Reduce power-consumption in the Home

Do you remember being yelled at to 'Turn That Light OFF!' when you were young? How do you train your family to save electricity now you are the parent?

Your parents shouting had no effect on your own electricity consumption habits as a child, so why do you think shouting at your own children will help to reduce power-consumption in your own household?

You know that your household can cut its average electricity consumption, but how do you do it?

Involve everyone rather than trying to do it all yourself. This will save you a lot of shouting and will mean that you actually reduce your power-consumption as a household.


Stage 1 – Reduce Household power-consumption at Zero Cost

Explain that there is a fixed amount of money coming into the house and that it can only be spent once. If you can cut the household electricity consumption by $300 a year, then you will be able to do something special with the money you save. Make it a family project to reduce power-consumption. Work out together what you are going to do with the money you save in the year. Build a dream together, because dreams are excellent motivators.

Children are usually very environmentally aware, so play to this as well, that if you can reduce your power-consumption then there will be less pollution from power stations.

Get everyone together in the kitchen and make a list of every appliance. Show them how to find the watts that one appliance uses, or just put its usage figures into an online calculator together.

Use a sticky note to write down how much it costs to run each day, month and year. Stick the note onto the fridge, or whatever.

Let the children do the same the other appliances. It is children who are least aware of the electricity costs of each appliance. This will make them aware and will make them come up with ideas to reduce power-consumption.

Repeat the procedure in every room in the house.

Ask the family for suggestions to reduce power-consumption in the household. Explain that TVs, radios and phone chargers all use electricity, even when not switched on. Discuss how much the different lights cost each hour.

Write their suggestions on more sticky notes and attach them to each appliance or light switch.

Go around the house, compiling the results of all the sticky notes into one table. Calculate the how much the family has managed to reduce power-consumption by. Are the total energy savings proposed enough to fulfil the family's objectives. Use online enrgy use calculators or download one from any electricity company.

Take a few days to compile room by room reductions in power-consumption.

Call another family conference and discuss other zero cost ways to reduce power-consumption and save money for the family dream.

Include ideas like:

  • Closing window blinds and drapes to keep in heat

  • Turning down the heating thermostat and wearing an extra layer of clothing instead

  • Wearing warmer night clothes, instead of leaving the heating on

  • Turning off computers ay night

  • Unplugging TVs

  • Switching off TVs when leaving a room

  • Using the microwave cooker instead of the oven

  • Not putting the washer on for one pair of favorite socks

  • Not washing on wet days

  • Putting damp washing to dry outside rather than using the tumble dryer

  • Fitting more plates and mugs into the dishwasher before switching it on

  • Not leaving doors open

  • Using different, lower cost lamps and lights, where they are available

  • Avoid filling the kettle for one hot drink

  • Turn the heating furnace off for the summer months


Try to quantify the money saved by each proposed change. Attach more sticky notes wherever action on each idea to further reduce power-consumption will be necessary.

Changes in cooking habits cost no money, just a little thought:

Avoid using the oven to cook one thing on its own, use a health grill or microwave instead.

Use a steamer to cook vegetables, you only need one cooker ring, rather than three.

Put lids on saucepans that are simmering


Stage 2 – Reduce Household power-consumption With Some Expenditure

There are some items that pay for themselves in terms of reduced power-consumption very quickly. Low energy light bulbs are the most obvious example of a medium cost way to reduce power-consumption. Each one costs only $1, but each one reduces your power-consumption by up to $5 a year. Each bulb also lasts between 5 and 10 times longer than a filament bulb.

Blocking draughts around doors and windows will reduce your power-consumption, whether you use oil fired heating or electric heaters.

If your hot water is stored in a tank, fit extra lagging around it. This pays for itself in a few months

Put extra insulation in your roof space. This will pay for itself in just a few years


Reduce power-consumption at Work

Adopt a similar cooperative approach to cutting electricity consumption in the office. This will have more effect than one person dictating what is to happen.

Office power-consumption comes from three sources:

  • Heating

  • Lighting

  • Computer equipment.


Most offices are warmer than they need to be. Turn the heating thermostat down will reduce power-consumption dramatically. Encourage staff to wear warmer clothing. Fit a thermostat with a closed cover so staff cannot turn it up when nobody is looking


Replace any filament bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs immediately. Remove the bulbs in any spotlights, they are extremely wasteful.

Computer Equipment


Consider replacing individual printers with a single networked printer. This will reduce power-consumption because you will only have one printer in stand-by mode rather than 15 of them.

Adjust the power saving settings on each computer to ensure that it shuts down after one hour's inactivity. Ask staff to turn off all computers immediately they are finished at the end of the day. Set displays to switch off after 10 minutes of inactivity.


If you still have any old-fashioned cathode ray tube monitors, reduce power-consumption drastically by replacing them with flat-screen monitors immediately.

Fit monitors, and printers with timed plugs, so they go off immediately the office closes.



Consider asking a company to come in to do an energy audit to see if there are any other ways you can reduce office power-consumption.