November 08th 2022

Tips for energy efficiency in the household

Small measures can noticeably minimize energy bills – Silvia Öttl, Senior Lecturer of the
dual study program "Smart Building Technologies" gives valuable tips in the Radio Tirol
lunchtime magazine "Hallo Tirol".

Energy efficiency becomes a central cost issue especially in the winter months – about 70% of the energy costs in an average Austrian household are accounted for by heating alone.

Regulating the room temperature by 1 or 2°C does not massively ease the burden on the wallet. Nevertheless, costs can also be saved by simple measures when heating:

  • Ventilate radiators – before the start of the heating season and continuously during the colder months.
  • Ventilate at regular intervals instead of tilting windows and doors – the room temperature remains at the same level.
  • Keep radiators clear – the room heat can be distributed better.

The use of electric underfloor heating also creates energy and thus cost control: the heating of individual rooms can be regulated according to their daily use. Especially rooms that are not used much can thus be efficiently heated little or not at all.

The remaining 30% of energy costs are attributable to hot water supply, household appliances and consumer electronics. Energy can be saved in many ways, especially when using household appliances.

Adjusting the pot size to the stove surface and cooking with a lid stores heat most efficiently in the pot. In addition, you can also help with the food you're filling: If water is first warmed via the kettle, which requires less energy, this in turn saves time and thus energy on the stovetop.
Baking with convection can save about 20% of energy compared to using top and bottom heat.

If the frozen food is defrosted first in the refrigerator, energy is also saved – the food does not have to be heated as much. The same principle applies in reverse: cooked food should only be stored in the refrigerator or freezer after it has cooled down, so as not to strain the cooling capacity of the appliances.

When full, a refrigerator requires less energy - empty spaces have to be cooled constantly, since opening the refrigerator door causes warm air to flow in again and again and mix with the cooled air. Accordingly, Öttl recommends filling empty spaces in the refrigerator with water bottles – the warm air flowing in from the living space has less space and cooled water is quickly available. Thus, in the ideal case, the refrigerator can cool constantly at 7°C.

In addition, it is recommended to take care not to place the refrigerator directly next to a heat source. This prevents heat from flowing around the refrigerator, which makes it harder to maintain cold temperatures.

In addition to using daylight, the choice of efficient lighting strikes a chord: older energy-saving light bulbs should be replaced with modern LED lights. On the one hand, new LEDs have the advantage of being able to completely replicate the light spectrum of incandescent bulbs as well as the solar spectrum. In addition, per 10 watt LED compared to an incandescent bulb (60 watts) over 1 year calculated with a respective operating time of 3 hours more than 10 € savings can be generated.

Washing machine
Before starting the washing process, make sure that the machine is only fully loaded. Energy-saving programs heat the water over a slightly longer period of time, which also requires less energy. In general, you should try to wash at lower temperatures. Replacing the lint filter can also help save energy – the trapped lint increases the machine's pumping capacity and consequently its power consumption.

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Silvia Öttl spoke to ORF Radio Tirol's lunchtime magazine

Silvia Öttl spoke to ORF Radio Tirol's lunchtime magazine "Hallo Tirol" about various energy-saving tips - kitchen appliances and lighting in particular hold decisive savings potential in the household. © ORF Radio Tirol

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The show is availabe here till November 14.