underwear...

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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    hot water bottle instead of leaving the heating on overnight!

    Everything off at the mains, as Crusty Rat said.

    We've gone from paying £40pcm for electricity to £9pcm. Must be doing something right!!
    Even the smallest person can change the course of the future

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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    The most energy draining machine at home has got to be the A/C system. I am never hot, so the A/C is usually off or at a reasonable temperature (80-83 F). We use large-size room heaters instead of having to run the entire system.

    The following are the measures my partner & I took to save $$$ and energy.
    • Energy efficient blinds
    • Energy saving insulating curtains/panels
    • Energy saving lightbulbs (I forget the name)
    • Using LED accent lights & lamps instead of room lighting.
    • Efficient gas stove & oven
    • Energy efficient convection oven (instead of using the conventional oven).
    • Energy Star Washer & Drier
    • Using low watt light for appliances (range, fridge, etc).
    • Leaving LED night lights in the cats' quarters rather than a lamp.
    • Powering off our computers, home theater systems, televisions, and other electronics.
    • Put electronics on standby mode or hibernate when not in use.
    • Using solar powered garden lighting instead of keeping on our lamps & night guides.
    Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace (Schweitzer, 1952)

  39. #39
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    We just bought a push along type carpet cleaner. It's so good, picks up stuff the vacuum cleaner would miss, doesn't use any electricity and so quick and easy to use that it's stopped being a job that I procrastinate over.

    Another one we do is tucking our curtains behind the radiator so the heat stays in the room and doesn't go in to the space between the curtains and the windows.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  40. #40
    leedsveg
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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    I must go back to Tesco. Bought a low energy long-life bulb on Monday and it's only lasted to Wednesday (and it cost over £2/$3 )

    Lv

  41. #41
    Crusty Rat
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    Quote Risker View Post
    We just bought a push along type carpet cleaner. It's so good, picks up stuff the vacuum cleaner would miss, doesn't use any electricity and so quick and easy to use that it's stopped being a job that I procrastinate over.
    Never heard of that. How does it work?

  42. #42
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    ^ They have revolving brushes on the bottom so as you push it along they spin and pick up bits/dust in to a built in collection tray.

    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    My mom had one when we were growing up, in the 70s.

  44. #44
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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    ^ They are very retro! But, if you unscrew the handle from the base you can tell people it's a robot vacuum cleaner.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?


  46. #46
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    Between 11/6 and 15/6?! Damnit we bought a Brevil and it cost £10! We were ripped off
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  47. #47
    amethyst's Avatar
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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    We are currently looking for a new home. Some of the important features for us are:

    -enough area for a large veg garden
    -trees for shade and a breeze
    -enough space to install geothermal heating system (a big investment upfront, but no more heating/cooling bills in the future)

    We also intend to install solar panels and one or two small wind turbines that are appropriate for a house roof. This will all put us off the grid, except for city water. If we could find a home in the country with a well, that would be even better.

  48. #48
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    There was a good one on a TV advert I just saw; Don't empty the bath water until it's cold, that way you can use it's heat to help keep your building warm. I think I'll do that in future.
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

  49. #49
    amethyst's Avatar
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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    Quote Risker View Post
    There was a good one on a TV advert I just saw; Don't empty the bath water until it's cold, that way you can use it's heat to help keep your building warm. I think I'll do that in future.
    I am a total bath baby. I stay in there until the water is cold. Forget heating the house--I am trying to heat my old injuries to my bones and joints! At least I'm not wasting the hot water. LOL

    has lived an active and exciting life----------------------->amethyst

  50. #50
    Puska17's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
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    Default Re: (How) Do You Save Energy?

    I'm lucky enough to have geo-thermal heating in my housing association property, which was made to certain standards to get an Eco certification, shame they didn't plan it better though as there is no natural light to my hall and landing, therefore requires a light to be on more than I would like. All I pay for is the pump, I've not switched to Green electricity yet as I have a key payment meter and would be paying more which unfortunately I cannot budget for at present, I use energy bulbs etc and keep lights off as much as possible.
    I am careful with water as here in Cornwall we have some of the highest water bills in the country. I always ring in the correct meter reading for water as have found if you don't and the prices rise for the next quarter you ending up paying even more!
    Unfortunately I dont have enough garden space to grow my own veg but have got use of a garden and greenhouse for next summer.
    Lining curtains etc.
    Turning pans off early and using the residual heat to finish cooking. Only boiling enough water for my drink, clear kettle helps with this. When it's cold I often leave the oven door open after I have turned it off to use the heat, just have to watch the cats!!

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